Fancy in Nancy (France)

Tripoto
28th Sep 2018

Neptune

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

Being posted in this city as an assistant of English language, my tenure ends only at the end of this academic year, i.e. in April 2019. It dawned on me that I would have a good seven months to visit places in this city, as and when I wanted to and hence writing a blog over the span of seven months on one city would be an activity in vain. However, a very dear friend made me realise that despite the new place, I will eventually get weary of it. Its charm will wear thin and thus the novelty. Therefore, making the best of this lazy weekend, I decided to rather capture the memories afresh than looking back and squinting hard at them as they jade away with time.

Day 2
Photo of En vieille ville, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

Home away from home, the city of Nancy is located in the north-eastern part of France, an hour and a half away from Paris. An erstwhile fortified town during the 11th century, Nancy still preserves its old charm in 'Vieille Ville – Léopold' that is connected to the new city by 'Place Stanislas'. The city boasts of a several museums, houses that flaunt a peculiar 'art-deco' architecture, music, festivals, good food, lorraine and its 'viennoiseries' (pastries and a lot more to hold one back.

My first two weeks in Nancy were nothing less than being magical!

Day2

After my arrival, my second day began pretty much at the crack of the dawn. An early appointment at the bank and meeting several professors in the morning kept me on my heels until noon. Jean-Luc, (JL: you may come across his name quite often, as he has been my knight in shining armour in the truest of the sense since my arrival in Nancy) my contact professor, took me for a walk along the downtown post lunch.

My first impression of the city?

Day 3
Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

....St Francisco, baby!!!

Roads winding up and down, trams criss-crossing the city, skate boarders rolling past you, bakeries to the left right and centre! My mind screamed "You have arrived!!! Wohooooo!!!" In a nutshell? If you are someone who looks forward to meeting new people, likes music or just likes to take a stroll amidst colours? This is the city for you! Oh well, a shopper's paradise too and you will know why!

We continued down the same street to reach a mall 'St. Sebastien' and then headed for 'Place Stanislas'. Along the way, JL introduced me to a shop called 'Baccarat' : a French manufacturer of fine crystal. Ehm! Let's just say that the price tags were dazzling as well as the products.

Day 2

Tadaaaaaaa! The gates to heaven!

Photo of Place Stanislas, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

We later walked over to the old city, 'Vieille-Ville'. While absorbing the history and the old architecture, we came across Notre Dame de Nancy. The cross with an extra horizontal stripe, symbolises the region of Lorraine.

Notre-Dame, Nancy

Photo of Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation, Place Monseigneur Ruch, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

After the walk in the old part of the town, we stopped by at a beautiful restaurant called 'Excelsior', very close to 'Gare Nancy' or the main train station of the city for some beer and hot chocolate. This 'brasserie' dons interiors in the French Art Nouveau fashion. Miraculously, it survived the Second World war bombings. Around 1970, in order to construct the train station, the owners of the place negotiated its demolition that met with strong opposition. 'Excelsior' now stands as strong and as vibrant as ever. A must recommended to all those who are hungry for some visual treat. Would rather leave you with pictures than with words!

Photo of Brasserie Excelsior Reims, Place Drouet d'Erlon, Reims, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Brasserie Excelsior Reims, Place Drouet d'Erlon, Reims, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Brasserie Excelsior Reims, Place Drouet d'Erlon, Reims, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Brasserie Excelsior Reims, Place Drouet d'Erlon, Reims, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Brasserie Excelsior Reims, Place Drouet d'Erlon, Reims, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Day 3

Day 3

A day out with JL and his wife, Marie-Noelle

On my third day, we were joined by JL's wife, Marie-Noelle. What could have one asked for if not for a good company!

We headed for 'Place Stan'! It's like a book that teaches you something new, everytime you read it. This time around, we queued up in front of 'Hotel de Ville' located on the periphery of the square. Err... it's not a 'hotel' but the 'town hall' of Nancy. Now you know, you can't rely on the name for a stay. You will find one in every city! Apparently, every Sunday, 'Hotel de Ville' opens up to its visitors. The interiors and the frescoes are something that cannot be missed. An exquisite view of the Stanislas square awaits you if you head for the balcony.

Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

Entry: Free!

Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

Apart from 'Hotel de Ville', the Stanislas square is flanked by a fine arts museum, two cafes and an opera! We decided to take a peek in the opera since the entrance was open. The entry to the opera is adorned by three wooden masks, each reflecting a different emotion.

