Nancy, France

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Nancy, Place Stanislas, E.Here, 1752-60.jpg
Place Stanislas in the centre of town
Grandes Armes de Nancy.svg
Coat of arms
Latin: Non inultus premor, lit.  'I am not injured unavenged'
Nancy OSM 01.png
Location of Nancy
Nancy, France
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Grand Est region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 48°41′37″N6°11′05″E / 48.6936°N 6.1846°E / 48.6936; 6.1846 Coordinates: 48°41′37″N6°11′05″E / 48.6936°N 6.1846°E / 48.6936; 6.1846
Country France
Region Grand Est
Department Meurthe-et-Moselle
Arrondissement Nancy
Canton 3 cantons
Intercommunality Métropole du Grand Nancy
  Mayor (2020–2026) Mathieu Klein
15.01 km2 (5.80 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018) [1]
  Density7,000/km2 (18,000/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
54395 /54000
Elevation188–353 m (617–1,158 ft)
(avg. 212 m or 696 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Nancy [lower-alpha 1] is the capital of the north-eastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, and formerly the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine, and then the French province of the same name. The metropolitan area of Nancy had a population of 511,257 inhabitants at the 2017 census, making it the 16th largest urban area in France and the Lorraine's largest. [5] The population of the city of Nancy proper was 104,885.


The motto of the city is Non inultus premor, Latin for '"I am not injured unavenged"' [6] —a reference to the thistle, which is a symbol of Lorraine.

Place Stanislas, a large square built between March 1752 and November 1755 by Stanislaus I of Poland to link the medieval old town of Nancy and the new town built under Charles III in the 17th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first place in France and in the top four in the world.The city also has many buildings listed as historical monuments and is one of the European centers of Art Nouveau thanks to the École de Nancy. Nancy is also one of the main university cities and the agglomeration is home to one of the main health centers in France.


The earliest signs of human settlement in the area date to 800 BC. Early settlers were likely attracted by easily mined iron ore and a ford in the Meurthe River. Its name is first attested as Nanciaco, possibly from a Gaulish personal name. A small fortified town named Nanciacum (Nancy) was built by Gérard, Duke of Lorraine around 1050.

Nancy was burned in 1218 at the end of the War of Succession of Champagne, and conquered by Emperor Frederick II. It was rebuilt in stone over the next few centuries as it grew in importance as the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine. Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy, was defeated and killed in the Battle of Nancy in 1477; René II, Duke of Lorraine became the ruler.

Following the failure of both Emperor Joseph I and Emperor Charles VI to produce a son and heir, the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 left the throne to the latter's next child. This turned out to be a daughter, Maria Theresa of Austria. In 1736, Emperor Charles arranged her marriage to Duke François of Lorraine, who reluctantly agreed to exchange his ancestral lands for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

The exiled Polish king Stanislaus I (Stanisław Leszczyński in Polish), father-in-law of the French king Louis XV, was then given the vacant duchy of Lorraine. Under his nominal rule, Nancy experienced growth and a flowering of Baroque culture and architecture. Stanislaus oversaw the construction of Place Stanislaus, a major square and development connecting the old medieval with a newer part of the city. Upon Stanislaus' death in February 1766, Lorraine and Barrois became a regular government of the Kingdom of France. [7] A parlement for Lorraine and Barrois was established in Nancy in 1776. [7]

As unrest surfaced within the French armed forces during the French Revolution, a full-scale mutiny, known as the Nancy affair, took place in Nancy in the latter part of summer 1790. A few units loyal to the government laid siege to the town and shot or imprisoned the mutineers.

In 1871, Nancy remained French when Prussia annexed Alsace-Lorraine. Artistic, academic, financial and industrial excellence flourished, establishing what is still the Capital of Lorraine's trademark to this day.[ citation needed ]

Nancy and other areas of France were occupied by German forces from 1940, renamed Nanzig. During the Lorraine Campaign of World War II, Nancy was liberated from Nazi Germany by the U.S. Third Army in September 1944, at the Battle of Nancy.

