Considered the most beautiful royal square in Europe and high point of Nancy’s outstanding collection of 18th century monuments, on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the city of Nancy is known all over the world thanks to Place Stanislas. A magnificent example of Classical French architecture, built by Emmanuel Héré, it is surrounded by the wrought-iron worker Jean Lamour’s finely worked railings with gold highlights. The Square’s majestic fountains are by Barthélemy Guibal. Famous buildings surrounding the square include the City Hall, the Theatre-Opera House, the Fine Arts Museum...
Up to the middle of the 17th century the Old Town and the New Town of Nancy were separated by a vast esplanade. Stanislas Leszczynski an exiled king of Poland who had become Duke of Lorraine in 1737, planned to create a square intended to honour and glorify his son-in-law Louis XV of France. The foremost of French royal squares, it sanctifies the royal image but at the same time is the setting for all popular festivities.
Stanislas and his architect Emmanuel Héré chose an ideal site for their project which was opposed to for a long time by Marshal de Belle-Isle, French military commander of the province. The foundation stone of the first building in the square was officially laid in March 1752 and the royal square solemnly inaugurated in November 1755.
At the beginning a bronze statue of Louis XV in the uniform of a roman general, the work of two sculptors Guibal and Cyfflé, decorated the centre of the square. The statue along with surrounding allegorical figures disappeared during the French Revolution and it was only in 1851 that a new statue, this time of Stanislas, was erected in its place.
The magnificent buildings round the square are classical in style. The City Hall takes up the whole of the south side. The facade above the main entrance is decorated with the coats of arms of both Stanislas and the town of Nancy. The present day Grand Hotel and the Opera House stand on the east side.
On the west side we find the Jacquet Pavillion and the Fine Arts Museum which was in Stanislas's time the College of Medicine. On the North side, the buildings were kept lower for defensive purposes (to permit crossfire between the Vaudemont and Haussonville bastions).