Welcome back to Ask a Local, a series of posts in which I interview locals all over the world about what to see, where to go, what to eat, and how to fit in in their city or town.
Today, we’ll hear from Gaetan Mangin, a sociology student in Nancy, France, the town known as “little Paris,” in an interview from France: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In.
I am from Belfort but have lived in Nancy for four years now while earning my sociology degree. One of my passions is martial arts, but when I’m not studying in Nancy’s various lib-raries or practicing, I also like going to bars with my friends.
What to do in Nancy (the Basics)
Nancy is known as “little Paris,” as it is like the capital but smaller, less expensive, and more pleasant. I am totally in love with its architecture, especially of the houses in the Saurupt neighborhood!
First-time visitors should definitely check out Place Stanislas (an expansive and impressive square) and Place Henri Mengin (a pretty square full of cafes and terraces). You should also make time to try some of the specialties of the region, especially pâté lorrain (a pork-filled savory pie). And after filling up on regional goodies, I recommend a visit to our magnificent park: Le Parc de La Pépinière.
Hidden Gems for Seasoned Travelers
Travelers looking for hidden gems will enjoy Villa Majorelle, an architectural jewel that they call “a house built for an artist by an artist.” Make sure to explore both the interior and exterior.
Another gem is the Musée de l’École de Nancy, a pioneering art nouveau museum in town.
Finally, visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts). On the ground floor, you’ll find the old city fortifications!
Where to Stay
I particularly enjoy the city center, which provides access to all the shops as well as many nice buildings. Public transport will get you everywhere easily, though, and every stroll through the streets of Nancy is something special, so really anywhere is fine.
The Vosges Mountains are nearby and are wonderful for hiking in summer and skiing in winter.
Where to Walk
One particularly pleasant place to walk in town is Parc Sainte Marie—a sprawling 7.5-acre park in the southwestern part of town. If you want to get out of the city, the vast state forest Forêt Domaniale de Haye is nearby.
What to Eat & Drink
Without a doubt, the local specialty is the pâté lorrain. It’s a delight. The local area is also known for its plums, so have a plum jam or pie while you’re here. And as for drinks, we have excellent beers. I particularly recommend La Noiraude.
Where to Eat & Drink (Favorite Restaurants & Bars)
The best Nancy restaurant is definitely Marianne (30 Rue Hen-ner; phone: +33 3 83 40 23 77). This place is the opposite of a tourist trap (and there are plenty of those around). Here, you’ll find simple French food made with local ingredients and prepared according to local tradition—and all at a great price (about €20 for entrée and dessert). Everything is homemade.
As for places to grab a drink, I recommend Ambassy Pub (63 Rue Stanislas). It’s a bar with a super relaxed atmosphere (think armchairs). And if you want to drink something on a great terrace, I like Barnabas (21 Place Henri Mengin).
The best burger Nancy is at Barami (100 Grande Rue). It’s open weekdays for lunch and Saturday night for dinner and a hamburger costs just €10.80 (plus €2 if you want a beer). And museums are free every first Sunday of the month!
Best Places to Take a Photo
Place Saint-Epvre in the old town is a beautiful area worth visiting and photographing.
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