NANCY – www.nancy-tourisme.fr
Art Nouveau was about setting aside old artistic paradigms and finding modern forms of expression. Few cities in France could embrace that more fully than Nancy, the very place where Art Nouveau found meaning. Nancy has long boasted amazing 18th-century refinement – in its Ducal Palace, World Heritage-listed grand plazas, older museums, formal gardens and well-kept old town. But since the rise of Art Nouveau, it has equally embraced new design and architecture, today celebrated in its newer museums and quality crystal shops. And, of course, long and involved discussions about art over the area's excellent Côtes de Toul wines.
Nancy is where Art Nouveau got its start thanks to internationally renowned artists part of the École de Nancy, such as Emile Gallé (famed for his glasswork), Louis Majorelle (a furniture genius) and the celebrated Daum crystal maker.
Three large plazas – Stanislas, Alliance and Carrière – form a unique ensemble of 18th-century architecture that was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
Place Stanislas: the 18th-century pedestrian square that is considered one the most beautiful in Europe and the symbol of the city
Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy: a museum and garden with a collection demonstrating the diversity of techniques developed by Art Nouveau artists
macaron de Nancy: an almond-flour cookie whose recipe has been a secret since 1793
Côtes de Toul wines: produced on hillsides close to the town of Toul, to the west of Nancy
Charlélie Couture: multi-disciplinary artist, who has recorded over 25 albums and 17 film soundtracks, and held numerous exhibitions
Also in the Area
Baccarat: the village gave its name to the crystal manufactured in the historic 250-year-old factory, with an adjoining museum and showroom
Lunéville: the 18th-century castle, created by Duke Léopold and embellished by Stanislas, is known as the little Versailles
Domrémy: the village of the 1412 birth of Joan of Arc, who, at 17, led the liberation of France from the English and changed the country's fortunes in the Hundred Years' War
Access from Paris
by road: about 4 hours (240 miles) via the A4 autoroute de l'Est
by train: about 1 h 30 min by TGV from the Gare de l'Est
For more about what to see and do in and around Nancy, click here