The neo-classical Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) occupies the entire south side of Place Stanislas in Nancy.
In the exact mid-point of the square is the statue of Stanislas himself, facing north. The statue, dated 1831, is dedicated to “Stanislas, the benefactor” from “the thankful Lorraine”.
On the other side of the statue, the inscription reads: “Stanislas Leszczynski, King of Poland, Duke of Lorraine and of Bar, 1737-1766.”
The years 1737 to 1766 give the impression that he had a short life, but these are actually just the last 29 (not quite) years of his life when he was the Duke of Lorraine and of Bar. He was born long before that, in 1677, so he lived for 88 years until his death in 1766.
For most of his life Stanislas seems to have considered himself the legitimate King of Poland, but he only actually held that position for less than five years, from 1704 to 1709, and then only as a puppet ruler installed by the King of Sweden. Still, his brief interlude on the throne qualified him as being ‘of royal blood’ and enabled his daughter Marie to marry the King of France, Louis XV (= the 15th).
In 1733-34 Stanislas tried unsuccessfully to re-claim the Polish throne, but after that didn’t work out he was eventually given the Duchy of Lorraine (including its appendage the Duchy of Bar) as a kind of consolation prize. Over the years he became quite popular in Lorraine, but again he was more or less a puppet ruler, since the real power was exercised by his son-in-law, the King of France.
The Nancy City Hall was built from 1752 to 1755, during the lifetime of Stanislas Leszczynski.
In the summers, the city sometimes presents elaborate sound-and-light shows, with spectacular lighting effects projected onto the classical façades on the sides of Place Stanislaus. This photo (just above) shows the City Hall as it looked in June 2017 when we came out of the opera house at the end of Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss, as staged by David Hermann.
A year later, in June 2018, this is what the City Hall looked like when we came out of the opera house after seeing Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, again as staged by David Hermann.
My photos in this post are from 2015, 2017 and 2018. I revised the text in 2022.
See more posts on Nancy, France.