Nancy is a moderate-sized city in the Lorraine region of (eastern) France. Nancy is the capital of the French département of Meurthe-et-Moselle, and one of the major economical cities of the Lorraine region. It is also a major French university center, with over 47,000 students and three major universities. Once the industrial and cultural powerhouse of Northeast France, the city boasts a very diverse architectural and cultural heritage. Parts of the historical city centre are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nancy Tourism Office, Place Stanislas, ☎ +33 383 352 241, . 9AM-7PM from April to October, 9AM-6PMfrom November to March. The office is in the southwest corner of place Stanislas, in the city hall building.edit
Metz-Nancy-Lorraine Airport (IATA: ETZ)  is a small regional airport, located about 30km north of Nancy. The airport hosts only regional flights (Lyon, Toulouse, Mediterranean coast). Access to and from the city is provided by road (A31 motorway) or by shuttles (fare 8€).
The Gare de Nancy Ville is the historical railway station. Located in the heart of the city, the station is a major hub for both national (including TGV) and regional trains (TER Métrolor). Major train lines include:
The Gare Lorraine-TGV, opened in 2007, is located 20km north of Nancy. The station is served only by TGV high-speed trains of the TGV Est high-speed line, linking Paris to Strasbourg. Destinations include Bordeaux, Northwest France, Lille, as well as various TGV stations around Paris (such as Charles de Gaulle international airport).
Because of local political feuds, the station was built halfway between Nancy and Metz, in the middle of nowhere. Thus, the station can only be accessed by road (A31 motorway). The station includes a taxi station. Additionally, a shuttle operated by the SNCF connects the station to Gare de Nancy Ville.
For schedules, fares and bookings, see the SNCF website .
Nancy is crossed by the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, which is open to navigation for small boats and péniches. The Port de Nancy Saint-Georges offers dockage to visiting boats. It is conveniently located on the eastern edge of the city centre, 500 meters away from the place Stanislas.
Harbour Master's Office (Capitainerie), Port de Nancy Saint-Georges - Boulevard du 21e Régiment d'Aviation, Nancy (Tramway station Division de Fer), ☎ +33 383 376 370, . edit
Walking is one of the easiest and most pleasant ways to get around. The city centre is very compact, so most places of interest can be easily reached on foot. For example, walking from the railway station to the Porte Sainte-Catherine takes about 20 min. Many streets are pedestrian-only.
The local public transportation system is operated by the Service de transport de l'agglomération Nancéienne, known as STAN. Coverage of the city is decent, but can be found quite wanting compared to other French cities of the same size. It can nonetheless be useful for moving around Greater Nancy, between downtown Nancy and its suburbs.
The city has a single tramway route, which is actually some sort of tramway on tyres. This strange system was built in replacement of the city's ageing trolleybus system, but has been plagued by technical problems since its inception. The tram 's ill fortunes have become a running joke among inhabitants. It is best to avoid it during rush hour, as it tends to be completely overcrowded.
Tramways run from 5AM to 12PM, buses from 6AM to 9PM. Service is dismal during Sundays and holydays.
On buses, you can buy tickets (1.50 €) directly from the driver, but if you take the tram, you'll need to use the vending machines at each stop. Be sure to have change with you, as these machines do not accept bank notes. The only credit cards accepted are European-style ones with a chip.
Tickets are valid for one hour. If you'll be moving around Greater Nancy a lot, you might consider purchasing a "Pass 10" (9.00 €) or a "Pass Découverte 24h" (3.30 €). The latter one is valid for an unlimited number of trips during 24 hours.
There are two STAN offices in the city, where you can find maps and timetables, purchase tickets or ask information about the network.
Espace Transport (Gare de Nancy-Ville), Place de la République (Within the main railway station, near the exit 'République'), ☎ +33 383 300 808. edit
Agence STAN, 3, rue du Docteur Schmitt (near the marketplace), ☎ +33 383 300 808. edit
There are about 130 km of safe bike routes in the Greater nancy area . Cycling can be an excellent way to get around during spring and summer (much less in winter).
The city has a bike rental system called VélOstan, offering both short- and long-term bike rental.
