Metz

metz pont

Elegant Metz (pronounced Mess, pop 429,600) is a beneficiary of both its French and German heritages.  Indeed, the city is divided into the French Ancienne Ville wrapped around Cathedrale St-Etienne, and the Ville allemande dating from the Prussian occupation from1870. The sensational Gothic cathedral is an example of its French origins, whereas the Tutonic looking Gare and imposing post office reveal the German architectural influence, and also perhaps the future German military intentions.

The most orienting landmark in Metz is the Cathedrale St-Etienne- it is 1km north of the train station and next to it is the public square of place d’Armes.

Sights
Mention the words "Centre Pompidou" (1, parvis des Droits de l’Homme ; +33 387153939, www.centrepompidou-metz.fr, €7) and most people would envisage the the startling façade of its main branch in Paris. Centre Pompidou-Metz’s exterior may not be as jarring but the fluidity of its umbrella-like roof- inspired by a woven Chinese hat- offers an equally striking impression of a contemporary art museum.  The fluid nature of its exterior extends to its exhibition areas where the spaces are continuously rearranged in innovative permutations. There is a mix of both temporary and permanent exhibitions throughout the year so visit the website for details.

Metz Cathédrale Sainte-EtienneThe magnificent Cathedrale St-Etienne (2 place de Chambre,  +33 38775 5461, www.cathedrale-metz.fr, free) is hard to miss with its yellow sandstone gothic architecture towering over the cityscape, providing a focal point for many a clueless tourist. Considered the Eiffel Tower of Metz, the cathedral is home to a slew of France’s most spectacular stained-glass windows- torrents of rainbow shards forming masterpieces from medieval and modern eras. Many come under the cathedral’s spectacularly tall nave of 41 meters (the third tallest in France, after Beauvais and Amiens) to catch a glimpse of Chagall’s three famed windows in the north transept and ambulatory, but the master craftsmen Herman von Munster and Valentin Bousch ought to be equally revered. Take a peek into the 15th century crypt to spook yourself with the sculpture of the Graoully, a dragon-like creature that haunted the population of Metz before the arrival of Christianity.

The Musée La Cour d'Or (2 rue du Haut Poirier, +33 387201320, http://musees.metzmetropole.fr/site/infos_coordonnees.php, ad/ch €4.60/2.30) was befittingly named after the palace of the Merovingian kings from Austrasia (name not to be confused with Austria or Australia), an empire that saw Metz as its capital. The museum is as grand and splendid as a royal residence gets. An intricate maze of various exhibition spaces include an ancient gallo-roman baths, lavish altars dedicated to the Zoroastrian god Mithra and opulent ceilings are from the Middle Ages. There is little need for maps or guided tours as many of the represented periods are self-evident.

Festivals/Events
The flea market (Metz Expo - Rue de la Grange aux Bois, +33 387556600, www.metz-expo.com/] that is held once or twice a month on sprawling grounds is a mecca for valuable but cheap bijou. The Mirabelle Plum Festival


 

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METZ1. Tourist office  2. Train station  3. Cathedrale St-Etienne  4. Centre Pompidou  5. Post office  6. Musée La Cour d'Or