Day 1,614 of Traveling the World | Nancy, France | July 4, 2022

“Wow!” It’s great to be in a city whose name we know how to pronounce! We know people named Nancy!!” NOPE. In French, it is pronounced Non-SEE. Sigh. About all we have down for sure are merci, s’il vous plait, bon jour, and excuse-moi. Those are our go-to phrases for most things.

Do you know what we are enjoying every bit as much as these gorgeous medieval cities and sights? Driving along country roads to each destination! We use Waze for our GPS guidance, and we have set it to avoid freeways and avoid toll roads. Most days, it is no more than 20-30 minutes longer to go off the beaten track. We drive through tiny villages (each with a huge church!), along beautiful fields of crops or grazing cows, and we get to see French life up close. On freeways, of course, you can keep a more steady speed than the back roads, but there isn’t much to see except other cars and trucks. On our routes, we slow down every few miles as we navigate through a village, then speed up again (but not at speeds as fast as the freeway), then slow down. It continues like that the entire way. Sometimes we pass a local cafe, turn around, and take a break as we enjoy a leisurely cappuccino and espresso. You can see in one photo that we went through an area (near Villiers) whose crop was…. sunflowers! We passed thousands and thousands of them, one curve after another showing us fields of them. It was overwhelming, and beautiful.

On to our time in Non-SEE! What a historic and beautiful place! In many ways, it rivals capital cities like Paris and Vienna. There is some over-the-top stuff here! We went to a simply terrific museum of Art Nouveau furnishings, two floors of jaw-dropping stained and painted glass, and….wait’ll you see the bathtub! Never ever have we seen one like this! A visit to Place Stanislas is required of every visitor here. It is dripping with gold accents, and is truly…excessive. Its construction was overseen by the exiled Polish king, Stanislas I (the father-in-law of Louis XV), in the mid-1700s.

We would have loved to show you the interior of several churches, but all were closed (on a Sunday afternoon!) save one that is now a necropolis and museum of sorts. It is a day that we are certain that we walked 10,000 steps, and likely double that! We walked for many hours, and were rewarded with the best that Nancy has to offer. This is another little gem in France that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but Place Stanislas was jammed with people yesterday afternoon, as you will see in the photos. So others have also found out about this delightful destination, as we have!

The Porte de La Craffe, an ancient gate into the city dating from the 14th century. It looks charming, like it is out of a Disney movie, but its walls are 9 feet thick with openings through which defenders could attack invaders with boiling oil or hot tar. Still charming?
As we walked down one of the many streets that led to Place Stanislas, we wondered why we were seeing gold up ahead. We had no idea that each entrance to the square, from each street, has black gates adorned with gold – lots of gold.
The jammed plaza, with people having their dejeuner (lunch) or just a drink – a close-up of the gate in the far left corner is shown in the next photo.
This gate has three fountains, which children and adults were splashing in, in their clothing and shoes. Water beckons!
Nancy City Hall. Sharp eyes will notice that the top of the building says, “Hotel de Ville,” but it doesn’t mean that it was formerly a hotel; the translation from French means City Hall.
We returned to Place Stanislas at 10:45 pm, as there is a light show every night. You can see City Hall’s transformation from the previous photo! It wasn’t as interesting and complex as that we posted about the light show on Rouen Cathedral, but it still brought out the crowds.
There is also a fountain on the other side of the plaza, but this one has gates that lead to a lovely park, with ice cream and dessert venues along a path with trees, as shown in the next photo.
Every group that walked toward us had at least one person eating an ice cream cone. Sometimes all of them had a cone!
A close-up of one of the (very gold) light fixtures on the square.
The Triumphal Arch on Place Stanislas. Stanislas really knew how to do it in style, didn’t he???
The Triumphal Arch led to this smaller arch with five statues on each side. The palm trees gave it a Mediterranean feeling, although we are quite some distance from the sea!
We liked the look of this store front, all in wood, that comes with its own guard up above – or maybe its own patron saint?
This dome is hard to appreciate, as it looks flat, but each of the 386 carvings is about two feet above the lower one, leading upward and ending in a rounded dome at the tippy-top with paintings of angels. It was amazing! This is the Church of the Cordeliers of Nancy. (Cordeliers are Franciscan friars.)
Also in the Cordeliers Church is this door – very unique.
There is also this melancholy guy. He isn’t enjoying death too much. The entirety of the main church is now a necropolis, with various tombs of dukes and duchesses.
Beautiful glass window above the main entrance.
Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine.
Interior courtyard of the palace.
and the gargoyles of the palace!
These are some of the thousands of sunflowers we saw, as far as the eye can see, on our way into, and out of, Nancy!
Basilica of St. Epvre of Nancy. Google Maps said it was open. It was all locked up. (Photos of the interior on the internet are gorgeous.)
Musee de l’Ecole de Nancy, former home of Eugene Corbin, a patron of all things Art Nouveau. It is decked out in Art Nouveau finery, as you can see in this dining room, with its ceiling joining with the chandelier.
An exquisite set of doors.
A glorious window on the landing between floors on the staircase.
This lamp!
This table!
The lush window in the bathroom.
Also in the bathroom, these dazzling windows were opposite the previous one.
Does anyone have a sublime bathtub to match this one? No? Your house does NOT have one? How unusual.
Beautiful! And so delicate.
Another delightful window upstairs.
A curiosity cabinet with a band of colorful glass birds.
One of the many notable cabinets.
Whoa, Nellie! She is galloping off the roof into the air! (What do you mean, she is just a statue??)
How nighttime transforms! We passed this window several times during our days in Nancy and didn’t give it a second glance. Then we passed it at night on our way to the light show, and the scene was irresistible.