The short-term service is called VélOstan'lib and is quite similar to those found in other French cities. Users can to pick up, and drop cycles to and from over 25 points around the city. You need a credit card (Visa/MC/French CB) to make use of the service. It is very cheap:
1-day ticket: €1, then free for the first 30 min of each ride, €1 for 30 to 60 min, then €2 every 30 min.
7-day ticket: €2, then same fares as the 1-day ticket.
30 min is generally more than enough if you stay close to the city centre.
As of 2012, there are very few stations outside the city centre. Be careful not to go too far, as you may not find any station to return your bike to and then be overcharged. There are, however, plans to cover the whole Greater Nancy area in the coming years.
The long-term rental service is called VélOstan'boutic. Users can rent bikes and accessories for up to one year. Price range from 2€ for half a day, to 80 € for a whole year. Reduction may apply in certain cases.
There are 5 shops around the city, including one in the main railway station (exit Place Thiers).
If you stay long enough to need your own bike, you can find cheap used bikes at the Atelier Dynamo, a small collective workshop. Membership can be as low as 15€/year (for students), useable bikes can be found for 25€ or more.
The streets of the city are narrow and not adapted to mass traffic. The local autorities are actively discouraging the use of cars in the historical centre, and have set up many pedestrian-only streets as well a labyrinth of one-way streets. Surface parking is rare and expensive. Avoid driving within the city if you can.
There are several underground car parks in the centre , as well as three park and ride car parks on the outskirts of the city. The latter are managed by STAN (see public transportation section for more info).
The fares are fixed by the authorities and can vary depending on your destination or the time of the day. Minimum fare is 6.20€ (as of January 2011). Taxis cannot be hailed on the street; you need to go to a taxi station or to call for one.
The major taxi companies are:
Taxis de Nancy (Association Artisanale des Taxis de l'Agglomération Nancéienne), ☎ +33 383 376 537, . edit
The Porte de la Craffe gate, in the Ville vieille.
Place Stanislas, the town square has a Stanislas statue pointing to the north and fountains and wrought iron gates in the two northern corners. It was built by Stanislas, Duke of Lorraine and former King of Poland, in the 18th century. The surrounding buildings are all in a single, classic style, adding to the grandeur of the square.
The Tourism Office, where you can pick up handy maps and other information, is in a building on the southern side of Place Stanislas (facing the statue's back).
The Old City, including the St-Epvre basilique and square with many cafés and restaurants (Place St-Epvre)
La Porte de la Craffe, Grand Rue. 14th century gate at the edge of the Vieille Ville, with two towers giving it the look of a fairy-tale castle.
Place de la Carriere and Place d'Alliance together with Place Stanislas are a single entry on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Place de la Carriere is a tree-lined square with notable buildings around it. Place d'Alliance has a central fountain, modelled after those in Piazza Navona in Rome.
Arc de Triomphe, also known as the Arc Here after its architect, is located along the northern side of the Place Stanislas, leading to the Place de la Carriere. It was built at the same time as the Place Stanislas, in honor of King Louis XV.
Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) 3, place Stanislas 6 €, 4 € for reduced price for students.
Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy, 36-38, rue du Sergent Blandan (consider hopping on bus 134-135 if you are feeling particularly lazy). Art-nouveau Nancy school of architecture. 4.60 € (2.30 € reduced).
Musée Historique Lorrain (Museum of Lorraine History), 64, Grand Rue. 03 83 32 18 74. Closed on Mondays. Generally open from 10:00 to 18:00, reduced hours inthe winter. History of the Lorraine region. (You might also want to check out the neighboring Musée des Arts et Traditions populaires.) 3.10 € (2.30 € reduced).
Note: The above mentioned museums offer a free entry on first Sunday of every month. It is not possible to obtain the audio guides during the free visits.
Parc de la Pépinière - A 50 acre square park in the heart of the city. It was once used as a garden to grow trees for other parks/green areas in Nancy and the region. Now it is a pleasant and relaxing setting. There is a small zoo, a couple of bars and a children's puppet theatre. The open-air Auditorum hosts free concerts during summer evenings. Main entrances are located place Stanislas and place de la Carrière.
