Sunday, 11 March 2012

From Avallon to Nancy and Place Stan

Lillian :  Well eventually we had to leave pretty little Avallon and our next port of call was Nancy in Lorraine.
Audrey :  Nancy, Lorraine - both girl's names but the French do not say Nancy like we do. Anyway to get there was something of an adventure which started early in the morning with a big bus ...
Goodbye lovely Avallon
And then we took a train to Paris ... and here we are in the train at Sens

and the country-side going by was very green and pretty ...

Lillian :  We had to change trains and stations in Paris ... all in a hurry but we had time to take a couple of photos behind Gare de l'Est.
This chap has Paris on his Mind ...
Vous êtes ici - you are here
 La pont de la Rue la Fayette

Audrey :  The bridge had a hurt and a very kind person had put big band-aids on the ouchy bit.  Hope the bridge is feeling better now.

Lillian :  After another very fast train ride we were in Nancy.  Our Hotel was just round the corner from the beautiful central square - Place Stanislas; the locals call it Place Stan.  Big & beautiful with lovely buildings all around and everything in very pale limestone.

Audrey : Very pale and in the morning light - very bright.

Lillian : It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is completely car free now - but until 1983 it was a car-park.

Audrey :  Glad that's changed as it is a lovely space used by lots of people and by dogs too ...

Scottie dog exiting Place Stan via the gates on Rue Stanislas

Audrey : Tell us about this Stan person Lillian.
Lillian :  Well, Stanisław I Leszczyński was the King of Poland - but he lost his throne ... not once but twice!
Audrey : Ooo Lady Bracknell moment!  To lose one throne, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two looks like carelessness.  Was Stan a very careless person?
Lillian :  I'm not sure but he was a lucky person because his daughter Maria had married Louis XV of France.
Audrey : Ah - Number 15 was the one who reigned for ages and ages wasn't he?
Lillian :  Yes, 58 years - 1715 to 1774.  Now the Duchy of Lorraine had quite a turbulent history - in 1737 it became part of France (again) and Louis XV gave the Duchy to his father-in-law on the understanding that it would go back to the French crown when Stanislaw (Stanislas in French) died. 
Audrey : I should think that Stan was very happy to go from penniless ex-King (x2) to Duke of a nice place like Lorraine.
Lillian : Guess so - and partly to thank Louis he had this beautiful and grand central square built in front of the existing Hotel de Ville (Town Hall).  In the middle of the square there is a statue of Stanislas - here he is with the Hotel de Ville behind. 

Audrey : Hmmm, he is quite a chubby-chops - and didn't his mummy tell him that it is rude to point!
 Lillian :  Ahh but he is pointing to the Arc de Triomphe (or Arc Héré for the architect) and at the top of the Arc is a portrait of Stan's benefactor - Louis XV - with gilded trumpeting Angel (for Victory), Peace as a lady with an olive branch and a baby.
A Crow finds the gilded Angel a convenient place to perch
Audrey : What do those words say?  "Hostium Terror ..." !
Lillian :  It is Latin but I found a translation here ...  
Terror of the enemies
Instigator of the treaties
Glory and love of his people

Audrey :  We have lots of photos of Place Stan - there are marvelous fountains by Barthélémy Guibal in 2 corners.  Neptune ... 
And notice that his Mer-Horse has those finned feet again - like the ones in Brussels & in Versailles on another fountain with Neptune.
We liked the base of this fountain too ...
Lillian :  These fountains are triptychs - with small ones to either side - here is the one to the left of Neptune - babies and sea dragon on a shell.  I've read somewhere that the top-most baby originally had a crab biting his fingers.

 Audrey : Ouch!  In the other corner the fountain is of Amphitrite, Goddess of the Sea and Neptune's wife.

Lillian : The gilded wrought iron work is quite a feature of Place Stan.  Created by Jean Lamour, there are gorgeous gates with lanterns at all the exits and the gilding shines so pretty in the sun-light.

   Audrey :  The urns of flowers are pretty but our Stylist just loved the lanterns with crowns on top - being held in the beaks of roosters.  
Was Stan, the ex (x2) King of Poland being almost More French than the French?  The initials SL could be Stanisław Leszczyński or Stan & Louis.  
   Audrey : Oh well, I'm not sure there is anything wrong in trying to be like the French - très chic!

I'm in front of the gates at the South-East corner and that is the Prefecture building behind.
Lillian :  The lights in the square were also prettily gilded -
Audrey : And they were a great place for playing hide&seek.
Lillian :  All the buildings round Place Stan are quite lovely and - being all built at roughly the same time and from the same pale stone - they make for a lovely harmonious central square.

The buildings have little sculptures along the tops - urns, empty armour and babies.  Here are some babies in detail -

Audrey :  They are holding onto palm trees so they don't fall off - their wings are really too small to work, well they are only babies!

Lillian : One evening there was dancing in Place Stan, in front of the Hotel de Ville - lots of fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment