The Basilica Saint-Epvre is the large church next to the vélOstan’lib bicycle station # 7 in Nancy. I took this photo from my table at a sidewalk café across the street.
Since I had never heard of Saint-Epvre before, I later looked him up and found that he was the seventh bishop of Toul (a town on the Moselle River some 20 km west of Nancy) and served in this position from the year 500 until his death in 507. He seems to be a good example of a regional saint, because here in the Lorraine region there are some forty churches dedicated to him (or sixty, depending on which website you believe), but hardly any in the rest of the world.
If the name Epvre looks like it might be difficult to pronounce, don’t worry, it is, even for the Lorrains and Lorraines, who are accustomed to vocal acrobatics. Saying the three consonants p, v and r together is a challenge, but it seems to me that the the p sounds more like a b, as the locals say it. I imagine that people who pray to Saint-Epvre might prefer to do so silently, rather than make fools of themselves by messing up the pronunciation.
Visitors to Nancy often find themselves trying to say the name ‘Saint-Epvre’, not only to ask the way to the Basilica but also because there is a traditional kind of local cake called the Pâtisserie Saint‑Epvre, which has been made at a nearby pastry shop (with interruptions) since 1882. The exact recipe is a secret, but the ingredients include almond meringue, vanilla cream and crushed nougatine. I’ve never tried the Pâtisserie Saint‑Epvre (because French pastries in general tend to be too sweet for my taste), but will try one on my next visit to Nancy just because of the name.
My photos in this post are from 2015. I revised the text in 2022.
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