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Metz, France

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Title: Metz, France  
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Subject: Lorraine (duchy), Nikolay Davydenko, Mike MacDonald (comedian), Paul Duchesnay, Jesús Ángel García, Ivano Brugnetti, Juan Manuel Molina, Susana Feitor, Denis Nizhegorodov, María Vasco
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Metz, France

For other uses, see Metz (disambiguation).

Municipalité de Metz
Saint-Stephen Cathedral, view of the northern façade.

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The Maid (15th century); The Unviolated (15th century); The Green City (20th century)
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 Agglomeration community Metz Metropole
Founded 5th century BC
Prefecture  Lorraine; Moselle
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Dominique Gros (PS)
 • Commune 41.94 km2 (16.19 sq mi)
 • Metro 277 km2 (107 sq mi)
Highest elevation 358 m (1,175 ft)
Lowest elevation 162 m (531 ft)
Population (2008)
 • Commune 121,841
 • Density 2,905/km2 (7,520/sq mi)
 • Metro 389,851
Demonym Messin
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ZIP codes 57000; 57050; 57070
Dialing code +33 03
Website Metz Metropole

Metz (French pronunciation: [mɛs]; German pronunciation: [mɛts]) is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers. Metz is the capital and the prefecture of both the Lorraine region and the Moselle department.[1][2][3][4] Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg,[5] Metz forms a central place of the European Greater Region and the SaarLorLux euroregion.[6]

A Celtic oppidum, an important Gallo-Roman city,[7] the Merovingian capital of the Austrasia kingdom,[8] the birthplace of the Carolingian dynasty,[9] a cradle of the Gregorian chant,[10] and one of the oldest republics of the common era in Europe,[11] Metz has a rich 3,000-year-history.[12] The city has been steeped in Romance culture, but has been strongly influenced by Germanic culture due to its location and history.[13]

Metz possesses one of the largest Urban Conservation Areas in France,[14] and more than 100 buildings of the city are classified on the Monument Historique list.[15] Because of its historical and cultural background, Metz benefits from its designation as French Town of Art and History.[16][17] The city features noteworthy buildings such as the Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral,[18][19] the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains,[20] its Station Palace,[21] or its Opera House, the oldest one working in France.[22] Metz is home to some world-class venues including the Arsenal Concert Hall and the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum.

A basin of urban ecology,[23][24] Metz gained its nickname of The Green City (French: La Ville Verte),[25] as it has extensive open grounds and public gardens.[26] The historic downtown is one of the largest commercial pedestrian areas in France.[27][28] French photographer and environmental activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand captured Metz from high up, giving a privileged aerial view of the city and its natural environment.[29]

A historic garrison town, Metz is the economic heart of the Lorraine region, being specialized in information technology and automotive industries. Metz is home to the University of Lorraine and a centre for applied research and development in the materials sector, notably in metallurgy and metallography,[30] the heritage of the Lorraine region's past in the iron and steel industry.[31]


In ancient times, the town was known as "city of Mediomatrici," being inhabited by the tribe of the same name.[32] After its integration into the Roman Empire, the city was called Divodurum Mediomatricum, meaning Holy Village or Holy Fortress of the Mediomatrici,[33] then it was known as Mediomatrix.[32] During the 5th century AD, the name evolved to "Mettis", which gave rise to Metz.[32]


Main article: History of Metz, France

Metz has a recorded history dating back over 3,000 years. Before the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, it was the oppidum of the Celtic Mediomatrici tribe.[12] Integrated into the Roman Empire, Metz became quickly one of the principal towns of Gaul until the barbarian depredations and its transfer to the Franks about the end of the 5th century.[12][34][35] Between the 6th and 8th centuries, the city became then the residence of the Merovingian kings of Austrasia.[8] Consecutively to the Treaty of Verdun in 843, Metz became the capital of the kingdom of Lotharingia and was ultimately integrated into the Holy Roman Empire granting semi-independent status.[12] During the 12th century, Metz rose to the status of Republic and the Republic of Metz ruled until the 15th century.[11] With the signature of the Treaty of Chambord in 1552, Metz was passed to the hands of the Kings of France.[12][36] Under the French rule, Metz was selected as capital of the Three Bishoprics and became a strategic fortified town.[12][37] With creation of the departments by the Estates-General of 1789, Metz was chosen as capital of the Department of Moselle.[12] After the defeat of France during the Franco-Prussian War and according to the Treaty of Frankfurt of 1871, the city was annexed into the German Empire, being part of the Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine and serving as capital of the German Department of Lorraine.[38] Metz remained German until the end of World War I, when it reverted to France.[39] However, after the Battle of France during the Second World War, the city was annexed once more by the German Third Reich.[12] In 1944, the attack on the city by the U.S. Third Army freed the city from German rule and Metz reverted one more time to France after World War II.[40][41]

During the 1950s, Metz was chosen to be the capital of the newly created Lorraine region.[42] With the creation of the European Communities and the latter European Union, the city has became a central place of the Greater Region and the SaarLorLux Euroregion.[42]


Metz is located on the banks of the Moselle and the Seille rivers, at 43 km (26.7 mi) from the Schengen tripoint where the borders of France, Germany, and Luxembourg meet.[5] The city was built in a place where many branches of the Moselle river creates several islands, which are encompassed within the urban planning.[29]

The land of Metz forms part of the Paris Basin and presents a plateau relief cut by river valleys presenting cuestas in the north-south direction.[43] Metz and its open countries are included into the forest and crop Lorraine Regional Natural Park, covering a total area of 205,000 ha (506,566.0 acres).[44]


