Flêche Sainte Epvre Et Statue René IIFlêche Sainte Epvre Et Statue René II
©Flêche Sainte Epvre Et Statue René II|Regine Datin

Nancy, the capital of the dukes of Lorraine

The old town (Ville Vieille), from Place Saint-Epvre to the Porte de la Craffe

Step back in time and wander through Nancy’s historic centre following the maze of narrow streets around the Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine and the Grande Rue. Stop in front of the Porterie and admire the statue of Duke Antoine on his horse! At the end of the Grand Rue, the imposing Porte de la Craffe is still the northern gateway to the medieval city.

The narrow streets between Place Saint-Epvre and the Porte de la Craffe abound with small shops and a huge variety of restaurants and bars. There’s a timeless atmosphere during the day, and at night it’s very lively!

Don’t miss the Cordeliers church (Saint-François des Cordeliers) and its chapel which houses the tombs of the dukes of Lorraine. A must-see. Did you know, the dome was modelled on that of the Medici Chapel in Florence?

Charles III’s new town (Ville Neuve)

Towards the end of the Renaissance, Charles III, Duke of Lorraine, built a ‘new town’ to the south of the Ville Vieille (old town) and four times its size, using resolutely modern town planning concepts. Can you make out its characteristic ‘grid plan’ on the map? Today this is the main city centre shopping area. Don’t miss the ‘marché central’ or covered market, between Rue Saint-Dizier and Place Charles III, one of the biggest and best in France!

The city of Stanislaw, the royal city

The 18th-century city, linking the old and the new towns (Ville Vieille and Ville Neuve), was built by Stanislas. He decided to connect the old and the new towns (Ville Vieille and Ville Neuve) which were separated by marshland and built a royal square dedicated to his son-in-law, Louis XV. It was renamed Place Stanislas in 1831, when the city erected a statue (the work of sculptor Georges Jacquot) to this enlightened monarch.

To explore it, start from Place Stanislas, and walk through to the adjoining Place d’Alliance, quiet and elegant, another listed UNESCO site. A little further on you will find yourself facing the cathedral, built in characteristic 18th-century style. Continue through the Canons’ district, where the 18th-century city joins the Renaissance new town and you can admire a number of very fine 17th– and 18th-century town houses.

This is a district to be savoured in more than one sense: the remarkable architecture of the town houses is a feast for the eyes, and the many restaurants and wine bars offer plenty of good food!