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.
- Nancy Tourism Office, Place Stanislas, ☎ +33 383 352 241. 9AM-7PM from April to October, 9AM-6PMfrom November to March. The office is in the southwest corner of place Stanislas, in the city hall building.
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).
Nancy is served by two major railway stations :
- Gare de Nancy Ville
- Gare Lorraine-TGV (20 km)
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:
- Paris - Nancy : 1h30 by TGV
- Strasbourg - Nancy : 1h15
- Dijon - Nancy : 2h30
- Lyon - Nancy : 4h
- Luxembourg (city) - Nancy : 1h30
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.
Nancy is an important regional automotive hub :
- A31 to the north : Metz, Luxembourg
- A31 to the west : Dijon, Lyon, Paris
- A33/D400 (former N4) to the east : Strasbourg, Germany
- N57 to the south : Epinal
International bus services are operated by Eurolines. Coaches usually stop at the Porte Sainte-Catherine, near the marina.
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.
- Harbour Master's Office (Capitainerie), Port de Nancy Saint-Georges - Boulevard du 21e Régiment d'Aviation (Tramway station Division de Fer), ☎ +33 383 376 370.
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.
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
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.
- Espace Transport (Gare de Nancy-Ville), Place de la République (Within the main railway station, near the exit 'République'), ☎ +33 383 300 808.
- Agence STAN, 3, rue du Docteur Schmitt (near the marketplace), ☎ +33 383 300 808.
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:
- 1-day ticket: €1, then free for the first 30 min of each ride, €1 for 30 to 60 min, then €2 every 30 min.
- 7-day ticket: €2, then same fares as the 1-day ticket.
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.
- Atelier Dynamo, 35, Grande rue (near St-Epvre basilica, in the old town=).
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).
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:
- Taxis de Nancy (Association Artisanale des Taxis de l'Agglomération Nancéienne), ☎ +33 383 376 537.
- Taxi ServiTrans 54, ☎ +33 383 635 555. 24/7.
- Place Stanislas. The town square was built by Stanislas Leszczyński, Duke of Lorraine and former King of Poland, in the 18th century. It has a Stanislas statue pointing to the north and fountains and wrought iron gates in the two northern corners. The surrounding buildings are all in a single, classic style, adding to the grandeur of the square.
- The Tourism Office, where you can pick up handy maps and other information, is in a building on the southern side of Place Stanislas (facing the statue's back).
- The Old City, including the St-Epvre basilique and square with many cafés and restaurants (Place St-Epvre)
- La Porte de la Craffe, Grand Rue. 14th century gate at the edge of the Vieille Ville, with two towers giving it the look of a fairy-tale castle.
- Place de la Carriere and Place d'Alliance together with Place Stanislas are a single entry on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Place de la Carriere is a tree-lined square with notable buildings around it. Place d'Alliance has a central fountain, modelled after those in Piazza Navona in Rome.
- Arc de Triomphe (Porte Héré). A Baroque arch by Emmanuel Héré, located along the northern side of the Place Stanislas, leading to the Place de la Carrière. It was built at the same time as the Place Stanislas, in honour of King Louis XV.
There are lots of Art Nouveau buildings in Nancy, of which some examples are listed below:
- Villa Majorelle. A beautiful three-storey house constructed in 1902 by the architects of École de Nancy.
- Les Glycines, 5 rue des Brice. A villa originally built for Charles Fernbach, a wine merchant, by the architect Émile André.
Museums and Galleries
- Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts), 3, place Stanislas. A well-balanced collection of paintings from different periods, including "The Battle of Nancy" by Eugène Delacroix. 6 €, 4 € for reduced price for students.
- Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy, 36-38, rue du Sergent Blandan (consider hopping on bus 134-135 if you are feeling particularly lazy). Dedicated to art-nouveau Nancy school of architecture, this museum occupies a building which itself is a fine specimen of the style. 6 € (4 € reduced).
- Musée Historique Lorrain (Museum of Lorraine History), 64, Grand Rue, ☎ +33 3 83 32 18 74. Closed on Mondays. Generally open from 10:00 to 18:00, reduced hours in the winter. History of the Lorraine region. (You might also want to check out the neighbouring Musée des Arts et Traditions populaires.) 3.10€ (2.30 € reduced).
Parks and Gardens
- Parc de la Pépinière. A 50 acre square park in the heart of the city. It was once used as a garden to grow trees for other parks/green areas in Nancy and the region. Now it is a pleasant and relaxing setting. There is a small zoo, a couple of bars and a children's puppet theatre. The open-air Auditorum hosts free concerts during summer evenings. Main entrances are located place Stanislas and place de la Carrière.
- Parc Sainte-Marie (Access : 38bis avenue du Maréchal Juin, rue Dupont des Loges, avenue Boffrand. Take bus 134-135 and stop at Dupont des Loges). A nice park, southwest of the city centre. Tends to be less crowded than the Pépinière during summer. Includes an Alsatian-style house. Free.
