Metz

The art of transformation

Metz is constantly on the move. Rightly dubbed “Metz the merchant” it is remodelled by major urban projects combining economic, commercial and residential issues. Close to the railway station on the high-speed line between Paris and Frankfurt, the new Amphitheater area builds up around its most emblematic realisation: Centre-Pompidou Metz.

Metz appeal is reinforced by the future transportation network Mettis, the city’s name in the Middle-Ages.

Mirabelle fair - © Ville de MetzCentre Georges Pompidou in Metz - © Ville de Metz
40 previous stages
Pop: 123,000
Prefecture of Moselle (57)Economy : metallurgy, petrochemical industry, automobile, logistics, trade and commerce.
Specialties : plum, quiche lorraine, potee lorraine (soup), piglet with jelly, Paris-Metz (cake), boulet de Metz (pastry).
Sport : FC Metz (football), Open de Moselle tennis.
Celebrities : Sigebert, Charlemagne, Paul Verlaine, Robert Schuman (politician), Gabriel Hocquard (politician), Morgan Parra (rugby player)
Festivals : Festival les Petits Claps, Metiz’Art (May), l’Été du livre (Summer Book Fair), Montgolfiades.

Timeline

  • Antiquity

    Metz draws its name for a Celtic tribe known as the Mediomatrici.
  • 58 BC

    The Romans occupy the town. Divodorum Mediomatricorum becomes one of the largest Gallo-Roman cities with a bigger population than Lutece and a 25,000-capacity amphitheatre.
  • 511 to 751

    Known as Mettis, the town becomes the capital of the Frank kingdom of Austrasia. In 566 King Sigebert marries Brunhilda.
  • 7th century

    Metz becomes the berth of the Carolingians. Wives, daughters and sisters of Charlemagne were buried in the St Arnould Abbey, as was emperor Louis the Pious.
  • 13th century

    Creation of an oligarchic Republic.
  • 1552

    Henry II, King of France, conquers Metz and becomes its protector after helping German protestant princes in their struggle against Charles V.
  • 1648

    Metz incorporation to France is confirmed by the Treaty of Westphalia. Metz becomes the capital of the province of the Three Bishoprics.
  • 1871

    Metz is handed to Prussia by Marshal Bazaine. A lot of inhabitants, refusing to become German, left town.
  • 1918

    The French Army take Metz. Celebrations are chaired by French president Raymond Poincaré, Georges Clemenceau, Marshals Foch and Petain as well as American General Pershing.
  • 1940

    Metz is again occupied by Germany and is liberated in November 1944.
  • 2010

    Inauguration of Metz Centre-Pompidou. Metz becomes one of the European capitals of modern art.
King Henry II enters in Metz, in 1552. Huile sur toile d’Auguste Migette (Musée de la Cour d’Or, Metz)Metz Centre Georges Pompidou - © Ville de Metz
40 previous stages
Pop: 123,000
Prefecture of Moselle (57)Economy : metallurgy, petrochemical industry, automobile, logistics, trade and commerce.
Specialties : plum, quiche lorraine, potee lorraine (soup), piglet with jelly, Paris-Metz (cake), boulet de Metz (pastry).
Sport : FC Metz (football), Open de Moselle tennis.
Celebrities : Sigebert, Charlemagne, Paul Verlaine, Robert Schuman (politician), Gabriel Hocquard (politician), Morgan Parra (rugby player)
Festivals : Festival les Petits Claps, Metiz’Art (May), l’Été du livre (Summer Book Fair), Montgolfiades.

Metz and cycling

In 2012, the capital of Lorraine will be able to take pride in 105 years of history with the Tour. In total, 40 finishes have been judged in Metz since 1907 and six winners of the Tour de France have been victorious there: Lucien Petit-Breton, François Faber, Philippe Thys, Nicolas Frantz, André Leducq and Lance Armstrong when the last finish was hosted by the town, in 1999. When the peloton last visited Metz in 2002, the start of the stage was marked out in the opposite direction and Robbie McEwen was the winner in Reims, situated near Épernay.

In spite of itself, Metz is also the first “foreign” town to have hosted a Tour de France stage since it had been annexed by Germany when the Tour first came to town in 1907.

Metz is the birthplace of Catherine Marsal, who was road world champion in 1990, also winning the women’s Tour and Giro that same year.

