Destination Lorraine: Why Not Choose… Metz and Nancy?
Three thousand years old, Metz has an incredibly rich heritage and architecture, while Nancy, the capital of the Dukes of Lorraine for four centuries, is known around the world for its collection of 18th century architecture listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Come and discover two cities with distinctive personalities, two marvels of history and architecture and two of the most beautiful treasures of Lorraine.
Metz, 3000 years of history
From its vantage point of 3000 years, the city reflects its yellow stone, its gardens and its towers in the waters of the Moselle River. The heart and soul of the city, the historic centre recalls Metz's Roman and medieval periods at every corner. Saint-Jacques square sits atop the antique forum and Saint-Louis square was the great merchant square housing the Medieval money changers.
The birthplace of the city, the Sainte-Croix neighbourhood exhibits a cultural purpose (Musée de la Cour d'Or, Municipal Archives, Music Conservatory, etc.) that contrasts with the merchant city centre.
The Imperial neighbourhood, and more particularly the Imperial triangle (between the central train station , the Sainte-Thérèse church and the Serpenoise gate ), bears traces of the German years (1870-1918) and the intent to Germanise the city.
A distinctive characteristic of Metz, the arms of the Moselle River flow around several islands interconnected by old bridges full of character and charm. Together these islands form a neighbourhood that is pleasant to stroll in. The Covered Market, Comédie Square and the old Saint-Clément Abbey are 18th century buildings that will delight architecture enthusiasts.
Nancy, a lively and flamboyant architecture
Let’s begin our visit at Stanislas Square. Nothing is more harmonious than this 18th century setting enclosed by classic, elegant pavilions and the Opera of Lorraine, the City Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts. At the centre of the Square, Stanislas Leszczynski, the last duke of Lorraine, points towards the Héré (his architect) arch, which separates the "Stan" Square from the Carrière Square.
Comprised of small squares and intertwined lanes bordered by tall houses with sculpted pediments and mullioned windows, the Old City, both medieval and Renaissance, will take you back in time. Don't miss the Saint-Epvre basilica, reflecting thousands of colours with its 2,300 sq.m. of stained glass. As for the Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine, it draws your eye thanks to its gatehouse's incredible Renaissance decor mixed with flamboyant Gothic.
The Écuries street has a wild style with its moss-covered paving stones and footbridges leading to the Pépinière park. Nancy's veritable green lung, this public garden created by Stanislas offers visitors undulating lawns, rose-lined alleyways and even monkeys and peacocks.
The Home of Art Nouveau, the city has maintained admirable remains of this movement, which saw "art in everything" and wanted "art for everyone." Through unique and prestigious artworks, as well as objects produced in multiple copies, the Musée de l’École de Nancy reproduces the atmosphere of the 1900s.
Top 10 Must-Sees
The Saint-Étienne de Metz Cathedral: erected from 1220 to 1522, it is the result of combining two distinct churches. With its 42 m high vaulted arch, it is one of the largest Gothic buildings in Europe, while its 6,500 sq.m. of stained glass have earned it the nickname "The Good Lord's Lantern."
The Musée de la Cour d’Or (Metz): this museum presents one of France's largest Gallo-Roman archaeological collections, including: antique thermal baths maintained in situ, column of Merten, altar of Mithra, etc. A maze of rooms and passageways lead from the loft of Chèvremont (15th century) to the ceilings of Voué (13th century) or to the chancel of St-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, reputed to be one of Europe's most beautiful collections of Merovingian sculpture (7th century).
The Opera-theatre of Metz: this is the oldest opera-theatre still in activity in France. Built between 1738 and 1752, it presents a typical 18th century architecture. The statues of muses placed along the baluster are the work of Metz' Charles Pêtre in 1858.
The Centre Pompidou-Metz: conceived as a unique experience and a place of discovery dedicated to contemporary creation in all its forms, the Centre Pompidou-Metz is a living facility where events follow one another year round, in an impressive building created by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines.
The Metz train station: replacing a wooden train station destroyed by fire, Metz's central train station, built between 1905 and 1908, is the showpiece of the New City. It was sized to transport goods and people and make it easy to move troops, materials and animals in a record time of 24 hours.
Stanislas Square (Nancy): designed in 1751 by the Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leszczynski, Stanislas Square was renovated in 2005 to its original form. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the most beautiful examples of classical architecture in the world.
The Saint-Epvre Basilica (Nancy): the 15th century Gothic building was torn down in 1863 to build a new basilica in the neo-Gothic style. The work was carried out from 1864 to 1871 by many European workshops: stained glass windows in Austria and Metz, woodwork in Bavaria and forged bells in Budapest.
The Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine (Nancy): built from the end of the 15th century, the palace is a major symbol of the power of the dukes of Lorraine. Its gatehouse, the ceremonial entrance on Grande Rue, constitutes one of the first markers of Renaissance art in the East of France. The gallery of Stags, a vast room of pomp, is the only princely gallery from this period that has kept its original dimensions.
The Ecole de Nancy Museum: museum located in the former property of the biggest sponsor and collector of the Ecole de Nancy, Eugène Corbin. Inside the home, the furnishings, art objects, stained glass, ceramics and tissues testify to the diversity of the techniques used by the artists of the Ecole de Nancy.
The Round Swimming Pool of Nancy Thermal: built at the beginning of the 20th century in a remarkable architecture, the round swimming pool has a basin supplied with thermal water, an exterior crown (from 1 to 1.3 m deep) and a central basin (3 m deep).
A very bountiful region
Cherry plums, Magdalene sponge cakes, Côtes de Toul wines, etc., Lorraine is a delight for gourmets!
With a rich and bountiful nature, the region offers river fish, water, prairie and wood fowl, orchard fruits, mushrooms and truffles. So many quality products that you will find in delicious dishes. Of course you know quiche Lorraine, but the region is also the source of the bouchée à la reine (vol-au-vent filled with chopped sweetbreads in a rich sauce) and the Lorraine hotpot (dish composed of cabbage, lard and smoked sausages). Sweet dishes and delicacies are not to be outdone: bras de Venus (rolled cakes with cream), macaroons of Nancy, bergamot oranges, pieces of spice cake and of course the cherry plum in all its forms are all quite simply irresistible!
July-August: Nancyphonies in Nancy
This classical music festival organises concerts in different settings around the city: at the Poirel room, the Conservatory's regional auditorium, Saint-Epvre square and the City Hall, as well as at Maxéville.
August: Cherry plum festival in Metz
Shortly after the cherry plum harvest in mid-August, the cherry plum capital concocts a slew of events: the election of the cherry plum queen, children's day and a crafts and regional products market.
September-October: Zikametz Festival in Metz
With this festival of modern music, the Zikamine association invites music lovers to share its musical favourites and discoveries. Held in the Trinitaines' rooms (cellar, cloister and chapel) and the café L’Émile Vache.
October: Nancy Jazz Pulsations in Nancy
The "NJP" festival is open to all forms of jazz and black music, which borrows more or less from jazz, including: reggae, blues, gospel, soul, hip-hop, drum and bass, hardcore, etc.
Concerts, exhibits and events are held in the Pépinière Park.
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Vols direct Nice - METZ-NANCY
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