—  Commune  —
Municipalité de Metz
From top: Panorama from the Mutte tower, Saint Stephen cathedral, Medieval city gate, and Centre Pompidou-Metz museum


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The Maid; The Unviolated; The Green City
Metz is located in France
Location of Metz within France
Coordinates: 49°07′13″N 6°10′40″E / 49.12028°N 6.17778°E / 49.12028; 6.17778Coordinates: 49°07′13″N 6°10′40″E / 49.12028°N 6.17778°E / 49.12028; 6.17778
Country  France
Region  Lorraine
Department Blason département fr Moselle.svg Moselle
Agglomeration community Metz Metropole
Founded 5th century BC
Prefecture  Lorraine; Moselle
 – Type Mayor-Council
 – Mayor Dominique Gros (PS)
 – Commune 41.94 km2 (16.2 sq mi)
 – Metro 277 km2 (107 sq mi)
Highest elevation 358 m (1,175 ft)
Lowest elevation 162 m (531 ft)
Population (2008)
 – Commune 122,838
 – Density 5,492/km2 (14,224.2/sq mi)
 – Metro 230,334
Demonym Messin
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ZIP codes 57000; 57050; 57070
Dialing code +33 03
Website [3]; [4]

Metz (French pronunciation: [mɛs] ( listen); German: [ˈmɛts]) is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.

Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place of the European Greater Region and of the SaarLorLux Euroregion. So, Metz is a fellow member of the QuattroPole union of cities, along with Luxembourg City and German Saarbrücken and Trier.

A Celtic oppidum, an important Gallo-Roman city, the Merovingian capital of the Austrasia kingdom, the birthplace of the Carolingian dynasty, a cradle of the Gregorian chant, and one of the oldest republics of the common era in Europe, Metz has a rich 3,000 year history. The city has been steeped in Romance culture, but has been strongly influenced by Germanic culture due to its location and history. A basin of urban ecology, pioneered under the leadership of people like Jean-Marie Pelt, Metz gained its nickname, The Green City, boasting over 37 m2 (398 sq ft) of open ground per inhabitant and the city's historic downtown also displays one of the largest commercial, pedestrian areas in France.

Metz possesses one of the largest urban-conservation area in France covering 162.9 ha (402.53 acres) and around 100 buildings of the city are classified on the monument historique list.[1][2] Because of its tremendous historical and cultural background, Metz benefits from its designation as a town of art and history. The city is home to some world-class venues such as the Arsenal concert hall, the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum, and the National Opera of Lorraine (along with Nancy Opera).[3]

A historical Garrison town, Metz is the economic heart of the Lorraine region, being specialized in information technology and automotive industries. Metz is also a centre for applied research and development in the materials sector notably in metallurgy and metallography, the heritage of the Lorraine region's past in the iron and steel industry.



Roman Divodurum Mediomatricum

City scape of Divodurum Mediomatricum, ancestor of present-day Metz, ca. 2nd C. AD.

In ancient times, Metz was called Divodurum (meaning Holy Village or Holy Fortress in Latin[4]), and was the capital of the Celtic Mediomatrici. The abbreviated name of this tribe, Mettis, gave rise to the name Metz. At the beginning of the Christian Era, the site was already occupied by the Romans. Metz became one of the principal towns of Gallia, more populous than Lutetia (ancestor of present-day Paris), and rich thanks to its wine exports. It had one of the largest amphitheatres in Gallia. An aqueduct of 23 km (14.29 mi) and 118 arches, extending from Gorze to Metz, was constructed in the 2nd century AD to supply the city with water. This aqueduct supplied water for public baths. As a well-fortified town at the junction of several military roads, Metz soon grew to great importance. One of the last Roman strongholds to surrender to the Germanic tribes, it was captured by the Huns of Attila in 451. Only a solitary chapel was left standing.[5] About the end of the 5th century, Metz passed into the hands of the Franks.

Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains basilica, Roman edifice (4th C.), one of the cradles of the Gregorian Chant, so called Messin Chant.

Early Frankish Metz

Though the first Christian churches were to be found outside the city, the existence in the 5th century of the oratory of Saint Stephen within the city walls has been fully proved. In the beginning of the 7th century the oldest monastic establishments were those of Saint Glossinde and Saint Peter. Since King Sigibert I, Metz was frequently the residence of the Merovingian kings of Austrasia and the reign of Queen Brunhilda in particular imbued the town with great splendour. The town preserved the good-will of the rulers, when the Carolingians acceded to the Frankish throne, as it had long been a base of their family and one of their primal ancestors, Saint Arnuff, as well as his son Chlodulf, had been bishops of Metz. Emperor Charlemagne considered making Metz his chief residence before he finally decided in favour of Aachen.

Beginning of the Republic of Metz. Election of the first head-alderman, by Auguste Migette.

There is evidence that the earliest western musical notation, in the form of neumes in camp aperto (without staff-lines), was created at Metz around 800, as a result of Charlemagne's desire for Frankish church musicians to retain the performance nuances used by the Roman singers.[6] In the basilica, Louis the Pious, King of the Franks, and his half-brother the Bishop Drogo were buried, and King Charles the Bald was crowned there.

Lotharingian Metz

In 843, Metz became the capital of the kingdom of Lotharingia, and several diets and councils were held there. Numerous Christian manuscripts, the product of the Metz schools of writing and painting, such as the famous Trier Ada manuscript and the Drogo Sacramentary for the personal use of a bishop of the royal house (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris), are evidence of the active intellectual lives and sumptuous patronage of Carolingian Metz. After the death of King Lothair II, the kingdom of Lotharingia, and thus Metz, was contested and alternated between the eastern and the western Frankish kingdom until in 925 it finally became part of the east kingdom and subsequently the Holy Roman Empire, as a free imperial city. The increasing influence of the bishops in the city became greater when Adalbert I (928–62) obtained a share of the privileges of the counts; until the 12th century, therefore, the history of the town is practically identical with that of the bishops.[7] Under Dietrich I of Metz (ca. 984) the monastery of Saint-Symphorien was restored. In 1039, the former Ottonian cathedral was built by Dietrich II to take the place of the Carolingian Saint-Stephen church.[8] In the spring of 1096, Metz became one of the scenes of the Rhineland massacres of non-Christians as count Emicho of Flonheim gathered followers for the First Crusade. A group of these crusaders entered Metz, forcibly converting Jewish families, and killing those who resisted baptism. 22 Jewish citizens of Metz were slaughtered.

