Nancy - Encyclopedia

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NANCY, a town of north-eastern France, the capital formerly of the province of Lorraine, and now of the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, 219 m. E. of Paris on the railway to Strass burg. Pop. (1906), town, 98,302; commune (including troops), 110,570. Nancy is situated on the left bank of the Meurthe 6 m. above its junction with the Moselle and on the MarneRhine canal. The railway from Paris to Strassburg skirts the city on the south-west side; other railways - to Metz, to Epinal by Mirecourt, to Château Salins - join the main line near Nancy, and make it an important junction. The town consists of two portions - the Ville-Vieille in the north-west between the Cours Leopold and the Pepiniere gardens, with narrow and winding streets, and the Ville-Neuve in the south-east with wide straight streets, allowing views of the hills around the city. Between the two lies. the Place Stanislas, a square worthy of a capital city: in the centre stands the statue of Stanislas Leczinski, ruler of Lorraine, and on all sides rise imposing buildings in the 18thcentury style - the town hall, episcopal palace, theatre, &c. A fine triumphal arch erected by Stanislas in honour of Louis XV. leads from the Place Stanislas to the Place Carriere, which forms a beautiful tree-planted promenade, containing at its further end the government palace (1760) now the residence of the general commanding the XX. army corps, and adjoins the so-called Pepiniere (nursery) established by Stanislas. Other open spaces in the city are the Place d'Alliance (formed by Stanislas, with a fountain in memory of the alliance between Louis XV. and Maria Theresa in 1756), the Place de 1'Academie, the Place St Epvre with a statue of Duke Rene II., the Place Dombasle and the Place de Thiers, the two latter embellished with the statues of Mathieu Dombasle, the agriculturist, and Adolphe Thiers. The cathedral in the VilleNeuve, built in the 18th century, has a wide façade flanked by two dome-surmounted towers, and a somewhat frigid and sombre interior. Of particular interest is the church of the Cordeliers, in the old town, built by Rene II. about 1482 to commemorate his victory over Charles the Bold. Pillaged during the Revolution period, but restored to religious uses in 1825, it contains the tombs of Antony of Vaudemont and his wife Marie d'Harcourt, Philippe of Gueldres, second wife of Rene II., Henry III., count of Vaudemont, and Isabella of Lorraine his wife, Rene II. (a curious monument raised by his widow in 1515) and Cardinal de Vaudemont (d. 1587). Here also is a chapel built at the beginning of the 17th century to receive the tombs of the princes of the house of Lorraine. The church of St Epvre, rebuilt between 1864 and 1874 on the site of an old church of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, has a fine spire and belfry and good stained glass windows. Bonsecours Church, at the end of the St Pierre Faubourg, contains the mausoleums of Stanislas (by whom it was built) and his wife Catherine, and the heart of their daughter Marie, queen of France, as well as the statue of NotreDame de Bonsecours, the object of a well-known pilgrimage. Of the old ducal palace, begun in the 15th century by Duke Raoul and completed by Rene II., there remains but a single wing, partly rebuilt after a fire in 1871. The entrance to this wing, which contains the archaeological museum of Lorraine, is a beautiful specimen of the late Gothic of the beginning of the 16th century. One of the greatest treasures of the collection is the tapestry found in the tent of Charles the Bold after the battle of Nancy. Of the old gates of Nancy the most ancient and remarkable is the Porte de la Craffe (1463). The town hall contains a museum of painting and sculpture, and there is a rich municipal library. A monument to President Carnot, and statues of Jacques Callot, the engraver, and of General Drouot, both natives of Nancy, and of Claude Gellee stand in various parts of the town.

Nancy is the seat of a bishop, a prefect, a court of appeal and a court of assizes, headquarters of the XX. army corps, and centre of an academic (educational division) with a university comprising faculties of law, medicine, science and letters, and a higher school of pharmacy. There are also tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, lycees and training colleges for both sexes, a higher ecclesiastical seminary, a school of agriculture, the national school of forestry, a higher school of commerce, a technical school (ecole professionnelle), a school of arts and crafts (ecole preparatoire des arts et métiers), a chamber of commerce and a branch of the Bank of France. The industries of Nancy include printing, brewing, cottonand wool-spinning and the weaving of cotton and woollen goods, and the manufacture of tobacco (by the State), of boots and shoes, straw hats, pottery, casks, embroidery, machinery, engineering material, farm implements and iron goods.

At the close of the izth century Odelric of Nancy, brother of Gerard of Alsace, possessed at Nancy a castle which enabled him to defy the united assaults of the bishops of Metz and Treves and the count of Bar. In the 12th century the town was surrounded with walls, and became the capital of the dukes of Lorraine; but its real importance dates from the 15th century, when on the 5th of January 1477 Charles the Bold was defeated by Rene II. and perished at its gates.' Enlarged, embellished and admirably refortified by Charles III., it was taken by the French in 1633 (Louis XIII. and Richelieu being present at the siege). After the peace of Ryswick in 1697 it was restored and Duke Leopold set himself to repair the disasters of the past. He founded academies, established manufactures and set about the construction of the new town. But it was reserved for Stanislas Leczinski, to whom Lorraine and Bar were assigned in 1736, to carry out the plans of improvement in a style which made Nancy one of the palatial cities of Europe, and rendered himself the most popular as he was the last of the dukes of Lorraine. The city, which became French in 1766, was occupied by the allies in 1814 and 1815, and put to ransom by the Prussians in 1870. After the Franco-German war the population was greatly increased by the immigration of Alsatians and of people from Metz and its district.

See C. Pfister, Histoire de Nancy (Paris and Nancy, 1902); J. Cayon, Histoire physique, civile, morale et politique de Nancy (Nancy, 1846).

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