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

Price: Depends on the place you choose. Ranges from 6 euros to 25 euros

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

Next stop: Parc de la Pepiniaire!

A lush green park equipped with an amphitheater, rides for kids, food stalls, and a musical dome! It is inviting and ideal to spend your Sundays!

Photo of Pépinière Pierrefonds Inc., Boulevard Cote-Vertu Ouest, Saint-Laurent, QC, Canada by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Pépinière Pierrefonds Inc., Boulevard Cote-Vertu Ouest, Saint-Laurent, QC, Canada by Ruchira Karkhanis

Entry: Free!

Photo of Pépinière Pierrefonds Inc., Boulevard Cote-Vertu Ouest, Saint-Laurent, QC, Canada by Ruchira Karkhanis


Food

Fancy in Nancy: Gauffres (waffles)

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

Camembert

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

The bread I like

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

JL's place: Salmon, rice and pumpkin

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

My favourite part in Europe, when it comes to food is the 'boulangerie' or the bakery and I still stand by it. Nothing so far has changed my belief. Nancy being a part of Lorraine has plenty of its own specialities to offer. Some of the 'viennoiseries' (bakery products) that I know and have tried are : Pâté Lorrain, Macarons de Lorraine (very different from the macarons we all commonly know), quiche lorraine, brioche lorraine. A very typical citrus fruit of the region, 'bergamote'. However, the true craze among the people is 'les gauffres', most commonly known as 'waffles'! They were everywhere! My conclusion: people in Nancy just love gauffres! Then ofcourse there was 'fromage' (cheese) and fromage and more fromage! Well believe me, I have tried atleast 5 different types of fromage in the first two days of my stay at JL's place. My favourite one being 'camembert'. I don't remember the names of the others. Though while I update the blog with the names, I clearly recall this red-meat like looking cheese that stunk! It was terrible! However when one tastes it, it bursts into a delectable flavour on one's palate as told to me by Marie-Noelle. My olfactory sense was just strong enough to dissuade me to go further with it. I also had the opportunity to taste some good bread at JL's place. The one above in the photo was my favourite. Ofcourse, now that I have to lead a life à la BPL (Below poverty line), I eat two kinds of bread, the regular slice bread and baguette dur *smirk*.

Where WINE and BEER coulent à flot!

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

Belittling wine and beer by calling them 'drinks' is a criminal offense. They have their own importance and presence in the European gastronomy. Secondly, one cannot consider food and wine together or confuse one for the other. Both are as different as chalk and cheese. The very first question that I was asked while dining at JL's place was "Tu bois?" 'Do you drink?" and without any hesitations, pat came my answer "Oui! bien sur". Honestly, partly the instinct was also to scream, since I noticed a second's apprehension on JL's face after the question. He stared! (Eh...talk about the cultural differences!) My guts screamed out loud "Ouiiiiiii!!!!" (Yes!!!!!). So white wine, champagne, sparkling wine and more wine of some kind...and some more of it... During a weekend, I once went out with Verena, my German friend for a live rock music festival in the city. For starters, I have nothing to do with rock music. Secondly, Verena went 'Tagadagada' to describe the music I like and thirdly the so called wine drinker in me forgot that I was in the company of a true blue German. We started with a sparkling wine at a bar: that was one glass down. Then I thought we would take a break. But no! We went to another bar, Verena had a biiiig glass of beer. Then the third bar, Verena downed two more huge glasses of beer while also keeping her critical mind active commenting on the anti-ecological mindset of the bar since they served beer in plastic glasses. I stared stupidly at her and then went for a glass of ...ehm...water...sparkling water thinking that the barman had served me something else as he served it with a slice of lemon. For a good two minutes, I thought "Oh what the heck!" I am drinking something ('cause in my defense, it cost me a whole of 3 euros 50 cents!!!). I pretended it to be some sort of an ultimate colourless drink (tequila...or gin, you see?). Then Verena came over to the bar and burst my bubble: "It's water"...I had to save my almost non-existant pretentious self-pride that was wearing away much quicker. So I ordered for a Chardonnay! (Not the best of the wines, but I had to repair the damage). The Germans won nonetheless! The night in the 'red corner' was a memorable one with head banging rock music. (Hey! I enjoyed it!!!). We finally headed for La Peniche, that is a house boat, and wound up the evening making new friends. How we got home is another story altogether!

So like they say in France: "Beer costs much cheaper than water".

