Nancy

The place Stanislas.

Nancy is a moderate-sized city in the Lorraine region of (eastern) France. Nancy is the capital of the French département of Meurthe-et-Moselle, and is the economical capital of the Lorraine region. It is also a major French university centre, with over 47,000 students and three major universities. Once the industrial and cultural powerhouse of Northeast France, the city boasts a very diverse architectural and cultural heritage. Parts of the historical city centre are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Understand

Tourist Information

Get in

By plane

Metz-Nancy-Lorraine Airport (IATA: ETZ) is a small regional airport, located about 30 km north of Nancy. The airport hosts only regional flights (Lyon, Toulouse, Mediterranean coast). Access to and from the city is provided by road (A31 motorway) or by shuttles (fare €8).

By train

Nancy is served by two major railway stations :

The main railway station seen by night

The Gare de Nancy Ville is the historical railway station. Located in the heart of the city, the station is a major hub for both national (including TGV) and regional trains (TER Métrolor). Major train lines include:

There are washing machines on the station, but no baggage room and no lockboxes.

The Gare Lorraine-TGV, opened in 2007, is located 20 km north of Nancy. The station is served only by TGV high-speed trains of the TGV Est high-speed line, linking Paris to Strasbourg. Destinations include Bordeaux, Northwest France, Lille, as well as various TGV stations around Paris (such as Charles de Gaulle Airport). Because of local political feuds, the station was built halfway between Nancy and Metz, in the middle of nowhere. Thus, the station can only be accessed by road (A31 motorway). The station includes a taxi station. Additionally, a shuttle operated by the SNCF connects the station to Gare de Nancy Ville.

For schedules, fares and bookings, see the SNCF website.

By car

Nancy is an important regional automotive hub :

By bus

International bus services are operated by Eurolines. Coaches usually stop at the Porte Sainte-Catherine, near the marina.

By boat

Nancy is crossed by the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, which is open to navigation for small boats and péniches. The Port de Nancy Saint-Georges offers dockage to visiting boats. It is conveniently located on the eastern edge of the city centre, 500 meters away from the place Stanislas.

By foot

Nancy is located on the path of the GR 5, a 2,600 km-long footpath that links the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

Get around

By foot

Walking is one of the easiest and most pleasant ways to get around. The city centre is very compact, so most places of interest can be easily reached by foot. For example, walking from the railway station to the Porte Sainte-Catherine takes about 20 min. Many streets are pedestrian-only.

By public transportation

Nancy's tramway on tyres

The local public transportation system is operated by the Service de transport de l'agglomération Nancéienne, known as STAN. Coverage of the city is decent, but can be found quite wanting compared to other French cities of the same size. It can nonetheless be useful for moving around Greater Nancy, between the city centre and suburbs.

The city has a single tramway route, which is actually some sort of tramway on tyres. This strange system was built in replacement of the city's ageing trolleybus system, but has been plagued by technical problems since its inception. The tram 's ill fortunes have become a running joke among inhabitants. It is best to avoid it during rush hour, as it tends to be completely overcrowded.

Tramways run from 5AM to 12PM, buses from 6AM to 9PM. Service is dismal during Sundays and holidays.

On buses, you can buy tickets (1.30 €) directly from the driver, but if you take the tram, you'll need to use the vending machines at each stop. Be sure to have change with you, as these machines do not accept bank notes. The only credit cards accepted are European-style ones with a chip.

Tickets are valid for one hour. If you'll be moving around Greater Nancy a lot, you might consider purchasing a "Pass 10" (8.70 €) or a "Pass Découverte 24h" (3.30 €). The latter one is valid for an unlimited number of trips during 24 hours.

There are two STAN offices in the city, where you can find maps and timetables, purchase tickets or ask information about the network.

By bicycle

A VéloStan'lib bike rental station.

There are about 130 km of safe bike routes in the Greater Nancy area . Cycling can be an excellent way to get around during spring and summer (much less in winter).

The city has a bike rental system called VélOstan, offering both short- and long-term bike rental.

The short-term service is called VélOstan'lib and is quite similar to those found in other French cities. Users can to pick up, and drop cycles to and from over 25 points around the city. You need a credit card (Visa/MC/French CB) to make use of the service. It is very cheap:

30 min is generally more than enough if you stay close to the city centre.

As of 2012, there are very few stations outside the city centre. Be careful not to go too far, as you may not find any station to return your bike to and then be overcharged. There are, however, plans to cover the whole Greater Nancy area in the coming years.