Ending of the Republic of Metz. Entrance of Henri II, King of France on April 18, 1552, by Auguste Migette.
View of Metz from the Bellecroix hill, during the 17th C. by Monsù Desidero.
Governor Palace by Clérisseau. Place where Lafayette decided to support the American Revolutionary War in 1775.

The Commune of Metz

In the 12th century, the burgesses began efforts to free themselves from the domination of the bishops. In 1180, the burgesses formed a close corporation, the Tredecem jurati, which were appointed as municipal representatives in 1207. The burgesses were still nominated directly by the bishop, who had also a controlling influence in the selection of the presiding officer of the board of aldermen (which originated in the 11th century). The twenty-five representatives sent by the various parishes held an independent position; in judicial matters they helped the Tredecem jurati and formed the democratic element of the system of government. The other municipal authorities were chosen by the town aristocracy, the so-called Paraiges, i.e. the five associations whose members were selected from distinguished families to protect the interests of their relatives. The other body of burgesses, called a Commune, also appears as a Paraige from the year 1297; in the individual offices it was represented by double the number of members that each of the older five Paraiges had. Making common cause, the older family unions and the Commune found it advantageous to gradually increase the powers of the city as opposed to the bishops, and also to keep the control of the municipal government fully in their hands and out of that of the powerful growing guilds, so that until the 16th century Metz remained a purely aristocratic organization. In 1300, the Paraiges gained the right to fill the office of head-alderman, during the 14th century the right to elect the Tredecem jurati, and in 1383 the right to mint its own coins. The guilds, which during the 14th century had attained great independence, were completely suppressed (1383), and the last revolutionary attempt of the artisans to seize control of the city government (1405) was put down with much bloodshed.

The city had often to fight for its freedom: from 1324–27 against the dukes of Luxembourg and Lorraine, as well as against the archbishop of Trier; in 1363 and 1365 against the band of English mercenaries under Arnold of Cervola, in the 15th century against France and the dukes of Burgundy, who sought to annex Metz to their lands or at least wanted to exercise a protectorate. Nevertheless it maintained its independence, even though at great cost, and remained, outwardly at least, part of the German Empire, whose ruler, however, concerned himself very little with this important frontier stronghold.

French Metz

Charles IV in 1354 and 1356 held diets here, at the latter of which was promulgated the famous statute known as the Golden Bull. The town therefore felt that it occupied an almost independent position between France and Germany, and wanted most of all to evade the obligation of imperial taxes and attendance at the diet. The estrangement between it and the German States daily became wider, and finally affairs came to such a pass that in the religious and political troubles of 1552, Metz found itself in the middle of the war between Charles V and the rebellious princes. By an agreement of the German princes, Maurice of Saxony, William of Hesse, and John Albert of Mecklenburg, with Henry II of France, ratified by the French king at Chambord, Metz was formally transferred to France, the gates of the city were opened, and Henry II took possession as vicarius sacri imperii et urbis protector. Francis, Duke of Guise, commander of the garrison, restored the old fortifications and added new ones, and successfully resisted the attacks of the emperor from October to December 1552. Metz remained French.

The recognition by the empire of the surrender of Metz to France came at the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia. By the construction of the citadel (1555–62), the new government secured itself against the citizens, who were discontented with the turn of events. Important internal changes soon took place. In place of the Paraiges stood the authority of the French king, whose representative was the governor. The head-alderman, now appointed by the governor, was replaced by a royalist mayor (1640). The aldermen were also appointed by the governor and henceforth drawn from the whole body of burgesses. In 1633, the judiciary passed to the parliament. The powers of the Tredecem jurati were also restricted, in 1634 totally abolished, and replaced by the Bailliage royal.

Among the cities of Lorraine, Metz held a prominent position during the French possession for two reasons. First, the city became one of the most important fortresses through the work of Vauban (1674) and Cormontaigne (1730). Vauban wrote to King Louis XIV: "Each one of the fortified towns of Your Majesty protects one province, Metz protects the State." Second, it became the capital of the temporal province of the Three Bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, which France had seized (1552) and, by the Peace of Westphalia, retained. In 1633, to this end three bishoprics, a supreme court of justice and court of administration, the Metz's parliament, were created.

In 1681, the Chambre Royale, notorious assembly chamber, whose business it was to decide what fiefs belonged to the Three Bishoprics, which King Louis XIV claimed for France, was made a part of this parliament, which lasted, after a temporary dissolution (1771–75), until the final settlement by the Estates-General of 1789, whereupon the division of the land into departments and districts followed. Metz became the capital of the Department of Moselle, created in 1790. The revolution visited great calamities upon the city. In the campaign of 1814 the army of the Sixth Coalition besieged the city, but was unable to take the city which was defended by a French army under command of General Durutte.

Surprise attack on the suburbs of Metz, during the Franco-Prussian War by Alphonse de Neuville.
Lithography of the Metz Cathedral in 1915 by Albert Robida.