Here is the list of bars we visited in Nancy:

L'Echanson

Little Delirium Café

Le Red Corner

La Peniche: Niagara

A normal glass of wine/beer at a bar/brasserie/pub will cost you anything between 3 - 5 Euros

Tip: Before getting lost in the ambiance of the place, do check the prices first and then settle down. La Peniche: 'Niagara', charged us a good 8 Euros for a glass of beer! It is expensive by the Frankfurt standards too, where beer is known to be expensive.


The pink sky

Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Fancy in Nancy (France) by Ruchira Karkhanis

While taking an evening walk with a friend, we happened to chance upon some pink sky floating over the city train station or 'Gare Nancy'. As luck would have it, it was as if the city rewarded us with a beautiful weather, a burst of colours in the air and a bewitching performance by a singer who played the street organ as well at Place Stan.


Architecture

Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis
Photo of Station Jean Jaurès, Rue de la République, Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

For those visiting Nancy for a day, this part of the city may be difficult to cover. However, there is a tram that takes you away from the downtown or 'centreville' in the direction of 'Vandoeuvre'. You need to get down at the stop 'Jean Jaurès' and continue in the north-west direction towards 'Rue du Colonel Renard'. Jean-Luc and Marie Noelle were extremely generous enough to walk me down this way. The high property rates of this part of the city are due to its peculiar architecture. Most of the houses in this part of the city were built during the Belle Epoque, that is during the 19th century. Very much like cafe 'Excelsior', these houses are fine examples of art-nouveau architecture, designed with wrought iron, stained-glass and ceramic decor. If you observe carefully, every house will have a name plate etched on one of its forewalls. These infact, are the names of the architects who designed these dwellings during those times. Away from the similar stone constructions in the main town, these art-deco constructions are a real refreshment and a treat to the eyes.

Places to see:

Photo of Nancy, France by Ruchira Karkhanis

Museums: Fine Arts Musuem (4.5 - 7 Euros) http://mban.nancy.fr/fr/informations-pratiques/preparez-votre-visite-au-musee.html, Museum of the school of Nancy (Art Deco) (4-6 Euros) http://www.ecole-de-nancy.com/web/index.php?page=infos-pratiques

Note: Museums are free on the first Sunday of every month.

Place Stanislas, Opera (7 - 25 Euros, depends on the seats you choose), Town Hall (Hotel de Ville), Old City, Notre -Dame, Centre Ville, River side: La Peniche, Parc de la Pepiniere

A toy train ride: 9 Euros to take you around for a guided tour in the city. Meeting point: Place Stanislas, beside the Opera.

Transport

There are two airports close to Nancy:

1.Paris Roissy Charle de Gaule or Paris (Orly) at a distance of approximately 328 kilometres, i.e. 1h30 minutes away in train and 5 hours approximately by road.

2. Strasbourg at a distance of 158 km that takes approxiamtely 40 minutes in train and 1h30 minutes by road.

The city is well connected by a network of SNCF (intercity) trains. The major station being Gare Nancy that is well connected to several cities in France including Strasbourg, Metz and Paris.

To get around in Nancy, most of the places are at a walkable distance. However, trams and buses are the most commonly preferred and used transport.

Bues: A ride cost you around 1Euro30

Trams: A ride cost you around 1Euro30 as well.

You can also print tickets/passes at the tram or bus stations. Tram and bus pass is the same. You may use the same ticket/pass for either. They have machines at every tram/bus stop that are extremely easy to use. You have options to chose from a daily 24 h pass to a weekly pass or even a pass depending on the number of trips i.e. 5, or 10 or 15. I usually don't travel to my work place since I stay in the vicinity, so I prefer printing a 10 journeys ticket that allows me to travel at a very reasonable rate.

Bicycle: Bicycle stands , 'VeloStan', are located at several points in Nancy. The prices vary from 2 Euros to 50 Euros depending on the time you wish to hire the bicycle for. They are very practical and easy to ride in the city since it's equipped with cycle paths.

So to wind up this post, I would like to extend my heart felt gratitude to Jean-Luc and his wife Marie-Noelle, for their unconditional support throughout my stay in Nancy. While I end my excursion of the city here, I shall be soon heading for Côte d’Azur i.e. the French Riviera next week. I have a fairly exhaustive itinerary panned out, so incase you will be interested, I invite you to sail along! Should you have any questions on the city or have any suggestions or comments on this post, please feel free to share the same. See you soon!

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