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Nancy is situated in the French Grand Est region, which is known for its historic and cultural heritage, for its spirited characters and its joie de vivre. The capital city of the Dukes of Lorraine possesses a certain way of life, which is safeguarded with a passion, even today. From the Place Stanislas to the countless Art Nouveau buildings: the cultural heritage of the so-called ‘most Italian city in the East of France’ is astonishing, impressive, and definitely worth seeing.
The Place Stanislas is a UNESCO world heritage site. Under the reign of Duke Stanislaus of Lorraine, which lasted from 1736 to 1766, the city blossomed. Thanks to Ludwig XV’s father-in-law and former King of Poland, Nancy now boasts the Place Stanislas – a piece of 18th-century UNESCO world heritage architecture – as well as countless religious buildings such as the church Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, where Stanislas is buried. The Place is the pride of the inhabitants and is widely admired by visitors, not only because it is an attractive square but because it is also a wonderful place to meet people and exchange views. Right by the Place Stanislas is the smaller and the quieter Place d’Alliance and the Place de la Carrière. The latter was originally used for the practising with lances and for tournaments, which is why it carries the name Carrière, which stands for riding place. A walk through the centre of Nancy offers so many stories and sightseeing opportunities!
While the city is best known for its historical heritage it offers many other places of artistic value; for example, the multifaceted street-art, which you can see on your walks through the city. Local, national, and international artists are regularly asked to embroider the walls and walkways of the city and so this urban art is spreading further and further through the streets of Nancy. The discovery of this urban art can be quite accidental while walking through the city or you might – best if you’re wearing trainers – take a unique street-art-tour!
Don’t miss the celebration of Saint Nicholas!
Two highlights in the winter calendar of the French Grand Est region are the Christmas market in Strasburg and the celebration of Saint Nicholas in Nancy. The latter is a tradition in Lorraine, celebrated most elaborately and cheerfully in Nancy. From the end of November to the beginning of January the city is bathed in a thousand lights and the huts of the Christmas market waft the scent of cinnamon and ginger- bread into the air. On the first weekend of December, the Nicholas weekend, a traditional procession takes place: a legendary, magical event, which attracts thousands of visitors yearly. And don’t miss the winter performance of the legend of Saint Nicholas, which is projected onto the facades of the Place Stanislas several times every evening: an original way to view the many curiosities of the city in the French Grand Est region.
The food culture of Lorraine: hearty and sweet
The many sweet delicacies from Nancy delight even the biggest foo- dies. For you will find almost twenty listed sweet dishes, designations of origin, and registered brands. This unique cultural heritage stems from a long culinary tradition. One of the main players was Stanislas, alongside the countless anonymous cooks, nuns, confectioners, and pastry cooks. Their motivation: the search for the most exquisite taste, the continuation of their techniques, and the gentle manufacture of their products. This sweet cultural heritage, and the diligent craftspeople who uphold it, should not be missed on a visit to Nancy. Thus, you will find macarons and bergamotes, craque- lines and babas, duchesses and specialities made from Mirabelle plums, pralines and gingerbread.
Every confectionary and every pastry has its own history in connection with the local traditions and historical figures.
Nancy does not only offer a sweet cultural heritage but also many different local beers and hearty favourites, such as Pâté Lorrain, as well as countless kinds of sandwich and types of cheese. The best known of these is the quiche. A delicacy prepared with every trick in the book that melts in the mouth – a harmony of mild cream and substantial bacon. Be aware that the quiche Lorraine does not contain cheese!
The proximity of Luxembourg makes of Nancy a popular travel hotspot for a quick weekend away full of experiences of both historic and culinary value – a travel through time.