1819: A view of Metz during the Bourbon Restoration

In July 1819, the Scottish born naval officer Norwich Duff visited Metz and recorded a detailed description of the town:

Metz is a large and strongly fortified town, situated on a plain at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille. It manufactures woollen goods, linen, china, paper, oil, starch and is famous for its hams, liquers, sweetmeats and artificial flowers: they also have a king's manufacture of gunpowder. The government house and the promenades round it are very fine: there is also [an] immense extent of barracks for troops, a large cathedral and a theatre. From the number of running ditches formed by the river there are a great many bridges: the streets, like in all French towns [sic], are narrow and dirty and the houses high: the ground is also very uneven on which they stand. Some street performers gave us a little very tolerable music during our dinner.

Metz and the Franco-Prussian War

During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, Metz was the headquarters of the Third French Army Corps under the command of General Bazaine. Through the operations of the German army, Bazaine, after the battles of Colombey, Mars-la-Tour, and Gravelotte was besieged in Metz. The besieging German army was commanded by Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia; as the few sorties of the garrison were unable to break the German lines, Metz was forced to surrender (27 October 1870), with the result that 6,000 French officers and 170,000 men were taken prisoner. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche took part in the siege of Metz as a German soldier. By the Treaty of Frankfurt of 1871, Metz became a German city, and was made a most important garrison and a strong fortress. The German army decided to build a second and a third fortified line around Metz. The former fortifications on the south and east were levelled in 1898, thus securing space for growth and development.

20th century and modern day Metz

Following the armistice with Germany ending the First World War, the French army entered Metz in November 1918 and the city was returned to France under the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. But after the Battle of France in 1940 during the Second World War, the city was immediately annexed by the German Third Reich. Most of the Nazi dignitaries assumed it was obvious that the city of Metz, where so many German army officers were born,[9] was a German city. In 1944, the attack on the city by the U.S. Third Army faced heavy resistance from the defending German forces, and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.[10] The Battle of Metz lasted for several weeks and the heavily fortified city of Metz was captured by the U.S. Army under the command of General George S. Patton before the end of November 1944.[11] Metz reverted to France after the war.

Troops of US 5th Infantry Division in Metz on 19 November 1944.

Nowadays, the military importance of Metz has decreased, and the city has diversified its economic base. Expansion has continued in the recent decades despite the economic crisis that besets the rest of Lorraine region. Metz is in the heart of a new economic region known as the SaarLorLux Euroregion, and combines the culture and economic aspects of this unique region in Europe. Since the 1970s, the city has developed its university and overall infrastructure for the European Greater Region. Metz's technopole is another example of the economic revival of Metz and its region. The technopole, a high-tech park spread over 180 ha (444.79 acres) specializing in information technology, was established in 1983 and has attracted over 200 companies, 4,000 employees and 4,500 students. World-class academic institutions such as Arts et Métiers ParisTech, Georgia Tech (Georgia Tech Lorraine) and Supélec along with established companies including ProConsultant, SFR and TDF are located at the technopole.

In 2010, Metz opened a branch of the Parisian Pompidou centre, the Centre Pompidou-Metz, inaugurated by the president of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, on 12 May 2010. He stated that "the Lorraine region has suffered greatly in recent decades from restructuring, transfers, changes, the textile and steel industries, the mines, the military (...) In this remarkable architectural gesture, we will from now on be able to take hold of the renaissance of Metz and the renaissance of Lorraine."[12] Indeed, in addition of the arrival of the high-speed rail connections in 2007 and the Pompidou centre in 2010, the municipality launched urban renewal plans (e.g., edification of the modern Amphithéatre district, reconversion of Metz's extensive military facilities); important infrastructure projects (e.g., building of the Mercy high-tech hospital, refurbishment of squares, public ways, and Saint-Symphorien stadium, improvement of public transportation); ambitious cultural and educational programmes (e.g., construction of a new popular music venue, creation of a veterinary school, establishment of the Lorraine-University along with Nancy); and economic and industrial development (e.g., extension and creation of a second technopole).

Politics and administration

The city hall by night, work of architect Jacques-François Blondel, on the town square, the Place d'Armes.

List of mayors of Metz

Période Name Party Others
2008 Today Dominique Gros PS Engineer, general councillor of Moselle, vice-president of Metz Métropole
1971 2008 Jean-Marie Rausch UMP minister, senator of Moselle, president of Metz Métropole, president of the Regional council of Lorraine
1947 1970 Raymond Mondon RI minister, MP for Moselle
1938 1947 Gabriel Hocquard Unknown Unknown
1924 1938 Paul Vautrin Bloc Lorrain General councillor of Moselle

Capital and prefecture of the Lorraine and Moselle

The Lorraine parliament is held in the former Saint-Clement abbey in Metz. Metz is also home of the council of Moselle and the Lorraine prefecture is located in the former Intendant palace.

City administrative division

Remains of the Roman aqueduct from Jouy-aux-Arches to Metz (2nd century AD).

The city of Metz is divided into different administrative divisions:

  • Metz Nord (harbour zone)
  • The Islands (opera house, Protestant Temple Neuf, Paul Verlaine University, the marina)
  • Metz downtown and Old City (Centre-Ville, Ste Croix, Outre-Seille, and l'Esplanade garden)
  • German Imperial District (railway station, Central Post Office, Ste-Therèse-de-l'Enfant-Jesus church)
  • Sablon (Centre Pompidou-Metz museum, indoor sport arena, Seille park)
  • Plantières and Queuleu (Queuleu fort)
  • Bellecroix (Bellecroix fort)
  • Vallières (Robert Schumann hospital)
  • Borny and Grigy (technopole)
  • La Grange-aux-Bois (congress centre, Mercy hospital and Mercy château)
  • Magny


Civilian architecture

Buildings with arcades on High Medieval Saint-Louis square.
Facade details of the Renaissance building, the House of Heads.

