Countryside Around Metz

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 legend tells that when St Clément, first Bishop of Metz, came to the city to convert it to Christianity, he fell on his knees in prayer, and his fingerprints marked the stone. We can still see them today, in front of the 19th century Cross …

At Jouy-aux-Arches, as well as at Ars-sur-Moselle, you can see the remains of a 22-km aqueductbuilt in the second century to bring spring water from Gorze to Metz. At Gorze, the Abbatial Palace(late 17th century) traces the abbey founded in 749, where the Roman Metz chant, later called Gregorian chant, was created.

Around Metz, there are still fifteen fortified churches, built in the 14th and 15th centuries, which served alternately to protect Metz – or to attack it. They were also places of refuge, to face up to gangs of looters. We should mention the churches of Lessy, Scy-Chazelles (the House of Robert Schuman is also there), Vaux, Arry, Lorry-Mardigny, or Sillégny, particularly remarkable for its 16th century frescoes, including a 42m² ‘Last Judgment’. All located in picturesque villages, they are pleasant, interesting places for walking and exploring.

The winemaking villages are also worthy of exploration, with their steep, winding alleys: Sainte-Ruffine, Jussy, Rozérieulles, Lessy, Scy-Chazelles. It should be said that from the Roman era onwards, the Moselle region turned towards viticulture. In this way, the prosperity of the whole Metz region was based on Moselle wines, as sung from the 4th century onwards by the poet Ausone. In the Middle Ages, its quality was excellent, but in the 19th century, the development of the railways, and urbanisation pushed back the wine-growing industry. In addition, phylloxera made its appearance. The winemakers did not overcome this crisis, and the decline of the Moselle vineyards began. Today, winegrowers produce to a quality label (AOC) which once again lets this wine be renowned beyond our borders, a business in full development.

Finally, it is in Metz’ countryside that the quarries of Jaumont stone are to be found: this stone is as golden as ripe fruit, from which most of the monuments in Metz are made. The quarry (currently 160 hectares, and employing 150 people) has been in use since Roman times; today, its stone is exported as far as Beirut, Los Angeles and Osaka. Its speciality: it is highly timeand frost-resistant. You only have to visit Metz to see the proof! In addition, it is an ideal material for sculptors.

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