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Nancy, located on the banks of the River Meurthe, in the north east region of France, boasts a traditional, friendly atmosphere, magnificent architecture and scenic countryside that all explain its appeal as a popular tourist destination. There are so many interesting historic attractions both in Nancy and its surroundings that car hire has been suggested as the most convenient way to get around.
The highlight of a visit to Nancy is the old town area. Dominated by the beautiful Cordeliers Church, the old town features a number of historic gates and elegant mansions, as well as the remains of the Duke’s Castle. The church was built in 1487 and is now a brilliant museum as well as a place of worship. Also on the grounds is a Franciscan monastery, founded in 1482. Another popular church is the Gothic revival Saint Epvre Church, dating from the second half of the 19th century.
Two enormous gates mark the entrance to the old town area. The impressive Craffe Gate was built at the end of the 14th century as part of the walls encircling the town. The later Citadelle Gate, modeled on the Craffe Gate, is similarly awesome.
Of the 16th century Duke’s Castle, all that remains is the wing on Grande-Rue and the Porterie (the gateway). Its original mullioned windows, gargoyles, and high sloping roofs now house the Lorraine Museum.
The 18th Century District boasts the Triumphal Arch, Carriere Square, Alliance Square, and the symbolic Stanislas Square, while the New City area attracts visitors with its splendid 18th century Cathedrale and Saint Sebastian Church, and 17th century Notre Dame de Bonsecours.
An interesting, if somewhat expensive, hotel to stay at is the stunning 16th century Haussonville Mansion in the Old Town. It is built of two main parts set at an angle, and contains two charming galleries, one of open stonework in the gothic style, running along the first floor, and the other in the renaissance style along the second.
The town has a number of excellent restaurants, such as; La Primatiale, La Gentilhommiere, Le V-Four, L'Arsenal and A La Table du Bon Roi Stanislasquaint, cafes; Café des artistes, Café du Commerce, Opéra Café and Brasserie Jean Lamour, and many atmospheric bars, a popular one being Bar La Place.
Interesting day trips can be made into the Lorraine region, the scene of some terrible fighting in both ancient and modern times. Explore the valleys of the rivers Meuse and Moselle and visit Joan of Arc’s birthplace of Domrémy-la-Pucelle. Travel on through the rolling, windswept plateau of farmland to the south and discover authentic rural villages and their friendly, open atmosphere.
Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport is the nearest airport with direct links to major world cities. It is approximately a four hours drive by car to Nancy, not the best, but if tourists hire a car this will save them money in the long run. A closer airport, less that 45 minutes away, is Metz Nancy Lorraine Airport, although flights from the UK to here are limited and expensive.
A variety of transportation options are available from Paris to Nancy, including buses, shuttle services and taxis.
Car hire is the most convenient way to see the sights, so book in advance and plan your journey now. If you have sorted airport transfers and wish to collect your hire car when you arrive in Nancy make sure you get directions to the rental depots, otherwise you may find yourself walking the streets for hours.