The city is famous for its yellow limestone architecture, due to the extensive use of the Jaumont stone. The historic district has kept part of the Gallo-Roman city planning. Indeed, Divodurum's Cardo Maximus, then called Via Scarponensis, includes today the Trinitaires, Taison, and Serpenoise streets and the Robert Schuman and General Leclerc avenues. The Decumanus Maximus is the ancestor of present-day En Fournirue and d'Estrées streets, passing in front of the Saint-Stephen cathedral from the 13th century.

Metz is home to a mishmash of architectural layers, witnessing its millennium history at the crossroad of different cultures.[13] Thus, from its Gallo-Roman past, the city conserves vestiges of the thermae (in the basement of Metz's museums), parts of the aqueduct, and Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains basilica. The Saint-Louis square with its arcades, where currency changers gathered, remains a major symbol of the High Medieval heritage of the city, as well as, a Knights Templar chapel. The Gothic cathedral, several churches and Hôtels, and two remarkable municipal granaries reflect the Late Middle Ages.

Examples of Renaissance architecture can be seen in the House of Heads (French: Maison des Têtes) and in the Burtaigne Hôtel from the 16th century. The Enlightenment is represented by buildings of the Petit-Saulcy island, the opera house and the prefecture palace built by Jacques Oger, and the court house built by Charles-Louis Clérisseau in 1776. Also, the city hall and buildings surrounding the town square are works of Jacques-François Blondel, awarded by the Royal Academy of Architecture to redesign the centre of Metz in 1755.

The German Imperial District was built during the first annexation of Metz by Otto von Bismarck to the German Empire. In order to germanify the city, Emperor Wilhelm II decided to create a new district shaped by a distinctive blend of Germanic architecture, including Renaissance, neo-Romanesque or neo-Classical, mixed with elements of art nouveau, art deco, Alsatian and mock-Bavarian styles. Moreover, the Jaumont stone, commonly used everywhere else in the city, was replaced by stones used in the Rhineland, like pink and grey sandstone, granite and basalt. The district, thought by German architect Conrad Wahn, features noteworthy buildings including the water tower, the impressive railway station, the Central Post-Office, the Mondon square (former Imperial square), and the large Foch avenue (former Kaiser Wihelm Ring).

Houses from the Belle Époque on Foch avenue in the German Imperial District.

Modern architecture can also be seen in the town. Hence the Fabert boarding high school built by architects Roger Parisot and Paul Micholeau in 1936 and the Sainte-Thérèse-de-l'Enfant-Jésus church was built by architect Roger-Henri Expert in 1954 in a thin-shell structure. Then, the fire station was designed by architect Georges-Henri Pingusson in 1960 and the Miséricorde chapel by architects Henri Drillen and Pierre Fauque in 1965. Subdivisions designed by architects Jean Dubuisson and Roger Gaertner (1978) can also be seen. The refurbishment of the former Ney Arsenal into a concert hall venue in 1989 by architect Ricardo Bofill represents the postmodernism movement. The city displays street furnitures designed by Philippe Starck and Norman Foster.

The Centre Pompidou-Metz museum represents a strong architectural initiative by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastine, marking the entrance of Metz into the 21st century. The building, along with the arena by Paul Chemetov built in 2002, will be the cornerstone of the Amphitheatre district. The new district of 27 ha (66.72 acres), conceived by architects and urban planners Nicolas Michelin and Jean-Paul Viguier, is currently under construction and includes the erection of a convention centre and a shopping mall. The inner district already encompasses the Seille park designed by landscape architect Jacques Coulon. The urban project is expected to be completed by 2015. Moreover, the Borny district, formally designed by architect Jean Dubuisson, is currently being extensively refurbished by urban planner Bernard Reichen, and will include a concert venue, conceived in music box shape by its architect Rudy Ricciotti. Its completion is expected in 2012.

Military architecture

As a historical Garrison town, Metz has been largely influenced by military architecture throughout its history. Indeed, from classical antiquity to the present, the city has been successively fortified or complemented in order to receive the troops stationed there. Thus, defensive walls from classical antiquity to 20th century are still visible today and are included in garden and park design along the Moselle and Seille rivers and in the city surroundings. A medieval city gate from the 13th century, named Germans' Gate (French: Porte des Allemands), has become one of the symbols of the city. Remains of the citadel from the 16th century and fortifications built by Louis de Cormontaigne are still visible today. Important barracks, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, are spread around the city, and some of them which are of architectural interest have reconverted to civilian facilities, e.g. the Arsenal. Ringing the city are extensive fortifications of Metz, that include early examples of Séré de Rivières system forts. Other forts were incorporated into the Maginot Line defence. A hiking trail on the Mont Saint-Quentin plateau passes through former military training zone and ends at the now abandoned military forts of the first belt, and also provides a high ground from which to survey the city.


Museums and exhibition halls

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is a museum of modern and contemporary arts, the largest temporary exhibition area outside Paris in France. The museum features exhibition from the extensive collection of the Pompidou centre (Europe's largest collection of 20th century art). Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and French Jean de Gastine, the building is remarkable for the complex and innovative carpentry of its roof. The museum also includes a theatre, an auditorium, and a restaurant terrace.

The Opera-Theatre of Metz by night, the oldest still functioning opera house in France.

The Golden Courtyard museums (French: La Cour d'Or) in reference to the palace of Austrasia's kings, are museums of Metz dedicated to the history of the city. The museums are divided into four sections (history and archeological, medieval, architecture, and fine arts), and incorporate the Gallo-Roman baths, the ancient Petites-Carmes abbey, the former Trinitarian church, and the Chèvremont medieval granary.

The 49Nord-6Est, the Lorraine's exhibition of contemporary art, is located in the Saint-Liver Hôtel, the oldest civic building of the city dating from the 12th century. The municipal archives, located in the Recollets cloisters, preserve and exhibit the historical records of Metz's municipality dating from medieval times to present. The Solange Bertrand foundation conserves and presents the works of the artist and organizes different art exhibitions. The city also boasts several private art galleries.

