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The arrival of the long-awaited Centre Pompidou-Metz, a sinuous, almost sensual modern structure that draws on Europe’s largest collection of contemporary art, didn’t exactly put Metz on the map but certainly had a lot more people focusing on the city. Metz (pronounced 'mess' in French) has always tended to do things according to its own rules. The lacy Gothic spires of its landmark Roman Catholic Cathédrale Saint Étienne dominate the city’s skyline, but at its heart are flamboyant modern stained-glass windows by the Jewish artist Marc Chagall. And the city’s delightful Quartier Impérial, a district containing a fantastical blend of ...

The arrival of the long-awaited Centre Pompidou-Metz, a sinuous, almost sensual modern structure that draws on Europe’s largest collection of contemporary art, didn’t exactly put Metz on the map but certainly had a lot more people focusing on the city. Metz (pronounced 'mess' in French) has always tended to do things according to its own rules. The lacy Gothic spires of its landmark Roman Catholic Cathédrale Saint Étienne dominate the city’s skyline, but at its heart are flamboyant modern stained-glass windows by the Jewish artist Marc Chagall. And the city’s delightful Quartier Impérial, a district containing a fantastical blend of architectural styles, has less to do with France than with Germany, which amalgamated the city into the Second Reich in 1871 after the disastrous (for France) Franco-Prussian War. Visit Metz for art and architecture and some of the best dining and nightlife (a large student population helps) in eastern France. But come too for a step back in time – to the horrors of trench warfare at nearby Verdun, where some 800,000 soldiers on both sides lost their lives in one of the longest battles of Word War I.

Steve Fallon
About the Expert

Steve Fallon has more than two dozen years of experience as a travel writer and guidebook author, having written or contributed to some 80 Lonely Planet and other guides.

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Steve Fallon for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northeastern France, at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The height of summer offers sultry long days but also spill-over crowds from Alsace and Strasbourg. The Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) in December is a great draw off-season.