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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Metz

Cathedral of St EtienneCathedral of St Etienne View slideshow
Metz, chief town of the département of Moselle and the region of Lorraine, the see of a bishop and a university town since 1971, lies at the junction of the Seille and the Moselle, which at this point is divided into a number of arms. It is an industrial and commercial city.
Metz, under the name of Dividorum, was a place of some consequence in Roman times. In the sixth century it was a residence of the Merovingian kings, and later became a free imperial city. It was incorporated in France in 1552. From 1870 to 1918 and during the Second World War it belonged to the German Reich and was capital of the province of Lorraine.
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Cathedral of St Etienne

Window light on the floor of the Metz Cathedral.
The central feature of the picturesque old town of Metz with its narrow streets and lanes and old houses is the Place d'Armes, in which are the cathedral and the 18th century Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall).
The Cathedral of St-Etienne, a handsome Gothic building of yellow sandstone flanked by two slender towers, was built between 1250 and 1380 on a unified plan, incorporating the earlier church of Notre-Dame-la-Ronde; the choir dates from the early 16th C. The porch and the doorway into the south aisle under the Tour de Mutte (with the famous Mutte, a large bell dating from 1605) are modern. On the Place d'Armes front, set at an angle to the facade, is the Portail de la Vierge (C. 1240), with old reliefs in the porch, in the tympanum and on the left-hand lintel (procession of the Apostles); the reliefs on the right-hand lintel are copies, based on the damaged originals by the Master of Naumburg (now in the cathedral workshops).

Metz Cathedral - Interior

The interior Metz Cathedral has an overwhelming effect, with its great height (42m/140ft) and width and its huge areas of beautiful stained glass (14th century in the rose window on the west front, 16th century in the choir and transepts). In the south aisle are the Chapelle Notre-Dame or du Mont-Carmel, once the choir of the older church of Notre-Dame-la-Ronde, and the Chapelle du St-Sacrement or des Evêques, with stained glass by Jacques Villon (1957). In the towers are abstract windows by R. Bissière (1959). In the aisles are the remains of wall-mounted tombs. In the north transept and the ambulatory (on left) are three windows by Marc Chagall (1960). In the choir (on left) is a marble bishop's throne of the Merovingian period. The church treasury contains some valuable items, but was originally much richer.

Musée d'Art et d'Histoire

Northeast of the cathedral is the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, which contains in the basement the excavated remains of Roman structures and also incorporates the old municipal granary (15th C.). The exhibits include Gallo-Roman finds and examples of medieval religious art and architecture. There is also an art gallery.

Address: 2 rue du Haut-Poirier, F-57000 Metz, France

St Vincent

Below the cathedral, on the far side of the Moselle, is the wide Place de la Comédie, in which are the theater and a number of handsome Baroque Metz buildings. The church of St-Vincent, originally Gothic, has a heavy Baroque facade and two elegant towers over the choir.

Metz Esplanade

On the southwest side of the inner city is the Esplanade, from the beautiful terrace of which there are views of the Moselle valley and Mont St-Quentin (350 m/1,150ft; view). On the north side of the Esplanade is the 18th C. Palais de Justice (Law Courts). To the south is the church of St-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, originally a Roman basilica or an early Christian church, which belonged to a Benedictine abbey founded in the seventh C. In the 16th C. the church was incorporated in the town's defenses.

Metz Cultural Center

The Cultural Center in Metz, converted from an old 19th C. arsenal by the architect Ricardo Bofill, contains a large exhibition hall, two concert halls and rehearsal rooms. Nearby is a small octagonal Templar chapel which dates from the 12th C.

St Martin

Beyond the Place de la République is the church of St-Martin (1202), with remains of old stained glass (15th, 16th and 19th C.), a charming funeral monument with a representation of the Virgin lying in (15th C.) and a Baroque organ gallery.

Porte des Allemands

From the center of the old town Rue des Allemands runs east to the Porte des Allemands, a massive defense work projecting over the Seille, with two round towers (13th C.) on the inner side and two 15th C. bastions on the outer side. It is the last relic of the town's medieval fortifications.

St Maximin

On the banks of the Seille in Metz, south of the Porte des Allemands, is the church of St-Maximin, which dates in part from the 12th C. and has stained glass by Jean Cocteau.

Farther south is the modern church of Ste-Thérèse-l'Enfant (1954), with fine stained glass.

International Meeting of Contemporary Music

This annual festival runs through one weekend in late November and usually includes about a dozen performances. The events include numerous world premieres in such categories as opera, dance, theater, film and music. The performances take place in various venues, including the Arsenal Concert Hall, the theater and the local churches.
Address: 2 rue de Paradis, F-57000 Metz, France

Abbaye des Prémontrés

Swan on the River Moselle in front of the Abbey of the Premontres in Pont du Mousson.
The abbey of Prémontré, northeast of Paris in the Forêt de Coucy, was the mother house of the Premonstratensian order, founded in 1120. The abbey was rebuilt in the 18th C.

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