The Arsenal concert hall.

Entertainment and performing arts

The Opera-Theater of Metz is a 750-seat opera house on the Petit-Saulcy island. Designed in a Tuscany-influenced neo-Classical style by Jacques Oger and inaugurated in 1752, it is the oldest opera house working in France and one of the last possessing its own costume ateliers. The duke of Belle-Isle described it as "one of the most beautiful France's opera-theatre" at his time. The Metz opera works in close collaboration with the National Opera of Lorraine and features plays, choreographies, and lyric poetry.

The Arsenal is former military building turned into an exposition and concert hall by Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, and inaugurated by Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in 1989. The Arsenal is dedicated to art musics is widely renowned for its excellent acoustics and considered as one of the most beautiful concert halls in Europe.[14]

Located on the Sainte-Croix hill, Les Trinitaires is a multi-media arts complex housed in an ancient convent, whose vaulted cellar and chapel have been the city's prime venue for jazz music for over 45 years. Some big names of Jazz, such as American saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Archie Shepp, have performed there. The Gothic cloisters from the 13th century, used now as an open-air stage, housed once the Trinitarian Order founded by Saint John of Matha and Saint Felix of Valois. The arts complex includes also a theatre, an exhibition hall, and a bar.

Other venues, such as the Braun hall or the Bernard-Marie Koltès theater, contribute to the choice of performing halls in Metz. Finally, numerous associations and private music bars and theatres collaborate to the entertaining life in Metz.

Mirabelle brandy, a gastronomic symbol of the city and its surroundings.


Different recipes, such as jam, tart, charcuterie and fruit brandy, are made from the Mirabelle plum, which is one of the gastronomic symbols of the city and the surrounding area. Damson plum and rhubarb are also widely consumed. Other local specialties include the quiche, the potée, and also the suckling pig. Metz cuisine, as well as Mosellan and Alsatian cuisine, is also known for the use in vinaigrette dressings of Melfor vinegar, a local vinegar made with the infusion of honey and plants. Local beverages include Moselle wine and Amos beer. Also, Metz is the cradle of some pastries like the Metz's tart (cheese pie-like) and the Metz balls (French: boulet de Metz), a ganache-stuffed biscuit coated with marzipan, caramel, and dark chocolate.

Annual events

France's second largest flea market is held once or twice a month in the congress centre of Metz. In addition, many other events are celebrated in Metz throughout the year. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • Pilgrimage of Saint Blaise on 3 February
  • Funfair in May
  • Été du Livre, festival of literature in June
  • Bastille Day on 14 July
  • Macellum the first week-end of August
  • Mirabelle festival in August. Every year, the city of Metz dedicates two weeks to the Mirabelle plum. In addition to open markets selling fresh prunes, mirabelle tarts, mirabelle liquor, etc. there is live music, fireworks, parties, art exhibits, a parade with floral floats and competition, and the crowning of the Mirabelle Queen and a gala of celebration[15]
  • Les Montgolfiades de Metz, Europe's largest hot air balloon festival in September.
  • European Heritage Days, the third week-end of September
Graoully's effigy on Taison street

The legend of the Graoully

More details about the legend of the Graoully

The Graoully is depicted as a fearsome dragon, vanquished by the sacred powers of Metz's first bishop, Saint Clement. The Graoully quickly became a symbol of the town of Metz and can be see in numerous insignia of the city, since the 10th century. Authors from Metz tend to present the legend of the Graoully as a symbol of Christianity's victory over paganism, represented by the harmful dragon. Today, the Graoully remains one of the major symbols of Metz. A representation of the Graoully may be seen in the crypt in the cathedral. A semi-permanent sculpture of the Graoully is also suspended in mid-air on Taison street, near the cathedral, and the Graoully is shown on the heraldic emblems of football club and ice hockey team of the city.

Education and Research

High schools

Metz is home to numerous high schools. The most notable of them is the Fabert high school, reputed for its scientific education and its classes préparatoires in mathematics. Notable fellows of the school include Alexis de Tocqueville, Robert Schuman, Jean-Victor Poncelet, or Joachim von Ribbentrop.


Metz is home to the University of Lorraine (UdL).[16] The UdL is divided into two university centres in Metz (Material sciences, technology, and management) and one in Nancy (biological sciences, health care, administration, and management). The UdL has a student body of over 55,000 and offers 101 accredited research centres organized in 9 research areas and 8 doctoral colleges.[17]

The Paul-Verlaine University, Metz unit of the Lorraine University, was created in 1970 as the Germans had removed any university from Metz during the Alsace-Moselle annexation. Since then, the university has developed on three different main sites, Saulcy Island, Bridoux, and Metz-Technopôle. The Paul-Verlaine University enjoys a privileged position at a hub opening up to Germany and the Benelux, and has gained recognition for the development of joint Franco-German curricula. Metz's university has a student body of more than 17,000 and offers a wide range of multidisciplinary courses. Here is a list of institutes in Metz:


Georgia Tech Lorraine is home to the Lafayette Institute, which offers high tech service to industry, applied research and development, and spin-off companies in the optoelectronic sector.


The railway station in the German Imperial District.


The Gare de Metz-Ville is connected to the French high speed train (TGV) network, which provides a direct rail service to Paris and the city of Luxembourg. The time from Paris (Paris East station) to Metz train station is 82 minutes. Additionally Metz is served by the Lorraine TGV train station, located at Louvigny, 25 km (16 mi)to the south of Metz, for high speed trains going to Nantes, Rennes, Lille, or Bordeaux (without stopping in Paris). Also, Metz is one of the main stations of the regional express trains systems named Métrolor. One of the main lines is the Nancy-Metz-Luxembourg line, completed by many lines going to main cities of the area.


