It’s all about Nancy this week. We arrived on Friday the 5th of July and today, Sunday the 14th of July, we are still moored at the same spot and enjoying our life. The very centre of the city, one might say, is the Place Stanislas, named after Stanislas Leszczynski, since 1725 father-in-law of king Louis XV and in Nancy & Lorraine recognized as ‘la bienfaisant’ (the benevolent or benefactor). The square was constructed between 1751 and 1755. This entrance is the one we pass when entering or leaving this vibrant square.

A wider view of the square, with Stanislas’ statue in the centre and in the middle-background the building of l’Opéra National de Lorraine.

Stanislas Leszczynski (Stanisław Bogusław Leszczyński (1677-1766), was king Stanislas I of Poland during an initial short period, from 1704-1709. In 1709 he was driven from the Polish throne for the first time. It’s a complicated story overall; we suggest you read Wikipedia if you want to know more about this interesting man. After forced to give up the Polish throne for the second time, in 1736, he received the Duchy of Lorraine and Bar (1737-1766) as a compensation. Possibly this had something to do with his daughter, wife of France’s king. A wild guess, we have to admit…

Seen from the opera building this is the opposite side of the square. Our favorite outdoor café, as you’ll understand. Here we have consumed many a ‘pastis’, as one should in France when being on an outdoor café with the sun shining exuberantly. The building in the middle is the ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’.

The third side of the square, opposite ‘l’Hotel de Ville’ – see the next picture. The Arc Héré is seen in the foreground; Le Palais du Gouverneur in the distance.

The lampposts on the square also are in pristine condition. On the right the town hall (‘Hôtel de Ville’) is visible. It’s façade serves as a big screen for the daily light (and sound) show, which day-in-day-out attracts huge crowds.

The light show that is performed every day during the summer is one not to be missed. Three sides of the square are used, the city hall-, opera- and museum-side, and it’s magic. Making good quality pictures proved to be difficult but we think this one is good enough to be published. We seem to remember that the guy in the middle is King Louis XV, but if it is Stanislas Leszczynski we’re equally happy.

Another one of reasonable quality. Sitting outdoors, as depicted on the 4th picture, during a sultry night, having a slow drink and enjoying the show one feels really privileged.

One of the two most beautiful ornamented gates of the Place Stanislas. This one, ‘La Fontaine Amphitrite’ (Rococo-style) leads to the ‘Parc de la Pépinière’, another feature in Nancy not to be missed.

The ‘Parc de la Pépinière’ is absolutely very pleasing. One can walk in the sun or in the shade, whatever one likes. And buying an ice-cream there is a pleasure in itself!

The rosary, a prominent part at the heart of the park, is a feast for everyone’s eye – and the nose of some of us too. Pink, yellow, red, they’re all there.

After leaving the park on the west side one enters La Ville-Vieille (The Old City). This is a view of the Grande Rue with the outer wall of the Duke’s Palace visible on the right hand side. One wonders whether the street then was as narrow as it is now – the Duke did not enjoy a wide view if it was… He always had his rather spacious inner courtyard anyway, so it was not all that bad.

Just a little street off the Grande Rue. For everyone who is interested we think it is the Rue des États. If we are proved to be wrong it is the one before or after it… (Later on it was pointed out by la capitaine that it is in fact Rue Saint Michel - the one next to the Rue des États. Remark noted!)

The Grande Rue is on the north side rounded off by the ‘Porte de la Craffe’, built in Gothic style in the 14th century. Absolutely picturesque indeed, contrary to the mobile phone, motorbikes and TV aerial…

While walking in the narrow streets of ‘La Ville-Vieille’ some nice details on the old houses come in sight. This one was really too striking not to be photographed. Two horse’s heads serving as doorknobs. Charming! As often seen a message is displayed, saying ‘pas de pub’. In a more regulated, organized, Calvinistic if you like, country there are uniformed stickers for this purpose. In France it is a hundred percent individual ‘design’. To avoid misunderstandings: this phrase has nothing to do with the English pub. Hands off the English pub!

Nancy’s public transport is partly executed by what is called a tram. It differs from the ‘normal’ tram however because it uses only one (guidance) rail and rolls on tires. To describe it as a ‘guided trolley bus’ might be as close to reality as possible. The ‘tram’ has got a steering wheel too and is able to continue without electricity and rail as it is equipped with a diesel-electro engine. It is funny to see the steering wheel move without the driver touching it when the guiding rail is doing the steering job. Introduction took place in 2000 and was not entirely flawless. The initial idea to have a second and third line did not materialize yet.

The miscellaneous part now. Isn’t this charming? One looks with different eyes (pun not intended) to a car that distinguishes itself from the inevitable sameness of cars. Chapeau!

And a second one out of the miscellaneous category. On Saturday the 13th of July we visited a covered food market. Do the French know about food! It was all really mouthwatering. We bought fruit: apricots, cherries and strawberries. Doesn’t it look inviting?? You name it, they’ve got it. Yummy, yummier, yummiest.

Back now to something completely different. Last Wednesday we visited the Musée de l'Ècole de Nancy. It is all about Art Nouveau. The museum is established in a former mansion of a Maecenas by the name of Jean-Baptiste Eugène Corbin. He collected numerous items of Art Nouveau and donated most (all?) of them in 1935 with a view to a future museum. It was this beautiful, elegant, refined and original that we’ll devote a separate weblog-page on this subject coming winter(!), when fewer subjects are available. Promise!

On Sunday it was the 14th of July. 'Quatorze Juillet', the French National Day. Big fire works are to be seen everywhere - in Nancy too, obviously. Making pictures by night is not our forte, but we hope this gives you an impression of what it was.

It was again a lot to look at and to read for you, faithful reader. We can’t help it because most of the time there is a lot to share. As a sign of appreciation this bunch of flowers is especially for you!! Look at it intensely and maybe, maybe, you are able to smell the scent. Thank you for keeping an interest in our adventures. Till next week.