- Jardin Botanique du Montet, 100, rue du Jardin Botanique 54600 VILLERS-LÈS-NANCY (Take bus 134-135 direction Lycée Stanislas until the end of the bus line). Open everyday 2PM-5PM and also 10AM-12AM during weekdays. Glasshouses are open 2PM-4:45PM daily. A 70-acre botanical garden, one of the most beautiful of the country. Located in the western outskirts of town. Access to the park is free, entrance for the glasshouses is 4€.
- Parc de la Cure d'Air - A small park, located on a hill northwest of the city centre. The park itself is not very interesting, however there is a great view over the whole city.
- Les jardins d'eau - A pleasant promenade along the canal. Near the marina.
Music, dancing and opera
- Opera National de Lorraine, 1 rue Sainte-Catherine (main entrance is place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383 853 060. The opera house is located in one of the eastern pavillons of place Stanislas. It hosts most of the city's opera shows. Early booking is strongly recommended. Price range from 7€ to 59€.
- Salle Poirel, 3 rue Victor Poirel, ☎ +33 383 323 125. A medium-sized hall for classical music shows as well as popular music concerts.
- C.C.N. Ballet de Lorraine, 3 rue Henri Bazin, ☎ +33 383 856 901.
- Zénith de Nancy, Rue du Zénith – 54320 MAXEVILLE. A 25,000-seat zenith in open air, for large popular music concerts or sport events. Located on the northern outskirts of the city.
- L'Autre Canal, 45, Boulevard d'Austrasie, ☎ +33 383 323 125. A small hall dedicated to modern music : rock, electronic, R&B...
- Théâtre de la Manufacture, 8 rue Baron Louis, ☎ +33 383 374 242. The city's main theatre. Located in a former 19th century tobacco factory.
- Théâtre Mon Désert, 71 bis, rue de Mon Désert, ☎ +33 383 853 484. A small municipal theatre.
- UGC, 54, rue Saint Jean, ☎ +33 892 700 000 (0.34€/min). A major cinema chain. Mostly dubbed American blockbusters and mainstream French movies.
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 :
- Le Cameo - Saint Sébastien, 6, Rue Léopold Lallement, ☎ +33 383 354 776.
- Le Cameo - Commanderie, 16, Rue de la Commanderie, ☎ +33 383 284 100.
- AS Nancy Lorraine (ASNL), Stade Marcel Picot - 90 Boulevard Jean-Jaurès - 54510 Tomblaine (Tramway station Gérard Barrois). The local football (soccer) team has been playing in the Ligue 1 championship for many years. While it has never won the first division championship, it has steadily maintained itself among the French professional-level leagues throughout its existence. One of the club's most famous players is former French international Michel Platini. The ASNL plays in the Stade Marcel Picot (20,000 seats).
- SLUC Nancy Basket, Palais des sports Jean-Weille. The local basketball team is one of the major clubs in the country. It won the French championship in 2008 and 2011.
- Greater Nancy swimming pools. There are 9 swimming pols in the greater Nancy area.
- Nancy Jazz Pulsations. October
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.
- Université Henri Poincaré (Nancy 1)
- Université de Nancy 2
- Institut national polytechnique de Lorraine (INPL) avec différentes écoles (EEIGM, Ensaia, Ensem, ENSG, ENSGSI, Ensic, ENSMN)
- École nationale supérieure d'arts (ENSA)
- École nationale supérieure des mines de Nancy (ENSMN)
- Institut commercial de Nancy (ICN Nancy)
- Franco-allemand premier cycle of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po)
- École d'architecture (EAN)
A couple of nice bookstores
- Quiche Lorraine - quiche with little bacon bits—is a local speciality. This can be found in any boulangerie/patisserie for roughly (2 €), but the better version can be found in restaurants.
- mirabelle stuff,
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.
- The Sushi Bar. Place Stanislas.
- La Gavotte. Grand Rue. Crêpes.
- Le T'Roi Stanislas. Apart from desserts and ice cream, this places offers a selection of small savory pies which, served with salad and crisps, make a good option if you need a fast light lunch. Pies with escargot are really nice.
- Les Feuillants, 27, rue Gambetta (just off to the west of Place Stanislas), ☎ +33-383358133. Quite chic restaurant, with excellent food at an acceptable price. Only indoor seats. 35 Euro for a four course dinner menu (2008).
- Café Foy, Place Stanislas. A restaurant right on the square itself, with outside seating on the square or inside sitting on two levels. Brilliant location, great food, although a bit on the pricey side.
- La Petite Cuillere, 123 Grande Rue, ☎ +33 383 36 4316. A somewhat quirky restaurant with "traditional" French fare. Friendly staff who speak English, brilliant presentation and absolutely brilliant food. 3 course set menu at €24, 2 courses for €20.
- Le petit Cuny, 93-95 Grande rue, 54000 Nancy, ☎ +33 3 83 32 85 94. A delicious winstub-like restaurant with local specialities, including the delicious "ardoise de fromages". Just next door, the bar "Le Lez'art" belongs to the same owner and serves delicious buffets on Sundays.
- Brasserie L'Excelsior, 50, rue Henri-Poincaré. A grand old restaurant, close to the train station, should be visited just for the interior decorations alone. Traditional French bistro cuisine. Good food, though on the pricey side with 3 course meal for €30. Excellent wine list, and restaurant well known for its specialities such as its veal steak.
- Chez Tanesy - Le Gastrolâtre, 23, Grande Rue, ☎ +33 383 355 194. Closed Sundays & Mondays. A tiny gastronomical restaurant run by semi-retired, former 1 Michelin star, chef Patrick Tanésy. Sometimes a bit grumpy, the chef is nonetheless a great cook. Traditional French and Provençal cuisine. Excellent wine list. His olive-flavored chocolate dessert is a must-try. Around 40€ for a full-course menu.
- A la Table du Bon Roi Stanislas, 7, rue Gustave Simon (behind place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383 352 652. Closed Mon. noon, Wed. noon and Sun. evening. A small quality restaurant. Traditional Lorraine and Polish cuisine. The menus are directly inspired by food served at the court of King Stanislas. 20€ for a three-course lunch, 40€ for a full-course dinner.
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).
- Le Ch'timi, Place Saint-Epvre (facing the Basilica). Specialty beers.
- Le McCarthy, 6, Rue Guerrier de Dumast. Open till 5AM. Irish pub. Pool table.
- Les Frères Berthom, 5 rue Stanislas (next to the western entrance of place Stanislas). 3PM-2AM. Speciality beers, especially Belgian beers.
- Le Medieval, 27 bis Rue Saint Michel. Irish pub. Live Irish music twice a month.
- L'Echanson, 9 rue de la Primatiale. 12AM-3PM & 5:30PM-9:30PM. Closed Sundays & Mondays. Wine bar.
- Le Vertigo, 29 rue de la Visitation. Many live music concerts.
- Le Cyrano, Grand Rue. Wine bar. 2-4€ a glass.
- Le Queen's Pub, 5 Place Stanislas.
- Cabane du Brasseur, 21, place du Marché (near the covered market). Brew their own beer.
- Opéra café, 5 Terrasse de la pépinière. Speciality & imported beers.
- Le Chat Noir, 63 rue Jeanne d'Arc.
- L'Envers, 1 ter rue du Géneral Hoche.
- La Place, 7 Place Stanislas.
- Le Circus, 42 rue Jean Mermoz.
- L'O (located inside a boat on the Canal), Quai Sainte Catherine.
- Château de Rémicourt Hostel (Nancy's only IYHF hostel), 149 Rue de Vandoeuvre, 54600 Villers les Nancy (tram 1 or bus 122, 126, 134, 135), ☎ +33 383 277 367, fax: +33 383414135, e-mail: email@example.com. €14.70, breakfast included.
- Camping de Nancy-Brabois, Camping Le Brabois - 54600 VILLERS LES NANCY (From motorway A33 exit 2B follow the signs ; from Nancy centre follow the signs pointing to Technopôle de Brabois), ☎ +33 383 271 828.
- Hotel Akena, ☎ +33 383 28 12 03. cheap, clean, don't expect any charm
- F1 hotel Nancy Sud, ZAC Houdemont Heillecourt, 4 allée de la genelière, 54180 HEILLECOURT, e-mail: H2243@accor.com. Cheap, clean rooms (including bed, tv, sink), shared bathrooms are much less appealing.
- Le Stanislas, 22, Rue Sainte Catherine (just east of Place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383372388. Hotel very near the main city attractions, small but quiet room. Don't expect "charm". €50-55 double room (2008).
- Hotel de Guise, 18, rue de Guise. A 3 star hotel, in the old town, close to major attractions. Used to be an old mansion, currently under refurbishment. Great rooms, filled with antique furniture, paintings and rugs.
- Hôtel Des Prélats, 56, pl. Mgr-Ruch (Almost part of the cathedral south east of Place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383 302 020. Very nice looking mid-upper range 3 star hotel in the center of town. Around €120 a double (2014).
- L'Hôtel de la Reine, place Stanislas, ☎ +33 383 35 03 01. A 4 star hotel, in the old town, close to major attractions.
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.
- Police ☎ 17
- Fire brigade ☎ 18
- Medical emergency ☎ 15.
The European emergency number ☎ 112 should be used on mobile phones.
There are two major hospitals with emergency rooms :
- C.H.U de Brabois - Rue Morvan, tel. +33 383 153 030
- C.H.U Hôpital Central - 29, avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, tel. +33 383 858 585
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.
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.
- Média Services, 32 r St Nicolas, ☎ +33 3 68 38 34 16.
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.
- Metz, the other capital of Lorraine.
- Lunéville Home of King Stanislas' massive castle.
- Saint-Nicolas de Port, a small neighbouring town, home of a massive basilica dedicated to Saint-Nicolas. There is also a museum of brewry, set inside a former beer factory.
- Luxembourg The capital of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg is only 90 min away by train.
- Strasbourg - The capital of Alsace.
- The Vosges mountains. Many hiking paths and beautiful scenery. Small, low-altitude ski resorts. 1 hr by car, train service up to Epinal .