In 1988, Pope John Paul II visited Nancy. In 2005, French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, and Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski inaugurated the renovated Place Stanislas. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Nancy is situated on the left bank of the river Meurthe, about 10 km upstream from its confluence with the Moselle. The Marne–Rhine Canal runs through the city, parallel to the Meurthe. Nancy is surrounded by hills that are about 150 m higher than the city center, which is situated at 200 m above mean sea level. The area of Nancy proper is relatively small: 15 km2. Its built-up area is continuous with those of its adjacent suburbs. The neighboring communes of Nancy are: Jarville-la-Malgrange, Laxou, Malzéville, Maxéville, Saint-Max, Tomblaine, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy and Villers-lès-Nancy.

The oldest part of Nancy is the quarter Vieille Ville – Léopold, which contains the 14th century Porte de la Craffe, the Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine, the Porte Désilles and the 19th century St-Epvre basilica. Adjacent to its south is the quarter Charles III – Centre Ville, which is the 16th–18th century "new town". This quarter contains the famous Place Stanislas, the Nancy Cathedral, the Opéra national de Lorraine and the main railway station.

The population of the city proper experienced a small decrease in population from 2009 to 2014, placing it behind Metz (117,619) as the second largest city in the Lorraine. [8] [9] However, the urban area of Metz experienced population decline from 1990 to 2010 while the urban area of Nancy grew over the same period, becoming the largest urban area in Lorraine and second largest in the "Grand Est" region of northeastern France. Within the Nancy metropolitan area in recent years, the city population declined slightly (2009–2014) at the roughly same time as a small increase in the population of its urban area (2006–2012).


Nancy has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb), although a bit more extreme than most of the larger French cities. [10] By the standards of France it is a "continental" climate with a certain degree of maritimy (unrelated to the Köppen classification, since generally the whole country has a predominant mechanism favored by the West winds). [11] [12]

The temperatures have a distinct variation of the temperate zone, both during the day and between seasons but without being very different. Winters are cold and dry in freezing climates. Summers are not always sunny, but warm enough. Mists are frequent in autumn and the winds are light and not too violent. Precipitation tends to be less abundant than in the west of the country. Sunshine hours are almost identical to Paris and the snowy days are the same as Strasbourg (most similar weather conditions). [13] Although the lowest recorded temperature is officially −26.8 °C, some sources consider temperatures from −30 °C on 10 December 1879 before continuous data. [14]

Climate data for Nancy-Tomblaine (Les Ensanges), elevation: 217 m or 712 ft, 1961–1990 normals
Record high °C (°F)16.8
Average high °C (°F)4.6
Average low °C (°F)−0.8
Record low °C (°F)−21.6
Average precipitation mm (inches)65.4
Average precipitation days11.29.510.69.311.
Mean monthly sunshine hours 55.979.7129.1173.9199.1220.9229.1213.7162.8104.851.744.31,664.9
Source: Météo France [15] [16]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 29,141    
1800 28,227−0.45%
1806 30,532+1.32%
1821 29,241−0.29%
1831 29,122−0.04%
1836 31,445+1.55%
1841 35,901+2.69%
1846 38,795+1.56%
1851 40,289+0.76%
1856 48,199+3.65%
1861 49,305+0.45%
1872 52,978+0.66%
1876 66,303+5.77%
1881 73,225+2.01%
1886 79,038+1.54%
1891 87,110+1.96%
1896 96,306+2.03%
1901 102,559+1.27%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1906 110,570+1.52%
1911 119,949+1.64%
1921 113,226−0.58%
1926 114,491+0.22%
1931 120,578+1.04%
1936 121,301+0.12%
1946 113,477−0.66%
1954 124,797+1.20%
1962 128,677+0.38%
1968 123,428−0.69%
1975 107,902−1.90%
1982 96,317−1.61%
1990 99,351+0.39%
1999 103,605+0.47%
2007 105,349+0.21%
2012 105,067−0.05%
2017 104,286−0.15%
Source: EHESS [19] and INSEE (1968-2017) [20]

Main sights

The Ducal Palace of Nancy Nancy - palais ducal, facade.jpg
The Ducal Palace of Nancy
Notre-Dame Cathedral of Nancy Nancy Cathedral BW 2015-07-18 16-22-28.jpg
Notre-Dame Cathedral of Nancy
City hall and monument to Stanislaus I of Poland, at Place Stanislas Nancy Place Stanislas BW 2015-07-18 14-00-16.jpg
City hall and monument to Stanislaus I of Poland, at Place Stanislas

The old city center's heritage dates from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. The cathedral of Nancy, the Triumphal Arch and the "Place de la Carriere" are a fine examples of 18th-century architecture. [21] The Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine is the former princely residence of the rulers. The palace houses the Musée Lorrain.

