In my trip planning for my visit to Nancy, I realized I have overlooked something significant. I’ve covered where to stay, what to see, and where to eat. Check, check, and check. But I haven’t covered where to shop. I’m going to remedy the oversight. I’m not interested in any of the chain stores. I’m interested in what’s special or unique in Nancy.
Lefèvre-Lemoine (47 rue Henri Poincaré) This isn’t your traditional sweetshop. It has been in operation since the 1840s and a little bird welcomes you when you enter. The most famous bonbon they make is the Bergamotes de Nancy, a translucent square made of a bitter citrus fruit. The first mention of it dates back to Stanislas Lesczynski who was said to be very fond of this candy. After the Expo of 1909 in Nancy, the popularity of the candies spread far and wide. The candies made a cameo appearance in the hit film Amélie. A young man stored his treasures in one of the highly decorated tins that Amélie later found. Will I become as enamored of the Bergamote de Nancy as tourists have for over a century? Time will tell. But if I don’t, they also sell gingerbread, nougat, glazed mirabelle plums, and caramels.
Maison des Sœurs Macarons (21 rue Gambetta) After the French Revolution, the church lost all financial support from the government and lost land and income. The Benedictine nuns of Nancy didn’t get mad, they got baking. They whipped up a biscuit from egg whites, sugar, and almonds and the recipe has remained unchanged ever since. Unlike other macarons, however, there is no filling. I’ll try one, but I must confess that they aren’t my favorite sweet.
Baccarat (2 rue des Dominicains) Baccarat crystal is not actually from Nancy, but from the nearby town from which the exquisite crystal took its name. It has been in existence since the middle of the 18th century. We’ve just bought a new home, so maybe I should pick up one of their spectacular crystal chandeliers? Well, it’ll be rather bulky to cart around with me all summer, so maybe a bud vase would be a better choice.
Daum (14 place Stanislas) Daum crystal has been unbreakably associated with the art nouveau movement from the time they made their first piece in 1878. In contrast to the formality of Baccarat, Daum crystal is usually colored and formed in nature-inspired patterns. Daum pieces are made of ground glass that is poured into a mold and then fused in a kiln. The style is known as pâte de verre (pat duh vair), or glass paste; it was invented by the Egyptians but renewed by Daum two millennia later. This would be the perfect keepsake of a trip to Nancy.