Feature: Art Nouveau Trail

In 1900, glassmaker and ceramist Émile Gallé founded the École de Nancy, one of France’s leading art-nouveau movements, joining creative forces with masters of decorative arts and architecture such as Jacques Gruber, Louis Majorelle and the Daum brothers. Banks, villas, pharmacies, brasseries – wherever you wander in Nancy, you're bound to stumble across their handiwork, from sinuous grillwork to curvaceous stained-glass windows and doorways that are a profusion of naturalistic ornament.

Slip back to this genteel era by picking up the free Art Nouveau Itineraries brochure and map at the tourist office, covering four city strolls. Lucien Weissenburger’s 1911 Brasserie Excelsior and the 1908 Chambre de Commerce with wrought iron by Louis Majorelle are central standouts. Close to the Musée de l’École de Nancy lies the whimsical Villa Majorelle, built by Henri Sauvage in 1901 and bearing the hallmarks of Majorelle (furniture) and Gruber (stained glass). The centrepiece is the Les Blés dining room with its vine-like stone fireplace. Advance telephone bookings are essential.