Nancy, the administrative centre of the Meurthe-et-Moselle département and the capital of Art Nouveau, is historically and architecturally exceptional. Three major periods are represented in the city:
- The Middle Ages in the old town and especially the narrow streets all around the Saint-Epvre basilica and the Craffe gateway;
- The 18th century with its three magnificent squares, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Place Stanislas, Place Carrière and Place Alliance;
- And the 1900s, with the famous artistic movement of the Nancy School represented by a multitude of Art Nouveau buildings, houses and decorative elements, such as the Excelsior brasserie and the Chamber of commerce and industry. Founded in 1901, the Nancy School brought together about 10 artists, including Emile Gallé, Louis Majorelle, Jacques Gruber and Louis Hestaux, to reform the decorative arts by taking nature as inspiration. This artistic movement left its mark on Nancy's decorative elements (wrought iron work, glassware, ceramic, furniture, stained glass etc) and architecture, giving the city a unique character. The museum of the Nancy School houses a collection of prestigious works. The Majorelle villa also has a wonderful example of an Art Nouveau interior.
Beautiful shops, especially confectionery and patisseries, as well as gorgeous cafés decorate the streets of Nancy. Right in the heart of the city, the Pépinière park offers a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere.