Metz is a stylish city, too often passed by on route to the south. And that is a missed opportunity. For many reasons. Go quietly off the freeway and enjoy Metz and at least 10 its gorgeous hotspots.
1. The evening stroll
Actually, you should visit Metz in the dark. At night 13 000 projectors light up all the Metz hotspots. An evening stroll you should start at the Esplanada just above the banks of the Mosel.
From here you go down and walk along the water and you see the illuminated Temple Neuf, then the Sainte-Croix hill from where, according to the legend, the arrows of the sacred Segolene appeared.
Metz ten hotspots
And finally you are treated to the Saint Etienne cathedral, which, according to the citizens transforms at night into the lantern of God. Walk on to the arcades of Place St. Louis, to the opera, and you realize: I should have done this years earlier! Metz ten hotspots.
2. Pizza at Mathis
An evening stroll builds up an appetite. So a steaming pizza on your plate at Mathis might be an idea. Mathis is located in the medieval street En Fournirue, not far from the cathedral. Actually, it was one of the best-known oldest cafes in Metz where in the old days you could drink coffee, an aperitif and at the same time recite a poem.
Opposite once lived Rabelais, humanist, satirical writer and physician who escaped from the narrow minded Paris to the independent republic of Metz.
3. Birthplace of Verlaine
He was the enfant terrible of the French literature: Paul Verlaine. He was born in Metz, moved at a very young age to Paris. Maintained a tempestuous relationship with Rimbaud whom he tried to murder during a stay in England while in a haze of alcohol. Served two years in prison for that.
Then tried the peasant life for a few days. He lived on absinthe and died poor and destitute. When he died he had sold only four books including one to his mother. His birthplace is now a museum. For how long no one knows, because it is frequently for sale.
4. Centre Pompidou
Since 2010, Metz has its own Centre Pompidou. In order not to diverge too much from the parent museum in Paris, they have a flag placed on the museum in Metz so that the building is as high as the one in Faubourg.
However, they urge to say that they are independent in their choice of collections, and are allowed to use the 65,000 works from Paris. They also offer exhibitions for a young and very young audience.
5. Quartier Imperial
The German district clearly shows that the history of Metz happened in both France and Germany. Leave the medieval city in southerly direction and you come to the part that was built outside the old city walls.
Tall buildings, a huge post office and a giant station show that the German Emperor Wilhelm II was earnest when he wanted to emphasize the dominance of Germany. Phillippe Starck designed the lights in the district and they are designed highlight various buildings at night.
6. Le pop white bar
Love to lounge with a view of the cathedral? This can be done at 4 Place Saint-Jacques. Le Pop White bar actually lets you forget where you are. Was it Barcelona or Berlin? It could be anywhere.
Metz has its own mascot: the dragon. And that is for a good reason. The beast terrorised the inhabitants and ate just about as many until Bishop Clemens ended it and the beast was drowned in the river. Prerequisite for his help was that the inhabitants were converted to Christianity.
Today, the dragon plays a part in parades and he is the symbol of the city and the mascot of the soccer club. In the Rue Taison in the medieval town you can see a huge dragon that hangs above the street. Watching over cute little shops.
8. Chez Mauricette
She is a bit of a caractère, Mauricette. She has a stall with tables on the covered market in Metz and if you want to know what the typical cuisine of the Lorraine is, you have to be there. Join a table and enjoy the sausages and cheeses, which she dishes out, while the noise of the market goes past you.
One of the finest concert halls is the Arsenal. The acoustics are wonderful and so are the various concert halls and the very simple fact that Miles Davies performed here, says it all. There are annually more than 200 events to choose from.
10. To the beach
Yes definitely go to the beach. No joke. Metz is a very green city and has 40 square meters of park and tree per inhabitant and as if that were not enough, there are everywhere green exhibitions in the city, like in front of the opera house. And in the summer they build on the quai de Regenates a real beach for a month from late July to late August. Inclusing palm trees and chairs.
Tekst: Anneke de Bundel – Beeld: Nicole Franken