Designated as the French people’s favorite monument in the France 3 TV show, Stanislas Square in Nancy has evolved throughout French history.
Emblematic of the heritage of Lorraine, Stanislas Square in Nancy has been elected “favorite monument of the French” in the program of Stéphane Bern broadcast on France 3 Wednesday, September 15, 2021. It succeeds the Citadel of Belfort.
“It is a place of meetings, social link, in the daily life of Nancy residents,” explained Mathieu Klein, mayor of the city, in a video published by the city of Nancy.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The ensemble comprising Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière and Place dalliance was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 1983.
The gates and fountains of the Place Stanislas were classified as a historic monument in July 1886.
Another less official distinction but beneficial to the growth of tourism in the city, the Lonely Planet ranked in the mid-2010s the Place Stanislas in its top of the most beautiful places in the world.
Why is it called “Place Stanislas”?
This square, located in the heart of the historic city center and built between 1751 and 1755, has not always been so named. Initially named “place entre Les Deux Villes”, then “place Royale” in 1792, it was christened “place du Peuple” in 1792 before finally taking the name “place Stanislas” in 1831.
It is named after Stanislas Leszczynski (1677-1766). King of Poland, he was the father-in-law of Louis XV, Duke of Lorraine and Bar. The sovereign wanted to make this place a place of gathering, meeting, and entertainment. Mission successful.
A statue of Louis XV was initially enthroned on the Place Stanislas
Stanislaus Leszczynski’s project was to build a new square to honor his son-in-law, King Louis XV. A statue of the sovereign was therefore erected on the square. Made of bronze, it weighed 7500 kilos and was 4.66 meters high.
Destroyed during the French Revolution because of a decree obliging municipalities to remove the emblems of royalty, it is now replaced by a statue of Stanislas.
The square was a parking lot until 2005
The Stanislas square was a huge parking lot until 1983 when parking was prohibited.
In 2005, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the inauguration of the square, work was carried out to pedestrianize the square.
A time capsule is buried under the Place Stanislas
Located a few meters from the statue of Stanislas, the time capsule contains the “Book under the square” which is a “large volume containing the thoughts, maxims, and drawings of the people of Nancy, collected over several months”, detailed L’Est Républicain in an article published in 2020. A lunar meteorite offered by Etienne Deloule, a researcher at the Nancy laboratory CRPG, as well as a copy of the day the capsule was buried – April 15, 2005 – from L’Est Républicain is also present in this lead box.
Buried on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the site, the capsule may be unearthed by future generations if Place Stanislas undergoes a major renovation.