Nancy was beautified in the eighteenth century by Stanislas Leszczynski, the king of Poland and duke of Lorraine. This historic capital of the duchy has some very notable architecture for touring and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stanislas Square is known as one of the most beautiful in Europe; it seduces its visitors and, for the residents, is the heart of the city. The gilded wrought-iron railings, designed by Jean Lamour, seem to connect the buildings to one another, and the celebrated fountains of Amphitrite and Neptune are the work of Barthélémy Guibal. It is among the first squares in France and made even more grandiose by the triumphant arch that is an homage to King Louis XV,
son-in-law of King Stanislas.
In the seventeenth century monk Dom Pérignon studied fermentation and measured the dosage of wine necessary to create what was to become Champagne, Gold of the Marne. Beginning in 1728 the companies of Ruinart, Clicquot, and Heidsieck established the region's fame throughout Europe. The city of Reims, at the heart of the Champagne tour, is so famous that the visitor does not even need to look for it on the map. All the kings of France were crowned here, in the cathedral of Notre-Dame, including Charles VII, who was accompanied by Joan of Arc. Reims city is a city of flowers and many splendid monuments, most notably the elegant,
perfectly proportioned, thirteenth-century cathedral.
Travelers to Verdun discover local delicacies, which include honey, quiche lorraine, wines of the Mosa, the Mirabelle honey tart, the winter hotpot of pork and cabbage, the madeleines of Commercy to be dipped in a cup of tea, and finally the famed dragée of Verdun. The sugared almonds were invented in 1220 by a local pharmacist. He was looking for a way of preserving and transporting almonds, so he covered them with a hard coat of sugar and honey. Good for fresh breath and digestion, they are thought to be, above all, a defense against sterility, and for this reason the dragées are
always present at wedding and baptismal banquets.