The Luxembourg international airport is the nearest international airport connected to Metz by Métrolor train. Also, Lorraine TGV station is 75 minutes by train from France international Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. Finally, Metz-Nancy-Lorraine Airport is the airport serving the Lorraine region. It is located in the city of Goin, at 16.5 km (10.25 mi) Metz southeast.

Motorways and local transportation

Metz is ideally located at the intersection of two major road axes: The Paris to Strasbourg A4 motorway, itself a part of the E50 motorway connecting Paris to Prague, and the A31 motorway, which goes north to Luxembourg and the Mediterranean Sea towards Nancy, Dijon, and Lyon.

Local transportation in the agglomeration is carried out by buses.


There is some significant cross border fluvial tourism on the Rhine-Moselle system. Additionally, Metz port is the biggest port handling cereals in France with over 4,000,000 tons/year.


Clubs and sports events

Metz is home to the Football Club of Metz (FC Metz), a football association club in Ligue 2, the second division of French football. FC Metz has twice won the French Cup (in 1984 and 1988) and the French League Cup (in 1986 and 1996), and was French championship runner-up in 1998. FC Metz has also gained recognition in France and Europe for its successful youth academy, winning the Gambardella Cup 3 times (in 1981, 2001, and 2010), and producing players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Miralem Pjanić, Louis Saha, or Papiss Cissé.

Metz is also home to the Open de Moselle, an ATP World Tour 250 tournament, which takes place usually in September. The tournament is played on indoor hard courts. Frenchman Arnaud Clément won the inaugural tournament in 2003, with players Ivan Ljubičić (2005), Novak Djokovic (2006), Tommy Robredo (2007), and Gilles Simon (2010) following his success.[18]

The Metz Handball is a Team Handball club is the current French women's champion and displaying 17 wins in French Woman First League championship, 7 wins in French Women League Cup, and 4 wins in French Women F.A. Cup. French Vice World Champion Allison Pineau, who plays for the club, was elected female IHF World Handball Player in 2009.[19]

Sports infrastructures

  • Saint-Symphorien stadium, a multi-purpose stadium built in 1923, home to FC Metz since the creation of the club.
  • Palais omnisport Les Arènes, nicknamed Les Arènes, an indoor sports arena built by architect Paul Chemetov in 2002. It is the home venue of the Metz Handball team.
  • Saint-Symphorien indoor arena with its ice rink home to Hockey Club Metz Moselle Lorraine, Ice Hockey team club of Metz
  • Plan d'Eau Saint-Symphorien, an expanse of water bulging from the Moselle river, used as a marina and for water sports
  • Garden Golf of Metz-Technopôle, designed by golf course architect Robert Berthet, is an 18-holes golf course on 50 hectares located near Metz's technopole
  • L'Anneau, an indoor athetics hall

Main Sights

The iconic Protestant Temple Neuf in the Garden of Love (French: Jardin d'Amour).
Interior view of Saint-Stephen cathedral, nicknamed The Good Lord's Lantern.

Religious heritage

  • Saint-Stephen, Gothic cathedral (French: cathédrale Saint-Étienne) built in the 13th century. The cathedral is sometimes nicknamed the Good Lord's lantern (French: la lanterne du Bon Dieu), possessing the largest expanse of stained glass windows in the world (6,500 m2 or 70,000 sq ft). The stained glass windows include works by Hermann von Münster (14th C); Théobald of Lixheim and Valentin Bousch (16th C); Laurent-Charles Maréchal (19th C); Roger Bissière, Jacques Villon and Marc Chagall (20th C). Moreover, the cathedral possesses the third highest nave in France (41.41 m – 136 ft).
  • Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains basilica, the oldest church in France built between 380 and 395 AD as a Roman gymnasium, was converted into a Christian basilica in the 7th century. The basilica is one of the birthplaces of the Roman Messin chant later called Gregorian chant.
  • Saint-Maximin church, built between 12th–15th century, features stained glass windows of Jean Cocteau. Here, theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet delivered eulogies and Paul Verlaine was baptized.
  • Notre-Dame-de-Metz church built during the 18th century in the Jesuit style and once part of a Jesuit complex. The church displays stained glass windows of Laurent-Charles Maréchal (19th C).
  • Sainte-Thérèse-de-l'Enfant-Jésus church (20th C) displays stained glass windows of Nicolas Untersteller. The building has a thin-shell structure designed by architect Roger-Henri Expert, and possesses a spire in the form of a pilgrim's staff of 70 m (229.64 ft) high.
  • Sainte-Ségolène church (13th C).
  • Saint-Martin church (12th C, Laurent-Charles Maréchal's stained glass windows).
  • Saint-Pierre-de-la-Citadelle church.
  • Saint-Euchaire church.
  • Saint-Clément church (17th C, now regional council of Lorraine).
  • Saint-Vincent abbey (10th C)
  • Recollets cloisters (14th C), housing today the municipal archives and the European Institute of Ecology
  • Trinitarian Order cloisters (13th C), today a multi-media arts complex which promotes jazz music.
  • Chapel of the Knights Templar (13th C), built in Romanesque style and once part of the commandry of the Knights Templar. The chapel features important murals.
  • Protestant Temple Neuf (New Church)(1901–1904), neo-Romanesque church, built during the German annexation by German architect Conrad Wahn
  • Protestant church of the German Garrison (1875–1881), neo-Gothic church. Only the bell tower has survived as the church was partially destroyed by Allied bombing during the Second World War.
  • Synagogue (1848–1850) built in neo-Romanesque style
  • Christian necropolis from the 19th century
  • Jewish Cemetery of Metz-Chambière

Civil heritage

  • House of François Rabelais (12th C), including Sainte-Genest chapel (13th C)
  • Paul Verlaine, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, André Schwarz-Bart, Gustave Kahn, Gabriel Pierné, and Charles Pêtre native houses
  • Chèvremont and Antonistes granaries (respectively from 13th and 14th century)
  • Saint-Livier Hôtel (12th C); Bulette Hôtel (14th C); Heu and Gargan Hôtels (15th C); Burtaigne and Gournay Hôtels (16th C); House of Heads (16th C)
  • Opera house, built between 1732 and 1752 in Tuscany-influenced neo-Classical style
  • Covered market, one of the oldest, most grandiose in France. Originally built in 1785 as the palace for the bishop of Metz, the French Revolution broke out before he could move in and the citizens decided to turn it into a food market.
  • Centre Pompidou-Metz, built between 2006 and 2010, museum of modern and contemporary art designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and his colleague Jean Gastine
Governor's palace in Metz, former residence of Emperor Wilhelm II during his visits to Metz.