Lucien Petit-Breton, in stage Metz-Belfort in the 1907 Tour - © Presse Sports
40 previous stages
Pop: 123,000
Prefecture of Moselle (57)Economy : metallurgy, petrochemical industry, automobile, logistics, trade and commerce.
Specialties : plum, quiche lorraine, potee lorraine (soup), piglet with jelly, Paris-Metz (cake), boulet de Metz (pastry).
Sport : FC Metz (football), Open de Moselle tennis.
Celebrities : Sigebert, Charlemagne, Paul Verlaine, Robert Schuman (politician), Gabriel Hocquard (politician), Morgan Parra (rugby player)
Festivals : Festival les Petits Claps, Metiz’Art (May), l’Été du livre (Summer Book Fair), Montgolfiades.

What to see

St Etienne cathedral

Built between 1220 and 1522, the huge and intriguing cathedral is a real encyclopaedia of Gothic Art. The reunion of two older churches, it also bears witness to the long and eventful history of the city. It is sometimes nicknamed the Good Lord's lantern (French: la lanterne du Bon Dieu) as it possesses the largest expanses of stained glass windows in the world with 6,500 m2. The stained glass windows include works of Hermann von Münster (14th  century), Theobald of Lixheim and Valentin Bousch (16th century), Laurent-Charles Marechal (19th century), Roger Bissiere, Jacques Villon and Marc Chagall (20th century). Its 42-meters-high nave is one of the highest in France only overtopped by Beauvais Cathedral and Amiens Cathedral, and is the 10th highest nave in the world.

Opera theatre

Completed in 1752, Metz opera house is one of the oldest theatres in France and the oldest still in activity. Influenced by Tuscany, its was built in a classical style from plans by Metz architect Jacques Oger.

Centre-Pompidou-Metz

An offspring of Paris Centre-Pompidou, it was conceived by architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines and inaugurated on May 12, 2010. It was the first experience to transfer part of a national public museum from Paris to the provinces. It is located behind the railway station. 

Railway station

Built between 1904 and 1908, the railway station was the key to the German new town. It is reminiscent of the Romanesque style in favour in the Holy German Empire. Emperor Wilhelm II requested that a whole mounted regiment could ride into it.

Saint-Etienne cathedral - © Ville de MetzOpera-theatre - @ Ville de MetzCentre Pompidou-Metz - © Ville de MetzMetz railway station - © Ville de Metz
40 previous stages
Pop: 123,000
Prefecture of Moselle (57)Economy : metallurgy, petrochemical industry, automobile, logistics, trade and commerce.
Specialties : plum, quiche lorraine, potee lorraine (soup), piglet with jelly, Paris-Metz (cake), boulet de Metz (pastry).
Sport : FC Metz (football), Open de Moselle tennis.
Celebrities : Sigebert, Charlemagne, Paul Verlaine, Robert Schuman (politician), Gabriel Hocquard (politician), Morgan Parra (rugby player)
Festivals : Festival les Petits Claps, Metiz’Art (May), l’Été du livre (Summer Book Fair), Montgolfiades.

Pierre Perrat's Devilish Pact

The construction of the admirable Metz cathedral is linked to a popular legend involving Pierre Perrat, one of the few architects whose name was preserved. Bathed in light, the building, with its pure and slender shapes soaring up towards the sky, is such an achievement that it is believed it was the result of a pact with the Devil. One day Pierre Perrat was drawing on the ground the plans of the future cathedral, at a loss to find the solutions he was seeking, when a little man came to him and offered his help. In a few seconds, he drew in the dust the plans of a superb cathedral, which he deleted immediately. He accepted to hand the plans to Perrat on condition that the architect signed a document giving him his soul after his burial. The architect, aware he had signed a pact with the devil, thought of a way to fool Lucifer. He ordered a lead coffin, which was placed in one of the cathedral walls after his death. When the Devil turned up at the funeral to claim his due, a relation of Perrat remarked that the deceased was not going to be “buried” and that the deal he had signed was worthless. The Devil left, furious at having helped building a glorious monument celebrating God’s glory!

Perrat died on July 25, 1402 and effectively rests in the cathedral. He gave his name to a Metz street. He is also known to have worked on the cathedrals of Toul and Verdun.

Metz St Etienne cathedral - © Baal77
40 previous stages
Pop: 123,000
Prefecture of Moselle (57)Economy : metallurgy, petrochemical industry, automobile, logistics, trade and commerce.
Specialties : plum, quiche lorraine, potee lorraine (soup), piglet with jelly, Paris-Metz (cake), boulet de Metz (pastry).
Sport : FC Metz (football), Open de Moselle tennis.
Celebrities : Sigebert, Charlemagne, Paul Verlaine, Robert Schuman (politician), Gabriel Hocquard (politician), Morgan Parra (rugby player)
Festivals : Festival les Petits Claps, Metiz’Art (May), l’Été du livre (Summer Book Fair), Montgolfiades.
video06/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Metz

Jersey wearers after the stage 20

Classifications after the stage 20

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