Historic center

1 - Place Stanislas

- The Place Stanislas has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983, when the car park was removed.

- It was entirely restored in 2005, for the 250th anniversary of its inauguration.

- The square was inaugurated in 1755. In the center stands a statue of King of Poland, Stanislas Leszczynski - who came to an independent duchy to dedicate a square to the King of France.

2- City planning of Nancy in 1611

- The smaller part corresponds to the medieval city. Nancy appeared in the 11th century.

- "Nancy" comes from the Celtic word "nant," which means "swamp." Indeed, the Meurthe, an important waterway, flowed nearby and regularly flooded.

- In the 16th century (during the Renaissance), the Duke of Lorraine built the Ville Neuve to address sanitation problems and the lack of housing. It was a grid with very wide streets.

- Stanislas Leszczynski, who became the Duke of Lorraine in 1737, transformed a marshy area into the “Place Royale”, connecting the Vieille Ville and the Ville Neuve.

3 - The Statue of Stanislas Leszczynski

- Stanislas was the father-in-law of the King of France, Louis XV, whom he married to hisdaughter Marie Leszczynska.

- In the 18th century, Louis XV wanted to annex Lorraine to France and find a place for his father-in-law, who was the King of Poland but had been deposed. The French army had already entered the Duchy of Lorraine long ago.

- The hereditary Duke of Lorraine, François III, was ousted from his duchy, and Louis XV installed his father-in-law Stanislas as Duke in 1737 as an honorary and life title. It was after Stanislas's death that Lorraine became French.

- Stanislas thanked his son-in-law with this square and prepared the annexation of Lorraine to France. A statue of the king was in the center. It was destroyed during the French Revolution.

- As for the buildings, they were inspired by antiquity: triangular pediments, columns on the facades. A sober style contrasting with the much more ornate gates. Classical and baroque styles were mixed.

4 - Neptune Fountain

- Neptune is a Roman deity corresponding to Poseidon in Greek mythology, recognizable by his trident.

- The fountains are surrounded by gates, shaped like triumphal arches and partly covered in gold leaf. 820 grams (1.8 lbs) of gold were enough to cover the Square.

- The gates and fountains hid the walls of the Vieille Ville that passed right behind them.

- The gates highlighted the King of France. They were laden with symbols: fleur-de-lis, crowns, sun with a face in the center, rooster symbolizing the French people.

- On the lamppost supports, you can see the "L" of Louis XV and the "S" of Stanislas.

5 - Emmanuel Héré Arch

- Emmanuel Héré was Stanislas's architect. He designed the Royal Square and this triumphal arch, entirely dedicated to the king.

- At the top, you can see the medallion representing Louis XV.

- The arch revolves around a theme, war and peace. There is a Latin inscription: "Terror of enemies, maker of peace, glory, and love of his people".

- Symbols of peace: Louis XV playing the lyre, "Principi pacifio," the statue of Ceres (Demeter in Greek) goddess of fertility, the statue of Minerva (Athena in Greek) goddess of wisdom.

- Symbols of war: Louis XV killing a dragon, "Principi victori," the statue of Mars (Ares in Greek)god of war, the statue of Hercules embodying strength. The triumphal arch is 18 meters (59 feet) wide because it was built within the walls, replicating their thickness.

6 - Place Carrière

- The medieval city walls were pushed back by 120 meters (131 yards) in the 16th century, adding all this space to the city. A career, an area where horses were trained, was installed. Jousts with armored riders carrying large lances were also organized there.

- Duke Leopold built the hôtel de Craon at the beginning of the 18th century for his mistress.

- A few decades later, Stanislas built the opposite of the hôtel de Craon symmetrically. Heinstalled the Merchants' Exchange there.

7- La Rue des Écuries

- La Rue des Écuries (Stabl
es Street) was built at the same time as the Career in the 16thcentury, when the walls were pushed back by 120 meters (131 yards). The stables wereattached to the walls. Today they serve as a garage.

