Discover the wonders of Nancy.
Discover the wonders of Nancy.
Twice king of Poland (1704-1709, 1733-1736), duc of Lorraine and of Bar (1737-1766)
Father of the Queen Marie Leszcynska, he is the great grand-father of three of Kings of France: Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X.
Polish tribulations of the King Stanislas.
Stanislas was born in 1677 into a powerful Polish family, the Leszczynskis. He received an excellent education and married Catherine Opalinska, also of great nobility.
Elected King of Poland in 1704 and dethroned in 1709, he was forced into exile and travelled throughout Europe, finally settling in Wissembourg (Alsace) in 1720. In 1733, already father-in-law to Louis XV, he secretly travelled to Warsaw, where he was once again proclaimed King of Poland. Faced with an extremely complex political situation, he returned to France. In 1737, a compromise was reached. Stanislas definitively renounced the Polish throne in exchange for the Duchy of Lorraine and the Bar.
Upon his arrival in the ducal city in 1737, Stanislas Leszczynski (1677-1766) discovered a town divided into two distinct urban areas separated by a bastioned front, moats and an esplanades.
North, the concentric medieval Old Town, where the ducal palace is located; South, the Renaissance New Town, with its straight, parallel streets, built by Charles III (1543-1608) in the 17th century.
Freed from all government obligations, Stanislas enjoyed a substantial income from the King of France, his son-in-law. He used it to develop numerous charities and promote art and culture, in which architecture and town planning played a major role. In 1751, he told Marshal de Belle-Isle, the French governor of the Three Dioceses and Lieutenant General of Lorraine, of his plans to embellish Nancy and his desire to build a Place Royale on the esplanade separating the two cities.
Le maréchal s’oppose fermement à cette idée qui implique la destruction des bastions d’Haussonville, dont les vestiges sont visibles au sous-sol du musée des Beaux-Arts, et de Vaudémont ainsi que du rempart qui les relie.
Stanislas then considered relocating the project to the Place du Marché in Ville Neuve, in front of the church of Saint-Sébastien. However, faced with the hostility of the shopkeepers, he returned to his original idea, adapting it to meet the military requirements of the French. After numerous negotiations, the programme was approved on 20 January 1752.
Work began on 18 March of the same year. The building work was carried out with great enthusiasm. Stanislas devoted all his energy and a large part of his finances to the project. He brought together exceptional architects and artists and employed several hundred workers. The square was inaugurated on 26 November 1755 Work began on 18 March of the same year. The building work was carried out with great enthusiasm. Stanislas devoted all his energy and a large part of his finances to the project. He brought together exceptional architects and artists and employed several hundred workers. The square was inaugurated on 26 November 1755.
Initially named “square between the two towns”, then “Royal square” in 1792, it was named “place of the people” in 1792 before being named “square Stanislas” in 1831.
The square is named after Stanislas Leszczynski (1677-1766). King of Poland, he was the father in law of Louis XV, Duc of Lorraine and Bar. He wanted to make this square as a meeting and entertaining place. He succedeed.
Did you know it measures 106 x 124 metres?
The Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) runs along its entire length to the south, while the four pavilions house the Opéra, the Grand Hôtel de la Reine (Queen’s Grand Hotel) and the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum). To the north are the Basses Faces (the single-storey pavilions). Its classical architecture is enhanced by Jean Lamour’s gold railings and Rocaille fountains. Have fun finding all the symbols of royalty on the railings, or spotting the moods of the 100 masks.
To enjoy a moment and take a royal break, why not take a seat on one of the terraces or on the lices that line the square? Place de la Carrière and the Palais du Gouvernement.
An extension of Place Stanislas, it is in fact a medieval square, located in the Old Town for equestrian exercises and tournaments. In the 18th century, the Palais du Gouvernement, the seat of the Intendant de France, and the hemicycle closing the perspective, were built here. Emmanuel Héré, Stanislas’ architect, refurbished all the facades and built the private mansions in the corners. The central median strip planted with 4 rows of trees features small fountains topped with cherubs. This square marks the entrance to the old town and leads to the Ducal Palace.