A historic church is the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Nancy, final resting place of the last duke Stanislas. Other notable churches are the Church of Saint-François-des-Cordeliers and the Basilica of Saint-Epvre (fr:Basilique Saint-Epvre de Nancy), which have historical ties to the ducal House of Lorraine.

The Place Stanislas [22] named after king of Poland and duke of Lorraine Stanislaus I, Place de la Carrière, and Place d'Alliance were added on the World Heritage Sites list by the UNESCO in 1983.

The "École de Nancy", a group of artists and architects founded by the glassmaster and furniture maker Émile Gallé, worked in the art nouveau style at the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century. It was principally their work which made Nancy a center of art and architecture that rivaled Paris and helped give the city the nickname "Capitale de l'Est". The city still possesses many Art Nouveau buildings (mostly banks or private homes). Furniture, glassware, and other pieces of the decorative arts are conserved at the Musée de l'École de Nancy, which is housed in the 1909 villa of Eugène Corbin, a Nancy businessman and supporter of the Art Nouveau there. The Musée des Beaux-Arts has further collections of the art nouveau movement.

A major botanical garden, the Jardin botanique du Montet , is located at Villers-lès-Nancy. Other gardens of interest include the city's earliest botanical garden, the Jardin Dominique Alexandre Godron , and various other public gardens and places of interest including the Pépinière and Parc Sainte-Marie (public gardens). The town also has an aquarium.

The surroundings of the train station are a busy commercial area.


National Opera of Lorraine Opera national de Lorraine (10).jpg
National Opera of Lorraine
Museum of the Ecole de Nancy Musee ecole Nancy.jpg
Museum of the École de Nancy

The city is known for its World Heritage buildings at the Place Stanislas, which was opened April 2005 by Jacques Chirac after refurbishment.

At the turn of the 20th century, Nancy was a major center of the Art Nouveau with the École de Nancy. The city possesses a unique and interesting Musée de l'École de Nancy (School of Nancy Museum) with artworks by Émile Gallé, Louis Majorelle, Daum, Caravaggio, [23] and others.

Nancy also has other museums:

The city is also the seat of the Diocese of Nancy and the home of the Opéra national de Lorraine. There is a network of libraries, the central of which is Bibliothèque municipale de Nancy.

Nancy is known for its macarons and bergamotes, candies flavored with bergamot essential oil.

Macaron de Nancy - IMG 2841.JPG
Macarons de Nancy
Bergamotes de Nancy IGP.JPG
Bergamotes de Nancy

Universities and colleges

Faculty of Law, Economics and Management of the University of Lorraine Nancy-Universite.JPG
Faculty of Law, Economics and Management of the University of Lorraine

Nancy has a large number of institutions of higher learning.


Nancy is home to two of the three professional sport clubs in Lorraine: AS Nancy-Lorraine in football and SLUC Nancy in basketball. AS Nancy-Lorraine's Hall of Fame includes triple-Ballon d'Or and UEFA President Michel Platini, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, 1998 World Champion Aimé Jacquet, 2000 European Champion Roger Lemerre, 1998 African Ballon d'Or Mustapha Hadji, Irish legend Tony Cascarino, 1986 European Cup winner Sacha Zavarov and 1958 World Cup Semi-finalist Roger Piantoni.

AS Nancy-Lorraine won the French cup 1978 with captain Michel Platini who scored the only goal of the final (Nancy 1–0 Nice). More recently AS Nancy-Lorraine won the "Coupe de la Ligue" (French League Cup) in 2006 and reached fourth place in the French football league in 2007/2008.

