The Saint Nicholas festivities in Nancy
From 24 November 2023 to 7 January 2024
The two high points of the winter season in eastern France are the Christmas Market in Strasbourg and the Saint Nicholas Festivities in Nancy!
Saint Nicholas is traditionally celebrated throughout Lorraine, but it’s in Nancy that the liveliest and most lavishfestivities take place. The official feast day of Saint Nicholas is 6 December, but the patron saint of Lorraine deserves more than just one day of celebration! The highlight of the festivities is the first weekend in December, when people flood the streets to enjoy two days of parades and processions, floats and music, and of course sweets and confectionery.
Enter the world of Saint Nicholas: the majestic Place Stanislas with its illuminated tree, Place de la Carrière with its big wheel and the pedestrian area and its lanterns. Take a break to enjoy a chocolate or gingerbread Saint Nicholas. Illuminations, artistic commissions and decorated windows transform the city into an open-air art gallery.
Every evening during the six weeks of festivities, a video mapping on the façade of the town hall retells the legend of the three children rescued by Saint Nicholas from the evil butcher.
The festivities also include Christmas Markets, known here as the villages of Saint-Nicholas, which boasts numerous artisanal stalls.
Saint Nicholas weekend – 9-10 December 2023
At the heart of the Saint Nicholas Festival, the Saint Nicholas weekend is usually a magical, iconic moment with two days of free festivities open to everyone in the city. Shows, street parades, big wheel, food villages and craft markets, extraordinary creatures, events in museums, concerts, not forgetting the highly anticipated parade … countless surprises in store!
On Saturday towards the end of the afternoon, the grand Saint Nicholas parade is a magical moment with its floats designed and decorated by the towns of the Greater Nancy Metropolis, and its fantastic creatures. This year, its chosen theme is “The 18th century”: its lifestyle, innovations and inventions. This year, a float will be dedicated to Germany, the guest country of honour in connection with Karlsruhe, a twin city of Nancy. The parade will leave at 5.30pm from Place Carnot, with the first float scheduled to arrive at Place Stanislas around 7.00pm.
New for 2023, wandering artists at certain key points along the route from 4.45pm to keep you entertained before the first floats arrive. On Place Stanislas, the wonderful Les Enfants du Boucher brass band will be performing from 5.00pm, then DJ Ben Unzip will set the mood from the balcony of the Town Hall.
For people with reduced mobility, an area has been set aside at the foot of the statue on Place Stanislas to watch the parade. A single companion is permitted in this area for wheelchair users. Access without reservation is recommended from 5.30pm.
Sunday, and it’s time for street entertainment and activities. Between 12.00pm and 6.00pm, you might come across a bicycle brass band, strange flying machines, artists, acrobats and clowns on Place Stanislas and the pedestrian route between Rue du Pont-Mouja and Porte de la Craffe. Also worth seeing are two theatre shows, It was Time by the Incognito company on Saturday 9 at Ludothèque Saint-Nicolas; and My Monster and I from the Rouge Carmin company on Sunday at Salle Poirel, an aerial theatre show that’s both spectacular and very poetic (free by reservation).
The rides at the Pépinière will be free all weekend, as well as entry to the museums of Nancy and the Greater Nancy Metropolis.