On the Place Stanislas side, look up: the Angel of Fame (or Fama) is blowing his trumpet. Just below, the portrait of Louis XV reminds us of the man to whom everything is dedicated. Do you know what the Latin phrase means? Terror of his enemies, creator of treaties, glory and love of his people !
on the left, the decorative elements celebrate the Prince of Peace. On the cornice, the goddesses Ceres and Minerva.
On the right, the Prince of Victories is celebrated, under the protection of the statues of Mars and Hercules.Place d’Alliance.
Built on the site of the Duc de Lorraine’s former vegetable garden, the 3rd square listed with UNESCO is also the smallest and most discreet! Its astonishing fountain “with the three old men” is a must. The town house designed by the architect Emmanuel Héré still has its torches. Can you find it?
Located right in the heart of the historic city centre, Parc de la Pépinière (often called ‘La Pep’ by Nancy residents) is a haven of greenery, with 21 hectares of wooded areas and a magnificent rose garde.
originally a royal nursery founded by Stanislas on the site of the former ducal gardens and bastions of the Ville Vieille, it was transformed into a public park in 1835 while retaining its original layout. It’s a paradise for walkers, joggers, pushchairs, children and students, a breath of fresh air for city dwellers and an essential outdoor paradise.
The park offers a wide range of leisure activities: an animal park, a miniature golf course, a playground, a puppet theatre, several restaurants and snack bars, as well as a number of sports fields (football, basketball, pétanque, etc.) and a gymnasium.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy is housed in one of the pavilions along the Place Stanislas, in the heart of the 18th-century urban complex which is now declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The museum exhibits a large collection of European paintings, and design work, with a gallery devoted to Jean Prouvé and the Daum factory (crystal glass makers)
Built in 1900 by the architecte Henri Sauvage, this beautiful house is an emblem of the Art Nouveau. Whereas Louis Majorelle wanted to be a painter, the sudden death of his father changed his future plans and he took over the family business : a manufacture of furniture. Soon his creations had a real succes in France and abroad, the Majorelle workshops will be noted during the universal exhibition of 1900 in Paris.
Louis Majorelle places an order with Henri Sauvages as he wanted a house to the image of his workshop: modern, simple and dynamic. The building started in 1901 et followed Mr Majorelle’s instructions who wished a certain confort for its inhabitant as well as reasonalbe dimensions. As for the workshops, they can be found on the second floor of the building, it includes bright workshop for painting.
The Villa Majorelle is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 9h to 12h or groups and from 2 to 4 pm for individuals.
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The architect Henri Sauvage designed this villa built in 1901-1902 for the artist Louis Majorelle, listed building, it is typical of the Art Nouveau in Nancy.
Acces to the groundfloor of the villa is possible for people with limited mobility. A virtual visit , digital model and other applications or audios are available. For younger people, a booklet with games is given free of charge.
in order to preserve the house and its floors, it is not possible to visit the house with stilleto heels and overshoes are provided.
The Villa Majorelle occupies a very special place in the history of architecture. As the first entirely Art Nouveau house in Nancy, it bears witness to a perfect collaboration between Parisian and Nancy-based artists. Alongside Henri Sauvage, we find the names of Jacques Gruber for the stained glass, Alexandre Bigot for the stoneware, Francis Jourdain and Henri Royer for the paintings, not forgetting Louis Majorelle himself for the ironwork, woodwork and furniture, and Lucien Weissenburger for the execution and monitoring of the work.
Open to the public since 1997, the Villa Majorelle is representative both for the outside architecture and the inside decoration of the unity of art proned byt the artists of the Nancy school.
This museum is a must when you come to Nancy. Inspired by nature, this highly original art rejected angles in favour of curves. In Nancy, however, it was closely linked to the French political and social context of that turbulent period, marked by the loss of Alsace-Moselle and the Dreyfus Affair. This is the result of its main initiator, Émile Gallé (1846-1904) with his own ideals and sensibility.
Through art, people from the Lorraine wanted to express their hope to get the lost provinces back one day. Émile Gallé, born in Nancy, was fond of the Lorraine. Oftern helped by artists such as Victor Prouvé and Louis Hestaux, he will show his attachment to the Lorraine and his resentment of the Germans in this county through inscriptions ingraved in his glass creations or his cabinet making.
