Nancy is a city I didn’t know a lot about before I decided to pay a visit. But since I’ve spent two days there, I can’t stop telling everyone what a lovely city it is. It actually reminded me a lot of Paris, with its beautiful squares, churches, park and great atmosphere. Let’s call it Paris’ little sister.
If you travel from The Netherlands like I did, it’ll only take you a few hours to get there by car, which makes it the perfect city for a short weekend trip – especially if you combine it with visiting Metz, one of the top places on my France bucket list. Here are seven cool things you should do while visiting Nancy.
This square is right in the city centre of Nancy, and therefore also one of the most important places in the city. One of the sides is being fully occupied by the imposant city hall. On the other side you’ll find a gate which leads you to a beautiful majestic avenue full of trees. Next to it you’ll find a park, which you can also enter coming from the square. In the corner you’ll find an impressive fountain, full of gold leaf. By the way, don’t bother to grab a drink at one of the restaurants here, because they won’t allow it, unless you’ll also have a meal. #snobs
Rent a bike
One of the most fun ways to explore a city is by renting a bike. This way you can easily get to other parts of the city. We did our art deco architecture tour by bike, cycled through the park and to another square where we had lunch (and obviously saw lots of other places too). We rented our bikes at Maison du Vélo.
Parc de la Pépinière
This big park was quite a surprise! We didn’t really have a good look at the map, so we actually found it by accident. But what a lovely spot this is! It’s not just big, but we also ran into an event with a French Youtuber (who’s apparently famous for making videos from the bathtub… wtf) full of screaming teenagers, and a little zoo! The little zoo housed mostly farm animals, but also a rock with some monkeys.
Art Deco tour
One of the things Nancy is famous for, is it’s Art Deco architecture. We decided to take an audio tour and this way cycled along some beautiful building. I quite like art deco, but found the tour to be a bit too technical. I rather hear about who lived in those houses instead of why a certain arch was built this way. But luckily they had a bit of both!
Taste some macarons
Nancy claims to be the birth place of the macarons. At Maison des Soeurs Macarons you can have taste of the real ones. They might not look as sexy as the happy coloured ones you often find in the stores, but they’re definitely delicious. The story goes that the macaron was invented by nuns, who in troubled times kept their head above water by selling their cookies.
Have some delicious dinner
Just in case you’re still looking for a centrally located restaurant with delicious food, friendly staff and a good price: I highly recommend L’Arsenal. I don’t think we’ve ever experienced such nice service (by the owner in this case) and the tasty food just kept on coming. If you just want to have drink, make sure to make your way to Brasserie Excelsior. The food is not great (they burned our salmon) and the staff wants to get you outside as soon as possible, but the building is just beautiful. So I’d still recommend it if you just want to grab a cup of coffee!
During summer you’ll find a free light show of about 30 minutes at Place Stanislas Rendez Vous, where all the buildings around you come to life, full of colours. I was a bit sceptic about it at first and didn’t really feel like standing in a huge crowd for 30 minutes. But I really have to take back my words! This is by far the best light show I’ve ever seen. So colourful! And they played with depth and contrast so well that at some point you really start to think the buildings are moving. And it’s free! Go! http://www.rendez-vous.nancy.fr/
I also read that Nancy has some beautiful museums, so if you have any time left I’m sure you won’t be bored!