Administrative heritage

  • City hall and the tourism office, built by architect Jacques-François Blondel in neo-Classical style in 1755
  • Hôtel de l'Intendance, prefecture palace, from the 18th century, neo-Classical style
  • Courthouse, built by Charles-Louis Clérisseau in neo-Classical style during the 18th century. It is in this building, then the Governor's Palace, that the famous dinner of Metz took place. During the dinner organized by Broglie-Ruffec, the duke of Gloucester convinced Lafayette that the insurgent's revolt in America was in some measure justified. Lafayette wrote in his memoirs that at this dinner when he "(...) first learned of that quarrel, [his] heart was enlisted and [he] thought only of joining the colours".
  • Railway station, a 300m long neo-Romanesque building designed by German architect Jurgen Kröger between 1905 and 1908. The station echoes the shape of the church (at the departure hall with the clock tower, said to have been designed by the Kaiser himself) and an imperial palace (at the arrivals hall and the station restaurant), which is a reminder of the religious and temporal powers of the Holy Roman emperors. In the great hallway, the Emperor Charlemagne is depicted on a stained glass window sitting on his throne. The statue of the Knight Roland on a corner of the clock tower represents the imperial protection over Metz.
  • Central post office, neo-Romanesque building built by German architect Ludwig Bettcher between 1908 and 1911
  • Governor's palace (former General-Kommando), built by German architects Schönhals and Stolterfoth between 1902 and 1905 in neo-Flemish style. Once the residence of Emperor Wilhelm II during his visits to Metz, the mansion is used today as the headquarters of the commander in chief of the North-East military region of France.
Tropaion of the Ney barracks, 1854.

Military heritage

  • City gates: Porte des Allemands (13th and 15th centuries), Chandellerue gate (13th C), and Serpenoise gate (19th C)
  • Ruins of city walls (2nd, 13th, 15th, and 17th centuries from Louis de Cormontaigne), and supplies shop of the military citadel from the 16th century (today a luxury hotel called La Citadelle)
  • Extensive fortifications of Metz. The fortifications of the first belt include early examples of Séré de Rivières system forts (Fort de Plappeville, "groupe fortifié du Mont St-Quentin").
  • Fort de Queuleu (19th C), also called the Hell of Queuleu, was used by Germans as a detention and interrogation centre for members of the French Resistance during the Second World War.
  • Former arsenal built in 1859, today a concert hall dedicated to erudite musics
  • War memorial of Paul Niclausse (1935), art deco sculpture representing a mother cradling the dead body of her son
The Plan d'Eau Saint-Symphorien and its marina. In the background, the Saint-Stephen cathedral.

Public gardens

  • Esplanade garden, located close to Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains basilica and the Arsenal auditorium, a 9,200 m2 (140.5 sq ft) French style garden, offering a commanding view of the Saint-Quentin plateau. On the Esplanade, Philippe Pétain received his marshal's baton from President Raymond Poincaré and Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau in November 1918. The garden also hosted a World Fair in 1861.
  • Seille park, located near Centre Pompidou-Metz, is a public garden designed by landscape architect Jacques Coulon
  • Marina of the Plan d'Eau Saint-Symphorien
  • Régates garden, an English-garden park stretching around the bottom of the ramparts of the old citadel
  • Tanneurs garden, gives a commanding view of the city's roofs
  • Botanical garden, called jardin botanique de Metz


Saint-Jacques square with its cafés participates to the quality of life in Metz.
  • Place d'Armes, the town square surrounded by the city hall and the Saint-Stephen cathedral
  • Chamber square and adjacent Saint-Stephen square, once used as an amphitheatre for Mystery plays during the Middle Ages
  • Comedy square, parvise of the opera house. It is the square where the guillotine was erected for executions during the French Revolution.
  • General de Gaulle square, parvise of the railway station
  • Human rights's parvise, parvise of the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum
  • John Paul II square, parvise of the Saint-Stephen cathedral and the market hall
  • Mondon square (former Imperial square), surrounded by the current chamber of commerce and the former chamber of trade
  • Mazelle square, livestock marketplace during the Middle Ages
  • Republic square, adjacent to the Esplanade garden and in the heart of the city, serves as Metz's civic center
  • Saint-Louis square, medieval market square from the 13th C. The alignment of the buildings surrounding the square corresponds to the original Roman ramparts which were used for the actual foundations. During medieval times, the square used to accommodate money changers and also trade fairs and religious theatre plays under the vaulted gallery and arches.
  • Saint-Jacques square, located in the commercial and pedestrian historic downtown. The public square is surrounded by busy bars and pubs, whose open-air tables fill the centre of the square.

Metz in arts

The Metz School

The Metz School (French: École de Metz) was an art movement in Metz and its region gathering around Laurent-Charles Maréchal between 1834 and 1870. Originally the term was proposed in 1845 by poet Charles Baudelaire, who appreciated the works of the artists. They were influenced by Eugène Delacroix and inspired by the medieval heritage of Metz and its romantic surroundings. The Franco-Prussian War and the annexation of the land by the Germans resulted in the dismantling of the movement. Main figures of Metz School are Laurent-Charles Maréchal, Auguste Migette, Auguste Hussenot, Louis-Théodore Devilly, Christopher Fratin, and Charles Pêtre. Their works encompass paintings, engravings, drawings, stained-glass windows, and sculptures.

