Place Stanislas, a royal square
Place Stanislas is the flagship of the city of Nancy, the capital of the former Duchy of Lorraine.
In the early 1750s, Stanisław Leszczyński, the former king of Poland, entrusted the architect Héré with the creation of the Place Royale to showcase the grandeur and power of his duchy.
The prestigious buildings that frame the square, from the ducal palace to all the dependent institutions, led it to be classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Place Royale’s lavish inauguration
Place Royale, as it was called until 1831, links the medieval city (Vieille-Ville) to the modern city (Ville-Neuve), as it was developed on the esplanade that once delineated them.
Stanislas wanted to impress, and he did!
The square was built in 3 and a half years and inaugurated with great pomp on November 26, 1755.
Stanislas entered Nancy via Porte Saint-Nicholas (one of the square’s monumental gates) in a cortege of seven carriages accompanied by pages on horseback.
Various military regiments paid him the honors before the start of the lavish celebrations.
The only drawback was that the grand finale fireworks were postponed because of the rain.
Classical and baroque architecture
Place Stanislas is a superb illustration of classical architecture.
Rococo and Baroque balconies and various features enhance the classical ordinance of the arched buildings’ floors and facades.
These house the ducal palace, the city hall, Hôtel de la Reine, Jacquet Pavilion, Opera-Theater, bishopric and Museum of Fine Arts founded in the former Academy of Medicine.
Two lower buildings frame the Arc de Triomphe or Arc Héré.
Rococo fountains and grids
Two symmetrical Rococo fountains, representing Neptune and Amphitrite, break with the square’s classical architecture.
Jean Lamour, Stanislas’ locksmith, produced the stunning grids that adorn the six gold leaf gilded wrought-iron gates that earned Nancy the name of Golden Doors City – La Ville aux Portes d’Or.
Their decoration includes Louis XV’s monogram, oak leaves to symbolize strength, a Gallic rooster to represent France and of course the Fleur de Lys, the royal emblem.
Buildings, fountains and grids are classified Historical Monuments.
Place Stanislas post revolution
Duke Stanislas bequeathed the Place Royale to the city of Nancy in 1759.
Came the French Revolution and its share of degradation; the statue of Louis XV, which marked the square’s center, was destroyed.
It was named Place Stanislas in 1831, when a statue of the Duke of Lorraine was placed where Louis XV’s statue once stood.
The many improvements made over the decades, however, transformed the square.
Place Stanislas renovated for its 250th anniversary
A model of the original square, discovered in 2003, allowed the French Historical Monuments to return it to its past glory in just over 2 years.
The mosaic tiles were recreated, the buildings facades restored, the grids re-gilded and the pavements widened.
The inauguration took place on May 19, 2005.
On this occasion, a capsule containing a lunar meteorite and a collection of the thoughts and drawings of the inhabitants of Nancy was buried under the square.
A star marks its place.
Department of Meurthe-et-Moselle in Lorraine
Coordinates: Lat 48.692054 – Long 6.184417