- In the 20th century, until the 1950s, it was a poor and populous area living in old dilapidated housing. In the 1960s, HLMs (low-income housing) were built on the outskirts of cities wherepoor populations moved. In the 1980s, the apartments on the street were renovated. Today they are the most expensive and sought-after apartments in the city.

8- Le Palais du Gouvernement

- Originally, it was the Intendant's Palace, a creation of Stanislas. The king of France's intendan twho governed the duchy on behalf of Louis XV was housed there. Later, a military governor was installed there. It then became the Government Palace. Today, it is an annex of the ‘Musée Lorrain’ (Lorraine Museum).

- On either side of the square, you can see two pavilions. On the right is the Héré Pavilion. It is a gift from Stanislas to his architect. Stanislas made gifts with the money of the King of France.

9 - La Basilique Saint-Epvre

- A basilica is a church with a special status granted by the pope. Most of the time, relics are exposed there: the remains of a saint. Here, the remains of Saint-Epvre, bishop of Toul in the 6th century, are found.

- The basilica was inaugurated in 1871. It is built in a neo-Gothic style and has a metal structure.

10 - The Dukes of Lorraine Palace

- On January 5, 1477, the Duke of Lorraine, René II, won a great battle against the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold. It was the Battle of Nancy. The Duke of Burgundy died at the foot ofthe city walls. It was a huge victory for the Lorrains. Following the victory, the Duchy of Lorraine became independent (an independence that would last 300 years).

- The palace was built after the Battle of Nancy. On the door, you can see symbols chosen byRené II after the victory. The Lorraine Thistle, a prickly plant, symbol of resistance. The “Croix de Lorraine” (Cross of Lorraine), a symbol reused by General De Gaulle during World War II.

11- l’Église des Cordeliers

- At the end of the street is the Porte de la Craffe (Craffe Gate), the last vestiges of the medieval ramparts. The gate dates from the 14th century.

- We are next to the Cordeliers Church. It is the oldest church in the city, dating from the 16thcentury. It was built right next to the Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine.

- The church is elongated and does not have a transept. This is what this religious order wants,sobriety, simplicity.

- It is the ducal necropolis. All the dukes of Lorraine are buried here from René II onwards, except the last two: François III of Lorraine and Stanislas Leszczynski.

12- Le Parc de la Pépinière

- This is Stanislas's last major project. It highlights an area that was previously neglected. Between the city walls and the Meurthe River further away, there was a marshy area. Stanislas turned it into a nursery, an area for tree cultivation.

- It was in the 19th century that the nursery became the Nursery Park (Parc de la Pépinière). At that time, the upper part of the nursery was transformed into an English garden with winding paths, groves, different species of trees (purple beeches, ginkgos biloba, sequoias).

13 - Mozart Kiosk

- It is a music kiosk installed in 1875. It takes up the decoration of Stanislas Square. You can findthe gilding, the lamppost support with the rooster. The rooster no longer holds the crown of theKing of France as on Stanislas Square, but a fortified tower. In 1875, France had already became a republic - the Third republic -, therefore, it wasn’t really possible to highlight the Kinganymore

- Just behind it is the rue des Écuries (Stables Street) where we passed earlier.

14 - La Fontaine d’Amphitrite

- Amphitrite is the wife of Poseidon in mythology. It echoes the Neptune fountain and the aquatic environment.

- The lateral elements were removed after Stanislas's death to allow access to the populationtowards the nursery.

- Stanislas asked the sculptor to represent Amphitrite with the features of the Marquise deBoufflers, his mistress, so that she would cross the centuries.

- She was a great woman of letters, a friend of Voltaire. She wrote her epitaph herself, the fewwords found on her tomb. It is written:

Here lies, in deep peace,
That lady of delight,
Who, as an extra precaution
Made her paradise in this world

Ci-gît, dans une paix profonde,
Cette Dame de volupté
Qui, pour plus grande sûreté,
Fit son paradis dans ce monde.