The Dreyfus affair broke out in 1894, and split France into two irreconcilable camps for the next decade. Concepts such as justice, patriotism, nationalism, the honor of France and the honor of the army collided, torn between the two camps, trapped by fluctuating definitions and perennial anti-Semitism. The anti-Dreyfusards placed the honor of the army and the authority of res judicata at the heart of patriotism, while the defenders of Dreyfus placed the honor of Justice. Gallé openly sided with Dreyfus and Émile Zola when he published J’accuse…! in 1898. On this occasion, the artist ceased all correspondence with Maurice Barrès. He also defended the cause of the Armenians against the Turks, and of the Irish and Boers against the British Empire.
The Art Nouveau style, which saw nature as the only possible source of inspiration for the revival of modern decorative art, spread throughout France from the 1880s onwards. Through the works of the Nancy School, this page attempts to give an overview of its rounded appearance, which was criticized from the outset by some critics. Cabinetmaking, glassmaking, ceramics, ironwork, graphic arts, bookbinding and even embroidery: Art Nouveau in every aspect. It shows furniture, lamps, vases and stained glass even some paintings.
With the advent of electricity (which was becoming widespread in homes at the time), he could go even further: this new means of lighting opened up a wide creative field for artists.
The Art Nouveau style sought to link art and industry, and Nancy’s production was divided into three levels of quality: “art pieces” made to order for patrons; inexpensive pieces, produced almost mechanically, but with little connection to the naturalistic style; and, in between, the so-called “rich” pieces, which embodied the Art Nouveau style without concession. As is often the case, the profits from the low-cost pieces enabled the workshops to ensure the creation of the art pieces and the inevitable artistic research that accompanied them.
However, from the 1900s onwards, this style underwent a market reversal. Tastes and attitudes were changing. The naturalistic style was deemed insufficient to bring industrial art to life. What’s more, there was less and less use for expensive objects, reserved for the wealthy classes, most often in Paris. Émile Gallé was well aware of these changes. To resist this change, which threatened Lorraine’s designers, they joined forces to form the Alliance provinciale des industries d’art (Gallé, Prouvé, Hestaux, Daum, Vallin, Gruber, Majorelle, etc.).
In February 1901, the Alliance became an association and took the name École de Nancy. Émile Gallé was its first president. But l’École de Nancy never managed to pull itself out of the rut. Émile Gallé died of leukemia in September 1904, at the age of 58; his friend Victor Prouvé took over. The École de Nancy association was finally dissolved in August 1914.
In 1964, Art Nouveau enjoyed a revival with the inauguration of the Musée de l’École de Nancy. Although some Parisian newspapers were not kind to what they described as “nightmare art” at the time, it has to be said that all the objects created by Émile Gallé are a great success in today’s auction rooms.
Saint Nicholas character is inspired by the story of the Myre bishop. Saint Nicholes was born at the end of the 3rd century in Asia Minor in the region which is now Turkey. He was known for his generosity, his kindness and his will to fight against grec and roman cults.
He was emprisoned and killed during the Roman persecutions of the Roman empire. He would have died on December 6th of 343. This date has been kept in many regions of France, Belgium and other countries to celebrate him.
After his death, many miracles were attributed to him. All his life he would have saved many lifes, seamen, children, shopkeepers and even lawyers. It is said that from his head sprang a fountain of oil, from his feet a spring of water and from all his limbs a blessed ointment that would cure many people.
The legend of Saint Nicholas and the father whipper
One autumn morning, as winter approached, 3 children set out to glean in the fields of Lorraine and got lost. Attracted by the light of a house, they approached and knocked on the door. The owner of the house was none other than Pierre Lenoir, also known as Peter Schwartz. He agreed to let them in, but killed them, then cut them up into small pieces to put them in a big salt
and put them in a giant salt pan. Saint Nicholas arrived on his donkey and knocked on the door. The man could not push away a bishop and he invited him for diner. Saint Nicholas asked for salted meat. The man thought he had been tricked and admitted his crime. Saint Nicholas place three fingers on the pan and resuscitated the children.
To punish the butcher, Saint Nicholas chained him to his donkey. It was at this point in the story that he became the Father Whipper, a bad-tempered and violent character who reprimands children who are not well-behaved. The exact opposite of Saint Nicholas, who in some countries became Saint Nikolaus, then Santa Klaus and finally Father Christmas as we know him today.