Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers. Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region which is now part of the Grand Est region of France. Metz has a rich 3,000 year history. The city has been steeped in Romance culture, but has been strongly influenced by Germanic culture due to its location and history.
Because of its historical, cultural, and architectural background, Metz has been submitted on France’s UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. The city features noteworthy buildings such as the Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral with its largest expanse of stained-glass windows in the world, the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains being the oldest church in France, its Imperial Station Palace displaying the apartment of the German Kaiser, or its Opera House, the oldest one working in France. Metz is home to some world-class venues including the Arsenal Concert Hall and the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum.
A basin of urban ecology, Metz gained its nickname of The Green City – La Ville Verte, as it has extensive open grounds and public gardens. The historic city centre is one of the largest commercial pedestrian areas in France.
Metz reveals its treasures from the Gallo-Roman period: baths and scenes of ancient life in the Cour d’Or museum, or in Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, one
of the oldest churches in France. Later becoming the cradle of the Carolingians, Metz developed gradually as a European bastion of art and culture. The excellent of its schools and craftsmen’s guilds, the countless religious or domestic medieval buildings, including Saint Etienne’s Cathedral, beyond question the most remarkable, all testify to the artistic and religious appeal of the city throughout Europe. Metz was a part of the Holy Roman Empire in the century. On becoming a republic, the city of Metz saw its richest period leading up to the 15th century. In 1552, the city welcomed Henri II, King of France, who settled there. It became the provincial capital of the Province of the Trois Evêchés (three Bishoprics) In 1648, it was permanently attached to the Kingdom of France. In
the 18th century, Metz immersed itself in classical style and created these sumptuous, symbolic architectural groups: Place d’Armes, where you will find the Tourist Office and the Hôtel de Ville (town hall), Place de la Comédie (the theatre), Place de la République and its imposing Palais de Justice. The misfortunes of the war of 1870 rocked the destiny of the city, which then suffered a profound upheaval.
After its annexation to Germany, Metz entered a new era of architecture under large-scale changes in its town planning. The Imperial Quarter, around the
station, displays an encyclopaedia of architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) and Art Deco, and illustrates outstanding examples of the modernising of German town planning at the end of the 19th century. The remarkable station commissioned by Wilhelm II, an impressive 300m long, is flanked with carved bas-reliefs symbolising power or depicting scenes of daily life, and is superbly designed in a functional yet pragmatic style (platforms, canopy, separate halls).
The Quartier Imperial: an outstanding, perfectly preserved example of urban German style from the end of the 19th century, offers an encyclopaedia of historic and new styles, from Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque to Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) and Art Deco.
The Porte des Allemands and the ramparts: The Porte des Allemands, a miniature fortified castle spanning the river Seille, is one of the gems of what remains of the medieval ramparts. They formed a 7 km enclosure, punctuated by 18 doors and 38 towers.
The squares: In the heart of Metz, renovated squares such as the Place de Chambre (known as the gourmet centre of Metz), the 18th century Place d’Armes, the medieval Place Saint-Louis and the Place de la République, all offer open spaces and a friendly atmosphere. Throughout the year, they present a number of events which transform them into lively places to enjoy meeting friends.
The Quays of the Moselle, the banks of the river Seille, the marina and ‘Metz Beach’
Stained glass windows dating from the 13th to the 20th centuries (Marc Chagall, Jean Cocteau and Jacques Villon) adorn many religious buildings, including the Cathédrale Saint Etienne, known as ‘God’s lantern’ it has the largest surface area of stained glass windows in Europe, with 6,500 m².
There’s a friendly atmosphere in the neighbourhood markets and the covered market, offering a wide choice of specialities and local produce.
The second-largest flea market in France (after Saint-Ouen) is held at Metz Expo a few times each year (on Saturday or Sunday mornings, depending on the calendar).
The gardens: Récollets, Esplanade, Tanneurs, Jardins Jean-Marie Pelt, Parc du Pas du Loup (for bird-watching visits).
Radiant by day with golden light reflecting from the Jaumont stone, at night Metz undergoes a metamorphosis into a diva of light under the glow of 13,000 spotlights. From the banks of the Moselle, where the Temple Neuf is reflected, to the hill of Saint Croix where the spires of Saint Ségolène sparkle; from Saint Etienne’s Cathedral, transformed into the Lanterne du Bon Dieu to the splendid arcades of the Place Saint Louis; from the Opéra Théâtre to the Gare Impériale,
Metz entices you to stroll through the varied urban landscapes in the intimate atmosphere of night.
The verdant Mont St Quentin (358 m high) owes its name to St Quentin, Roman martyr of the 4th century, whose relics were obtained by Drogon, Bishop of Metz. A tourist trail gives a magnificent viewpoint over the Metz area and its suburbs. And since we are giving pleasure to our eyes, don’t miss the views of the Metz valley, which can be seen from the Croix St Clément.
