We have been in both Nancy, and Metz, and much prefer Metz, which is closer
to Paris as well. It is more of a small town (which you prefer) than Nancy,
and is such a charming place with layers of history all the way back to
Roman times. We liked it so much on a winter visit that we returned one
But if you're interested in day trips from Paris, there are many closer
places that would be quicker to get to.
For example, we have enjoyed a day trip to Chantilly's chateau, and the
nearby medieval village of Senlis.
Anne in VA