MEURTHE ET MOSELLE

MEURTHE-ET-MOSELLE:   1. Toul  2. Nancy  3. Baccarat 

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Bounded by the Moselle River and the Canal de la Marne au Rhine, Toul is a gorgeous town layered in historic architecture. Formidable white-stone ramparts edged with moss stand as the fortified façade that has enclosed the city since 1699. St-Étienne Cathedral- whilst not in its hey-day glory, is still eerily breath-taking. Its’ exterior, framed by two high towers, houses one of the largest cloisters in France flanked by three galleries and numerous gargoyles perched. Also, head down to Église St-Gengoult to wander around its cloisters dating from the 16th century and see its flamboyant Renaissance architecture replete with star vaultings culminating in ornate keystones.

 

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TOUL1. Tourist office  2. Town Hall  3. Train station (north-west of map limits; zoom out 1 click to view) 4. St-Étienne Cathedral  5. Église St-Gengoult'

 

 




Mention Nancy (pop  410,500) and most would declare it the jewel of Lorraine- and rightly so. Often associated with gleaming pictures of its central square, Nancy is abundant with art, culture and history.

The town brims with energy and passion that makes Nancy a trip for the senses. Architecturally, you will find alluring sites like the Place Stanislas. But the beauty of the surroundings also surprises you at inopportune moments- whilst resting in a pavilion by the park or while walking down the cheery rues searching for one-of-a-kind shops. Nancy is also the birthplace of the organic, curvilinear shapes that defines the Art Nouveau movement.      

Layout 
Keep in mind place Stanislas straddles the Vielle Ville (Old Town) and Ville Neuve (New Town) so it is easy to navigate from the city centre. Most sights are within walking distance of each other but if you are traveling much further from the city centre, you can consider getting a pass from any Tabac stores to make use of the trams and buses.

Sights
Like most European towns, Nancy’s geographical landmarks can be thought of divided between the old and new towns. However, this town’s unique and ubiquitous feature lies betwixt these two areas. Conceived by the then-Duke of Lorraine as an effort the meld the two areas, Place Stanislas has now been immortalized by millions of photos who have been in awe of the sprawling space.     

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the area consists of three sections- Place Stanislas, Place d’Alliance and Place de la Carrière. All are worth a visit, including the beautiful (and photogenic) wrought-iron gates decorated lavishly with gilded gold ornaments. The Musée des Beaux-Arts [Place Stanislas; +33 38853072, ad/stud & senior €6/4] that boasts an impressive collection of art from the 14th to 20th century, including the works of Jacques Callot, Grandville, Daum, Delacroix and many more.   The arching banisters of Hôtel de Ville [Place Stanislas] display impressive grandeur, along with the somewhat similar but distinguished facades of the Opéra-Theâtre [Place Stanislas] and Grand Hôtel [Place Stanislas].      

Pass through the Arc de Triomphe (Rue Héré) to get to Place de la Carrière where symmetry is heightened with an avenue flanked on both sides by trees and seemingly identical buildings. At its extreme north stands the formidable facade of colonnades fronting the Palais du Government that was once residence to Lorraine officials.

Rue des Marechaux near Place Stanislas is a conveniently close for a bite to eat. Aside from world-wide cuisine, the street is quaint and relaxed- making it a great choice to lounge away the rest of your day.     

Nancy's Art Nouveau masterpieces include the stained glass and astonishing ironwork at Chambre du Commerce et d’Industrie (53 Rue Stanislas) and Banque du Crédit (3 boulevard Recteur Senn, +33 820 21 55 54).  This style has insinuated itself into the everyday with commonplace articles shouting where you least expect it ... for example, note the shelves in the pharmacy on Rue des Dominicains.   Musée de l’ École de Nancy (rue du Sergent Blandan; +33 83 40 14 86; ad/ch €6/4), a former property of Jean-Baptiste Eugène Corbin, is actually a villa through which you can explore various spaces- all of which decked with a hodgepodge of works from Guimard, Chaplet, Selmersheim and Carabin. Take some time to wander about the garden and immerse yourself in the inspiration the artists drew from the irises, magnolias and saxifrages.       

Visit the Craffe Gate- a mammoth structure of Saint-Epvre Basilica (Terre-Plein Saint Epvre);  and the unremittingly decadent renaissance structures of Hôtel d'Haussonville (9 Rue Trouillet) and Hôtel de Lillebonne (12 Rue de la Source).  Further, the rare neo-classical structure of the Cathedral of Nancy (Rue St- Georges) and the light-hearted yet informative atmosphere of the  Musée de Zoologie et Aquarium  (34 rue sainte Catherine, +33 383329997 ad/ch €4/2) in the New Town are also worth a slot in your itinerary.

 

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NANCY1.  Tourist office  2.  Train station  3. Hôtel de Ville & Place Stanislas 4. Place de la Carrière  5. Place d’Alliance  6. Musée des Beaux-Arts  7. Grand Hôtel  8Opéra-Theâtre  9. Arc de Triomphe  10. Palais du Government  11. Rue des Marechaux  12. Chambre du Commerce et d’Industrie  13. Rue des Dominicains  14. Musée de l’ École de Nancy (south-west of map limits; zoom out 2 clicks to view) 15. Saint-Epvre Basilica  16. Cathedral  17. Hôtel d'Haussonville  18. Musée de Zoologie et Aquarium  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

An hour’s drive south-east from Nancy brings you to the quaint and beautiful town of Baccarat (pop 5 000).   Baccarat ia an oasis of quietude.and possesses a civic pride as shown by the flowers displayed in public spaces.
 
Thanks to the King Louis XV’s decree to establish glasswork production in Baccarat, the town
is now world renowned for its fine crystal production and design. Indeed, the world's largest chandelier inside the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul is made with Baccarat crystal.  You can find thousands of contemporary and antique hand-crafted pieces housed in the Musée du Cristal.  The modern Église St-Rémy, rebuilt after WWII bombing, sports a 55 metre steeple and its interior houses a kaleidoscopic array  of glass panels made by local artists, depicting the creation of the world.


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BACCARAT:   1. Tourist office  2. Train station  3.. Town Hall  4. Musée du Cristal  5. Église St-Rémy