SLUC Nancy won the last Korac European Cup in 2002, reached the finals of French championship of basketball (Pro A) four consecutive times and finally won his first trophy in 2008. Also winner of "Semaine des As" in 2005 and champion of 2nd league (pro B) in 1994.

Winner of the 2010–2011 French Championship.[ clarification needed ]

Cours-Leopold F Foire-de-Nancy Cours-Leopold.JPG
Place Stanislas - Arc Here Nancy Porte Here BW 2015-07-18 13-45-28.jpg
Place Stanislas – Arc Héré
Place Stanislas - Fountain of Neptune Nancy Neptunbrunnen.jpg
Place Stanislas – Fountain of Neptune

Native sons and daughters

Nancy was the birthplace of:


Nancy's guided busway, known as the 'tramway on tires' Nancy BW 2015-07-18 13-16-32.jpg
Nancy's guided busway, known as the 'tramway on tires'

The main railway station is Gare de Nancy-Ville, with direct connections to Paris (high-speed rail line), Metz, Lyon, Strasbourg and several regional destinations. The motorway A31 connects Nancy with Metz, Luxembourg and Langres.

Public transport within Nancy is provided by Service de Transport de l'Agglomération Nancéienne (STAN), [30] operated by Veolia Transport, operating the Tram by STAN and around 20 conventional bus routes.

The most heavily used route, the Tram T1, is a so-called 'tramway on tires', which is actually a guided busway based on Bombardier Transportation's Guided Light Transit (GLT) technology and using articulated trolleybuses. In addition to diesel buses, Nancy has been served by trolleybuses since 1982, but in 2000 the three-route trolleybus system was reconfigured into a single, longer route[ citation needed ] and with a surface guidance system added (GLT, or TVR in French). The guidance systems covers about two-thirds of the approximately 10-km route, and the trolleybuses are separated from other traffic over that portion of the route, speeding travel times. During its first two years, the new system suffered many incidents and malfunctions of the guidance system, but now works without significant problems.[ citation needed ]


The greater coat of arms. Grandes Armes de Nancy.svg
The greater coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Nancy displays a thistle, originally considered to be a symbol of Virgin Mary, and adopted as a personal symbol by René of Anjou and later by his descendant René II, Duke of Lorraine. Contrary to the Scottish thistle, the one of Lorraine is always shown with its roots. During the wars against Burgundy, the thistle became an emblem for the people of Lorraine as a whole. It officially became the attribute of the city of Nancy in 1575 when Charles III, Duke of Lorraine granted the city with its own coat of arms. [31]

At first, the coat of arms of Nancy had a chief of Lorraine, which meant that the upper part showed the ducal arms, namely three alerions on a red bend. Later, the chief of Lorraine was replaced by a more complex one which gathers the former possessions of the Dukes of Lorraine. The upper row comprises from left to right the arms of the Kingdom of Hungary, the Kingdom of Naples, the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Aragon, while the lower row comprises the Duchy of Anjou, the Duchy of Guelders, the Duchy of Jülich and the County of Bar. The inescutcheon is the coat of arms of Lorraine itself. [31]

The coat of arms displays the motto, which appeared in the end of the 16th century. It was initially "Nul ne s'y frotte" ("no one attacks it"), but it was changed to Latin "Non inultus premor" in 1616. The motto has a similar meaning to the Scottish one, " Nemo me impune lacessit ", usually translated as "No one attacks me with impunity", which also makes reference to the thistle. The coat of arms further displays the Legion of Honour, awarded to the city after the First World War, and the War Crosses 14–18 and 39–45. [31]

See also


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Timeline of Nancy

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Art Nouveau in Strasbourg

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Arc Héré Triumphal arch in Nancy, France

The Arc Héré or Porte Héré is a triumphal arch located in the city of Nancy, France, on the north side of the Place Stanislas. It was designed by Emmanuel Héré de Corny to honor the French king Louis XV and was built between 1752 and 1755. Its architecture is inspired by the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome. The Arc replaced an older royal gate constructed under the rule of Louis XIV; three bas reliefs from the old gate are featured on the Arc.


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Art Nouveau-related links