You’ll be wandering the streets of the French city described by writer Marcia DeSanctis as “more Paris than Paris” when you visit Nancy in the Lorraine region. Rich with history and filled with dizzying Art Nouveau stretching from buildings to the minutest of details, this northeastern city is just about an hour and a half away from Paris via TGV and is well worth a weekend trip if you’re interested in art. This city is a hidden gem for art lovers wanting to venture out of Paris as there are two museums with extensive collections and not packed full of visitors as one would find at the Louvre or the Orsay, for example. Nancy’s history is intertwined with art as the city was host to the famous school for the art nouveau movement known as the École de Nancy in the early 20th century; you know those sprawling jade metro station signs you see scrawled all over with METROPOLITAIN? Yes, that’s art nouveau. It is not just in the buildings and streets of Nancy where you will encounter Art Nouveau, it is also in the intricate glassware, crystal, metalwork, and furniture prominently displayed at the École de Nancy museum. Easily accessible via the UNESCO heritage site of Place Stanislas is the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, with collections of art sure to surprise and delight (there is a particular room in the museum that feels like stepping into another galaxy if you happen to find it). Finally, make sure to pick up some bergamot candies (bergamotes de Nancy) on your way back as they are a city specialty.
Culture aficionados: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy & Musée de l’École de Nancy
Photo opportunities: Place Stanislas is everything white, gold, and shiny worth a look both in daytime and night.
Eat here: L’Excelsior – this is the place to go for art nouveau dining from floor to ceiling.