Painting and printing

Monsù Desidero represented a general view of the city at the beginning of the 17th century from the high ground of the Bellecroix hill. Painter Auguste Migette created many drawings and sketches showing ancient monuments of the town, as well as monumental paintings representing the most significant moments in local history. He left his works and manuscript to the city and they are today exhibited in the museums of Metz. Also, in his work dedicated to The Beautiful Gallic Cities between the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, Albert Robida depicted in a lithography the Saint-Stephen cathedral.

Poetry and literature

During the German annexation of the city, French poet Paul Verlaine dedicated a poem to his hometown. Making reference to the Bazaine's treachery and to the French revanchism, he wrote:

(...) O Metz, my fateful cradle, – Metz raped and more demure – And more maiden than ever! – O city where my childhood was laughing, – O citadel with no defence – That a chief outstripped by shame, – O Mother that I loved. (...) Metz with its magnificent open countries, – Prolific undulating rivers, – Wooded hillsides, vineyards of fire; – Cathedral all in volute, – Where the wind sings as a flute, – And responding to it via the Mutte,[20] – This big voice of the good Lord! (...)
Paul VerlaineOde to Metz, Invectives

German author Adrienne Thomas published in 1930 a harsh criticism of the war with the First World War best-seller novel Katrin becomes a soldier (German: Die Katrin wird soldat). The text is a diaristic novel based on Thomas’s own life, describing her work at the Metz's railway mission and then as a hospital nurse during the war. The work centres upon the area around Metz, then in German territory, and not only poised between France and Germany linguistically and culturally, but very close indeed to the Western Front and on the direct line to Verdun. The text was banned in Germany during the Third Reich.[21]


Metz is the seat of the National Orchestra of Lorraine. Violist, composer Alain Celo has written a piece for ensemble entitled The Graoully, Messin dragon. The piece is a musical story with narration depicting the epic fight between Saint Clement and the legendary dragon in the Roman amphitheater.

Like Adrienne Thomas, French singer Bernard Lavilliers mentioned the Metz's railway station in his work. In a song entitled Le buffet de la gare de Metz on album Le Stéphanois from 1975, he described the sort of melancholy Teutonic beauty of the building located in the German Imperial District, and the smoky, strange atmosphere of its station restaurant, where "the poetry is there, Verlaine resuscitated."

Notable people linked to Metz

Notable people from Metz

Notable people linked to the city

International relations

House of Europe, house of Robert Schuman, one the founders of the European Union.

Metz is a fellow member of the QuattroPole union of cities, along with Luxembourg, Saarbrücken, and Trier (neighbouring countries: Luxembourg, France, and Germany). Metz also forms a central place of the Greater Region and of the economic SaarLorLux Euroregion.

Twin towns – Sister cities

Metz is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ "Metz municipal council, April 2010." (PDF). Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Culture - Metz et Nancy fusionnent - Lorraine - Culture - France 3 Régions - France 3
  4. ^ Toussaint M (1948) Metz à l'époque Gallo-Romaine, Metz pp. 21–22
  5. ^ History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon. 1788 vol. 4 chapter 35.
  6. ^ James Grier Ademar de Chabannes, Carolingian Musical Practices, and "Nota Romana", Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Spring, 2003), pp. 43–98, retrieved July 2007
  7. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Metz". Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  8. ^ KRAUS, Franz Xaver :Kunst und Altertum in Lothringen, Strasburg, 1889
  9. ^ Admiral Hans Benda (1877–1951), General Arthur Kobus (1879–1945), General Günther Rüdel (1883–1950), General Joachim Degener (1883–1953), General Wilhelm Baur (1883–1964), General Hermann Schaefer (1885–1962), General Bodo Zimmermann (1886–1963), General Walther Kittel (1887–1971), General Hans von Salmuth (1888–1962), General Karl Kriebel (1888–1961), General Arthur von Briesen (1891–1981), General Eugen Müller (1891–1951), General Ernst Schreder (1892–1941), General Ludwig Bieringer (1892–1975), General Edgar Feuchtinger (1894–1960), General Kurt Haseloff (1894–1978), General Hans-Albrecht Lehmann (1894–1976), General Theodor Berkelmann (1894–1943), General Hans Leistikow (1895–1967), General Rudolf Schmundt (1896–1944), General Wilhelm Falley (1897–1944), General Julius von Bernuth (1897–1942), General Herbert Gundelach (1899–1971),General Joachim-Friedrich Lang (1899–1945), General Heinz Harmel (1906–2000), Erich von Brückner (1896–1949), Helmuth Bode (1907–1985), Johannes Mühlenkamp (1910–1986), Peter-Erich Cremer (1911–1992), Joachim Pötter (1913–1992), Ludwig Weißmüller (1915–1943), Walter Bordellé (1918–1984) among others.
  10. ^ "Metz, 1944 One More River". World War Two Books. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  11. ^ Youtube video about the the fortifications of Metz (inner ring)
  12. ^ "Inauguration du Centre Pompidou de Metz – Présidence de la République". Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ Les hauts lieux de la musique. Classica September 2010, issue 125
  15. ^ Youtube video about the Mirabelle festival
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ "University of Lorraine.". 
  18. ^ "Tennis – ATP World Tour – Tennis Tournament – Open de Moselle – Metz, France". ATP World Tour. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ The Mutte is the large bell of Saint-Stephen cathedral, dating from 1605.
  21. ^ Brian Murdoch: Hinter die kulissen des krieges sehen: Adrienne Thomas, Evadne Price – and E. M. Remarque, 1992, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Vol. xxviii No. 1

External links

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed (1913). "Metz". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

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