Friday, 16 November 2012

Nancy - mostly Gargoyles

Audrey:  We do like gargoyles, they are such fun and we found lots of fabulous 'goyles in Nancy, on the Basilique Saint-Epvre and, just around the corner, on Le Palais Ducal (it now houses the Musee Lorrain, which we showed you in a previous Post).

LillianSt-Epvre is a minor basilica (not a full Cathedral) in the Gothic Revival Style, the architect was Prosper Morey and building was started in 1864.  When we saw it in the spring of 2011 the building was being renovated and we did not see the interior.

Audrey:  The renovated parts were almost white - like a lot of buildings in Nancy.

Lillian:  Yes, this is Euville stone - a limestone famed for its whiteness - the Opéra Garnier in Paris is of the same stone.  Unfortunately it does need cleaning frequently - pollution makes it go grey.

 Audrey: Before we look at all the Gargoyles, lets see that tympanum in detail -

What is the story with the 4 winged ones Lillian?

Lillian: They represent the 4 Evangelists; the angel is St Matthew, the eagle is St John, the bull or ox is St Luke and the lion is St Mark.

Audrey:   Ahah - because there are statues of these winged ones out the front of the Basilica.  I really liked the cow,  but I am glad that cows can't really fly!

 Lillian:  Ummm  time for some gargoyles I think.



Audrey :  That one is a bit of a goat!

and this one has the body of a wallaby or kangaroo.  An Aussie gargoyle in Nancy, France!   How wonderful!


Here is a lady having a Very Bad Hair Day!

This guy is not being very nice to his dog!  And you would think he'd be nicer to his doggy seeing as he seems to be a bit of a dog himself!



Dear me, even the King is having a terrible time!  

 Audrey : We also found a lion round the side of the Basilique Saint-Epvre - I like lions and this one was quite friendly.

Lillian: We walked all round St-Epvre and up & down some lovely gothic stairs - keeping a good look out for more lions; as not all lions are friendly! 

 Lillian:  Although the current Basilique dates only from the mid-1800s there had been a church there since 1080 and the square - the Place et Basilique Saint-Epvre was the major market place in Nancy until the end on the 19th C.  There is a fountain and statue of Duke René II in the square - these days it is rather dwarfed by the surrounding buildings and all the cars.

Audrey:  What have we found out about René No: 2?  he is often depicted like this - flourishing a sword aloft like a toothpick in need of a cocktail onion.

Lillian:  Oh Audrey!   Duke René II of Lorraine, he defeated Charles the bold, Duke of Burgundy, at the Battle of Nancy in 1477.

Audrey:  He was also Duke of Bar, Duke of Calabria, Count of Harcourt, Count of Guise, King of Naples & Jerusalem.  Quite a busy person!

Lillian:  Just around the corner, on the Grande Rue is the le palais Ducal - the Duke's Palace

Audrey:  Sorry to interrupt but - Grande Rue / Great or Big Street ... that is something of a misnomer!   It is really narrow, not straight and quite marvelous - we have a photo taken about mid-way looking back at the bell tower of the Basilique Saint-Epvre.

Audrey:  Back to the Duke's Palace - this fabulousness is over the main doorway.  Another statue of a man on a horse, is this Duke René II again?

Lillian:  No, although the palace was originally built for René II, that statue is of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine (1489-1544).  He was a son of Rene and was known as Antoine the Good.

Audrey:  Tee hee, was there also an Antoine the Bad?!
His horsey is getting its tummy tickled by a thistle - the thistle is one of the heraldic symbols of Lorraine.   These babies have more heraldry ...

Lillian:  Let's see -
there are lots of fleur-de-lis, the "Crusader's Cross" for Jerusalem, twinned fish for the Duchy of Bar & three flying eagles in the middle.

 Most of the facade of the Palace dates from about 1520, late gothic but it was heavily restored in 1871 and the supervising architect was Prosper Morey - who designed St-Epvre.

Audrey:  The roof has really pretty lacework along the top ...

and there are really massive Gargoyles, many animal based.

a furry bear gargoyle

pig gargoyle

though the pig's paws are not trotters
Panther Gargoyle - with a brave pigeon

Griffon 'goyle
Audrey :  And a man with a bad hang-over.   Originally gargoyles were rain-spouts; meant to send rainwater as far from the walls of the building as possible.   So the original of this gargoyle would once have vomited water all over the people walking down the Grande Rue! 

Lillian :  We'll leave this post with a funny little monk that we found on the wall of the Ducal Palace.

Audrey : What will we show people in our next post Lillian?
Lillian :  Perhaps we'll go to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nancy, lots of wonderful glassware there.

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