Nancy, the temporary residence of a king without a kingdom – Stanislaw I Leszczynski, later to become Duke of Lorraine – is paradoxically the oldest and most typical example of a modern capital where an enlightened monarch proved to be sensitive to the needs of the public. Built between 1752 and 1756 by a brilliant team led by the architect Héré, this was a carefully conceived project that succeeded in creating a capital that not only enhanced the sovereign's prestige but was also functional. Since 1983, the architectural ensemble comprising the Place Stanislas, the extension of its axis, the Place de la Carrière, and the Place d'Alliance, has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
After the War of the Polish Succession in 1737, the Duchy of Upper Lorraine, of which Nancy was the capital, was given to Stanislaw I Leszczynski, former Ruler of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and father-in-law to King Louis XV of France. An earlier ruler, Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, had undertaken a lot of reconstruction in Lorraine, which had been ravaged by a series of wars. He had surrounded himself by artists and architects, including Germain Boffrand, who trained Emmanuel Héré. Hence, Stanislaw found a pool of talent and experience to draw from on his arrival. The square was a major project in urban planning, dreamt up by Stanislaw I, as a way to link the medieval old town of Nancy and the new town built under Charles III in the 17th century.
In 1831, a bronze statue of Stanislas was placed in the middle of the square.References:
The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.
Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-walls and a channel surrounding the oval central arena. The arena was slightly sloped, with the building"s south part supported by a now-vanished vault. The arena"s dimensions are 67,6m by 42m. This phase of the amphitheatre housed games which accompanied the imperial cult, with its low capacity (1,800 seats) being enough for delegations from the 60 Gallic tribes.
The amphitheatre was expanded at the start of the 2nd century. Two galleries were added around the old amphitheatre, raising its width from 25 metres to 105 metres and its capacity to about 20,000 seats. In so doing it made it a building open to the whole population of Lugdunum and its environs.