Parc Sainte-Marie, (Access : 38bis avenue du Maréchal Juin, rue Dupont des Loges, avenue Boffrand. Take bus 134-135 and stop at Dupont des Loges). A nice park, southwest of the city centre. Tends to be less crowded than the Pépinière during summer. Includes an Alsatian-style house.Free. edit
Jardin Botanique du Montet, 100, rue du Jardin Botanique 54600 VILLERS-LÈS-NANCY (Take bus 134-135 direction ''Lycée Stanislas until the end of the bus line''), . Open everyday 2PM-5PM and also 10AM-12AM during weekdays. Glasshouses are open 2PM-4:45PM daily. A 70-acre botanical garden, one of the most beautiful of the country. Located in the western outskirts of town.Access to the park is free, entrance for the glasshouses is 4€. edit
Parc de la Cure d'Air - A small park, located on a hill northwest of the city centre. The park itself is not very interesting, however there is a great view over the whole city.
Les jardins d'eau - A pleasant promenade along the canal. Near the marina.
Opera National de Lorraine, 1 rue Sainte-Catherine (main entrance is place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383 853 060, . Price range from 7€ to 59€. edit The opera house is located in one of the eastern pavillons of place Stanislas. It hosts most of the city's opera shows. Early booking is strongly recommended.
Salle Poirel, 3 rue Victor Poirel, ☎ +33 383 323 125, . edit A medium-sized hall for classical music shows as well as popular music concerts.
C.C.N. Ballet de Lorraine, 3 rue Henri Bazin, ☎ +33 383 856 901, . edit
Zénith de Nancy, Rue du Zénith – 54320 MAXEVILLE, . editA 25,000-seat zenith in open air, for large popular music concerts or sport events. Located on the northern outskirts of the city.
L'Autre Canal, 45, Boulevard d'Austrasie, ☎ +33 383 323 125, . edit A small hall dedicated to modern music : rock, electronic, R&B...
AS Nancy Lorraine (ASNL), Stade Marcel Picot - 90 Boulevard Jean-Jaurès - 54510 Tomblaine (Tramway station Gérard Barrois), . edit The local football (soccer) team has been playing in the Ligue 1 championship for many years. While it has never won the first division championship, it has steadily maintained itself among the French profesionnal-level leagues throughout its existence. One of the club's most famous players is former French international Michel Platini. The ASNL plays in the Stade Marcel Picot (20,000 seats).
SLUC Nancy Basket, Palais des sports Jean-Weille, . edit The local basketball team is one of the major clubs in the country. It won the French championship in 2008 and 2011.
Greater Nancy swimming pools There are 9 swimming pols in the greater Nancy area.
Nancy is a major French university center. With over 47,000 students, it is among the 10 largest in the country.
The city has many universities and research centers, including the prestigious enginnering college Ecole des Mines de Nancy. Traditional strong points include law, medecine, computer science, mathematics and material sciences/metallurgy.
The presence of so many students gives the city a very vibrant atmosphere. It is a nice place for spending a student exchange program (such as ERASMUS) or a post-doc.
Université Henri Poincaré (Nancy 1)
Université de Nancy 2
Institut national polytechnique de Lorraine (INPL) avec différentes écoles (EEIGM, Ensaia, Ensem, ENSG, ENSGSI, Ensic, ENSMN)
École nationale supérieure d'arts (ENSA)
École nationale supérieure des mines de Nancy (ENSMN)
Institut commercial de Nancy (ICN Nancy)
Franco-allemand premier cycle of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences-Po)
The most obvious place to get a bite is the rue des Marechaux, also named rue Gourmande by locals. This little street is lined with restaurants of all kinds. You'll find various French (surprise!), Chinese, Cuban and late-night snacks of varying quality.
Small bakeries and delis can be found throughout the city. Kebab shops and oriental restaurants are numerous around Saint Nicolas street.
At the covered market on Rue St. Dizier you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, a couple of butchers, a triperie, and one stand that sells fresh fish (and a pretty nice selection; you can even get Octopus!), plus a couple of small restaurants.
