St. Nicholas is the patron saint of many areas of Europe, including France’s Lorraine region. The anniversary of his death, Dec. 6, now is known as St. Nicholas Day and widely celebrated throughout Europe.

During the first weekend of December, one of Lorraine’s most important cities, Nancy, organizes vibrant festivities to honor the saint.

Nancy’s celebrations begin Saturday at 2 p.m. Live music, dance and theatrical performances liven the city center, and visitors can enjoy rides on a tourist train. Fireworks light the night sky at 7:30 at the Place Stanislas, considered one of the most beautiful squares in France. Visitors should arrive early, because the square gets crowded and capacity is limited.

Enjoy more street entertainment Sunday along with artisans, bric-a-brac sellers and gourmet food stands.

The grand parade is a celebration highlight and begins at 5 p.m. Costumed cavaliers on horseback and floats with figures in Renaissance costume depart from Place Carnot en route to Place Stanislas, where celebrations culminate with another fireworks display.

In addition to the St. Nicholas celebrations, visitors will find a Christmas market with chalets offering goods on both days. For a detailed description of the event in English, see

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now