The long-term rental service is called VélOstan'boutic. Users can rent bikes and accessories for up to one year. Price range from €2 for half a day, to 80 € for a whole year. Reduction may apply in certain cases. There are 5 shops around the city, including one in the main railway station (exit Place Thiers).

If you stay long enough to need your own bike, you can find cheap used bikes at the Atelier Dynamo, a small collective workshop. Membership can be as low as €15/year (for students), usable bikes can be found for €25 or more.

By car

The streets of the city are narrow and not adapted to mass traffic. The local authorities are actively discouraging the use of cars in the historical centre, and have set up many pedestrian-only streets as well a labyrinth of one-way streets. Surface parking is rare and expensive. Avoid driving within the city if you can.

There are several underground car parks in the centre , as well as three park and ride car parks on the outskirts of the city. The latter are managed by STAN (see public transportation section for more info).

Taxis

The fares are fixed by the authorities and can vary depending on your destination or the time of the day. Minimum fare is €6.20 (as of January 2011). Taxis cannot be hailed on the street; you need to go to a taxi station or to call for one.

The major taxi companies are:

See

Highlights

The Arc Here, seen from place Stanislas
The Porte de la Craffe gate, in the Ville vieille.

Art Nouveau

An Art nouveau villa in the Saurupt district

There are lots of Art Nouveau buildings in Nancy, of which some examples are listed below:

Museums and Galleries

Parks and Gardens

Alsatian-style house in parc Sainte-Marie

Do

Music, dancing and opera

Nancy Opera house

Theatre

Cinemas

Le Cameo is a small independent regional chain. Mostly foreign films in original version and a few avant-garde movies. There are two addresses in Nancy :

Sports

Events

Learn

A building of the University of Lorraine

Nancy is a major French university centre. With over 47,000 students, it is among the 10 largest in the country.

The city has many universities and research centres, including the prestigious engineering college Ecole des Mines de Nancy. Traditional strong points include law, medicine, computer science, mathematics and material sciences/metallurgy.

The presence of so many students gives the city a very vibrant atmosphere. It is a nice place for spending a student exchange program (such as ERASMUS) or a post-doc.

Buy

A couple of nice bookstores

Local specialities

Macarons are a delicious local speciality.

Eat

There are many restaurants in rue des Maréchaux

The most obvious place to get a bite is the rue des Marechaux, also named rue Gourmande by locals. This little street is lined with restaurants of all kinds. You'll find various French (surprise!), Chinese, Cuban and late-night snacks of varying quality.

Small bakeries and delis can be found throughout the city. Kebab shops and oriental restaurants are numerous around Saint Nicolas street.

At the covered market on Rue St. Dizier you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, a couple of butchers, a triperie, and one stand that sells fresh fish (and a pretty nice selection; you can even get Octopus!), plus a couple of small restaurants.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Nancy by night.

Nancy has its fair share of Irish pubs, wine bars, cafes, and other drinking establishments. The night life is quite active, due to the presence of many students. However, things tend to be more subdued during the summer holidays. Major nightlife spots are in the Ville vieille and near place Stanislas.

In case you need more than just drinks and are looking for a seedier kind of nightlife, you can find it around the rue Mouilleron (west of the railway station), near the Chat Noir night club (see below).

Bars

Clubs

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Nancy is a relatively quiet town, but usual advice applies.

Most of the upper northern neighbourhoods, known as "Plateau de Haye", as well as the commune of Vandoeuvre, have the reputation to be sensitive areas. As there is little of interest for tourists there, it is probably better to avoid these areas altogether.

Emergency numbers

The European emergency number ☎ 112 should be used on mobile phones.

Stay healthy

There are two major hospitals with emergency rooms :

However, in case of emergency (even not life-threatening), it is better to call the Centre 15 than to directly to the hospital, as emergency rooms usually have long waiting lines.

Connect

There is no municipal WiFi network. However, many hotels and fast-food joints provide free WiFi to their customers.

There are several cyber-cafés around Saint Nicolas street.

Respect

When talking to locals, do not make unflattering comparisons of Nancy viz. the neighboring city of Metz. The two cities have been political rivals for many centuries. Both are vying for the title of capital of Lorraine. This causes sometimes some crispations. To give you just an example, in 1970, the administrative seat of the Lorraine region was transferred from Nancy to Metz. It caused a small scandal back then, and some people are still bitter about it today.

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