Le 27 Gambetta, 27, rue Gambetta (just off to the west of Place Stanislas), ☎ +33 03 83 35 81 33, . Ultra-fashionable restauarnt with seasonally changing menu. edit
Café Foy, Place Stanislas. A restaurant right on the square itself, with outside seating on the square or inside sitting on two levels. Brilliant location, great food, although a bit on the pricey side.edit
La Petite Cuillere, 123 Grande Rue, ☎ +33 383 36 4316, . A somewhat quirky restaurant with "traditional" french fare. Friendly staff who speak English, brilliant presentation and absolutely brilliant food. 3 course set menu at €24, 2 courses for €20. edit
Le petit Cuny, 93-95 Grande rue, 54000 Nancy, ☎ 03 83 32 85 94. A delicious winstub-like restaurant with local specialities, including the delicious "ardoise de fromages". Just next door, the bar "Le Lez'art" belongs to the same owner and serves delicious buffets on sundays.edit
Brasserie L'Excelsior, 50, rue Henri-Poincaré, . A grand old restaurant, close to the train station, should be visited just for the interior decorations alone. Traditional French bistro cuisine. Good food, though on the pricey side with 3 course meal for €30. Excellent wine list, and restaurant well known for its specialities such as its veal steak.edit
Chez Tanesy - Le Gastrolâtre, 23, Grande Rue, ☎ +33 383 355 194. Closed Sundays & Mondays. A tiny gastronomical restaurant run by semi-retired, former 1 Michelin star, chef Patrick Tanésy. Sometimes a bit grumpy, the chef is nonetheless a great cook. Traditional French and Provencal cuisine. Excellent wine list. His olive-flavored chocolate dessert is a must-try.Around 40€ for a full-course menu. edit
A la Table du Bon Roi Stanislas, 7, rue Gustave Simon (behind place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383 352 652, . Closed Mon. noon, Wed. noon and Sun. evening. A small quality restaurant. Traditional Lorraine and Polish cuisine. The menus are directly inspired by food served at the court of King Stanislas.20€ for a three-course lunch, 40€ for a full-course dinner. edit
Nancy has its fair share of Irish pubs, wine bars, cafes, and other drinking establishments. The night life is quite active, due to the presence of many students. However, things tend to be more subdued during the summer holidays. Major nightlife spots are in the Ville vieille and near place Stanislas.
In case you need more than just drinks and are looking for a seedier kind of nightlife, you can find it around the rue Mouilleron (west of the railway station), near the Chat Noir night club (see below).
Château de Rémicourt Hostel (Nancy's only IYHF hostel), 149 Rue de Vandoeuvre, 54600 Villers les Nancy (tram 1 or bus 122, 126, 134, 135), ☎ +33 383 277 367 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +33 383414135), . €14.70, breakfast included. edit
Camping de Nancy-Brabois, Camping Le Brabois - 54600 VILLERS LES NANCY (From motorway A33 taxe exit 2B then follow the signs ; from Nancy centre follow the signs pointing to ''Technopôle de Brabois''), ☎ +33 383 271 828, . edit
Hotel Akena, ☎ +33 383 28 12 03. cheap, clean, don't expect any charmedit
Le Stanislas, 22, Rue Sainte Catherine (just east of Place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383372388, . Hotel very near the main city attractions, small but quiet room. Don't expect "charm". €50-55 double room (2008). edit
Hotel de Guise, 18, rue de Guise, . A 2 star hotel, in the old town, close to major attractions. Used to be an old mansion, currently under refurbishment. Great rooms, filled with antique furniture, paintings and rugs.edit
Hôtel Des Prélats, 56, pl. Mgr-Ruch (Almost part of the cathedral south east of Place Stanislas), ☎ +33 383 302 020, . Very nice looking mid-upper range 3 star hotel in the center of town.Around €120 a double (2008). edit
L'Hôtel de la Reine, place Stanislas, ☎ +33 383 35 03 01, . A 4 star hotel, in the old town, close to major attractions.edit
Nancy is a relatively quiet town, but usual advice applies.
Most of the upper northern neighbourhoods, known as "Plateau de Haye", as well as the commune of Vandoeuvre, have the reputation to be sensitive areas. As there is little of interest for tourists there, it is probably better to avoid these areas altogether.
When talking to locals, do not make unflattering comparisons of Nancy viz. the neighboring city of Metz. The two cities have been political rivals for many centuries. Both are vying for the title of capital of Lorraine. This causes sometimes some crispations. To give you just an example, in 1970, the administrative seat of the Lorraine region was transfered from Nancy to Metz. It caused a small scandal back then, and some people are still bitter about it today.