The Château de Courcelles
Built at the beginning of the 18th century, the Château de Courcelles bears the name of the noble family who built it. This beautiful dwelling knew many owners during the centuries which followed, until its acquisition by the town of Montigny in 1949. Restored from 2003 onwards by the architects Christian François and Patricia Henrion, the Château de Courcelles was officially inaugurated on 26th May 2005 by Jean-Luc Bohl, Maire of Montigny-lès-Metz, in the presence of Philippe Leroy, then President of the Moselle General Council. Le Château de Courcelles à Montigny-Lès-Metz Now open to visitors, the Château de Courcelles has become a cultural site, home to all types of events, some of which may overlap, such as exhibitions, concerts, other activities, family meetings.
The Château de Pange and its park
To the south-east of Metz lies the Château de Pange, rebuilt in the 18th century on the site of a medieval fortress. At the edge of the village, its austere setting is reflected in the waters of the Nied Française. This château was built to the plans of the architect Jean-Baptiste Louis in 1720, by JeanBaptiste Thomas, Lord of Pange. The land, raised to a marquisate in 1766 by Stanislas, Duke of Lorraine, is still occupied by the Thomas family of Pange. The landscape architect Louis Benech has turned the park into a particularly elegant composition, full of charm and harmony. This garden has obtained the classification: Jardin remarquable.
The Centre Pompidou-Metz was designed to give a unique experience: a space to discover creative art in all its forms; a living area with a series of events held throughout the year. Running alongside the temporary exhibitions, there’s a multidisciplinary programme on offer (live performances, cinema, conferences…), in
the same vein as the Pompidou Centre Paris. This covers all fields of creation and extends around the themes of the exhibitions adding extra interest.
The Centre Pompidou-Metz’ publics policy is at the heart of this institution’s cultural aim, which is to be a place of discovery and vibrancy for everyone. A part of the Centre Pompidou-Metz’ programme is dedicated to a young audience. Children and teenagers can take part in workshops for different initiations to art at the
With its hexagonal roof echoing the building’s hexagonal layout, the Centre Pompidou-Metz is a wide, modular structure developed around a central spire, 77 metres high, in a nod to the Pompidou Centre Paris, inaugurated in 1977. The building is spread over 10,700 m², of which more than 5,000 m² are dedicated to the display of artwork, not including the exhibition possibilities in other spaces such as the Forum, the restaurant terrace or the garden.
The Porte des Allemands (13th – 16th century) is a unique example in France of a fortified bridge, and also the only trace still standing of the many gates which pierced the medieval walls of Metz. In fact, it is both a bridge and a double door: on the city side, it dates from around 1220, and was reinforced on the outside with a second door in Jaumont stone in 1445. In 1859, the towers of the first part were topped with spires, those of the second part with crenulations. A fortified little castle, symbolic of the city, this example of Metz’s military architecture spans the river Seille. Renovation work allowed it to be opened to the public in June 2014, with access to the 600 m² terrace as well as the two exhibition rooms – a home for entertainments and cultural events.
Metz has a marina which has held the European Blue Flag since 2007, and an inland lake located in the heart of the city. Right beside the hyper-centre, these
are used to provide a green environment perfectly integrated into the urban setting, offering pleasant spaces for city dwellers who enjoy practising water sports, other sports or just relaxing. The Canal de Jouy, a favourite with joggers and walkers, leads to the lake opposite Mont Saint-Quentin. The true green lungs which overlook the built-up area, classed as a nature reserve since 1994, this is where St Clément, first Bishop of Metz, looked over the city. But it also played an important part in military history. It has now become a vast, open space offering curious visitors walks with exceptional views over the capital of Lorraine, and beyond over the whole valley of the Moselle.
The islands of Grand and Petit Saulcy, Saint Symphorien, the Îlot des Roches, today are hosts to the university, the football stadium, the Opéra Théâtre ‐ and the Temple Neuf which admires its reflection in the Moselle. A romantic walk, by day or night. You will marvel at the Moselle, the Seille and the many canals, basins and fountains which bring welcome breaths of fresh air to the city, and invite you to daydream.
During the summer, at weekends, public celebrations and holidays, you can spend lyrical moments just reclining on the banks of the Lac aux Cygnes to watch the
play of water and light in the dancing fountains, in a new spectacle each year.
The Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Métropole is an 750-seat opera house and theatre located on the Petit-Saulcy island in Metz, capital of the Lorraine region, France. It is the oldest opera house working in France and one of the oldest in Europe. It is also one of the last possessing its own costume ateliers in France.
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