The weather in Lorraine is associated to a semi continental climate.[45] The summers are humid and hot, sometimes stormy, and the warmest month of the year is August, when temperatures average approximately 26 °C (78.8 °F). The winters are cold and snowy with temperature dropping to an average of −0.5 °C (31.1 °F) in January. Lows can be much colder through the night and early morning and the snowy period extends from November to February.[46]

The length of the day varies significantly over the course of the year.[47] The shortest day is 21 December with 8:01 hours of sunlight; the longest day is 20 June with 15:58 hours of sunlight. The median cloud cover is 93% and does not vary substantially over the course of the year.[46]

Climate data for Metz, France
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.6
Average high °C (°F) 4.8
Average low °C (°F) −0.5
Record low °C (°F) −1.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 64
Avg. snowy days 8.0 6.5 1.1 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0.4 2.3 7.5 29
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54 78 126 178 202 219 226 213 158 98 49 41 1,642
Source: [1]



The inhabitants of Metz are called Messins. Statistics on ethnic and religious groups of the population of Metz are haphazard, as the French Republic prohibits performing census by making distinction between its citizens regarding their race, their beliefs, and their political and philosophic opinions.[49]

The French national census of 2009 estimated the population of Metz to be 121,841, while the population of Metz urban agglomeration was about 389,851.[50] Through history, Metz's population has been impacted by the vicissitudes of the wars and the annexations involving the city and avoiding a continuous population growth. More recently, the city has suffered from the military and metallurgy industry restructurings.[51] The historical population for the current area of Metz municipality is as follows:[52][53]

Year 1793 1800 1806 1821 1836 1841 1861 1871 1880 1890 1900
Number of inhabitants 36,878 32,099 39,131 42,030 42,793 39,767 56,888 51,332 53,131 60,186 58,462
Year 1910 1921 1931 1946 1962 1975 1982 1990 1999 2009
Number of inhabitants 68,598 62,311 78,767 70,105 102,771 111,869 114,232 119,594 123,776 121,841

Notable people linked to the city

Several well-known figures have been linked to the city of Metz throughout its history. The city has been the native town of renown Messins, including poet Paul Verlaine,[54] composer Ambroise Thomas, and mathematician Jean-Victor Poncelet, and numerous well-known German figures were also born in Metz notably during the annexation periods. Moreover, the city has also been the residence of people such as writer François Rabelais, Cardinal Mazarin, political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, La Fayette, and Luxembourgish-born German-French statesman Robert Schuman.

Law and government

Local law

The local law (French: droit local) applied in Metz is a legal system, which operates in parallel with French law. Created in 1919, it preserves the French laws applied in France before 1870 and maintained by the Germans during the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, but were repealed in the rest of France after 1871. It also maintains German laws enacted by the German Empire between 1871 and 1918, the specific provisions adopted by the local authorities, and the French laws that have been enacted after 1919 to be applicable only in Alsace-Lorraine. This specific local legislation encompasses different areas, such as religion, social, work, and finance.

The most striking of the legal differences between France and Alsace-Lorraine is the absence in Alsace-Lorraine of a strict secularism, even though a constitutional right of freedom of religion is guaranteed by the French government. Alsace-Lorraine is still governed by a pre-1905 law established by the Concordat of 1801, which provides for the public subsidy of the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinist churches and the Jewish religion.


As every commune of the actual French Republic, Metz is managed by a mayor (French: maire) and a municipal council (French: conseil municipal), democratically elected by two-round proportional voting for six years.[55] The mayor is assisted by 54 municipal councilors,[56] and the municipal council is held the last Thursday of every month.[57][58] Since 2008,[59] the mayor of Metz is socialist Dominique Gros.[60]

The city is member of the Metz Metropole union of cities, gathering the 40 cities of the Metz urban agglomeration.[61] Also, Metz is home to the Lorraine region and the prefecture of the Moselle, held in the formers Saint-Clement Abbey and Intendant palace, respectively.[42]

City administrative divisions

The city of Metz is divided into 14 administrative divisions:[62]

Number District Sights Location
1 Devant-les-Ponts Devalliere barracks
2 Metz-Nord Patrotte Harbour zone
3 Les îles Lorraine Parliament, University of Lorraine, Lycée Fabert, Cogeneration Plant
4 Plantières-Queuleu Queuleu Fort
5 Bellecroix Bellecroix Fort
6 Metz-Vallières Robert Schuman private hospital
7 Borny University of Lorraine, Contemporary Music Venue
8 Grigy-Technopôle University of Lorraine, Georgia Tech Lorraine
9 Grange aux Bois Trade Fair Center, Regional Hospital of Metz-Thionville
10 Sablon Centre Pompidou-Metz, Indoor Sports Arena
11 Magny
12 Nouvelle Ville Chamber of Commerce, Railway Station, Central Post Office
13 Metz Centre City Hall, Prefecture, Diocese of Metz and Saint-Stephen Cathedral, Arsenal Concert Hall, Opera House
14 Ancienne Ville Golden Courtyard Museum, Regional Contemporary Arts Gallery of Lorraine, Jazz Concert Venue

Cityscape and environmental policy

Metz is home to a mishmash of architectural layers, witnessing its millennium history at the crossroad of different cultures,[63] and features architectural landmarks.[64] French aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand captured Metz from high up, giving a privileged view of Metz's urban area and monuments.[29][65] Highlights include Metz Cathedral; the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum (night and day views); several skyscapes, and Metz's wooded hillsides.[29][65]

The city is famous for its yellow limestone architecture, due to the extensive use of the Jaumont stone.[64][66] The historic district has kept part of the Gallo-Roman city planning with the Divodurum's Cardo Maximus, then called Via Scarponensis (today the Trinitaires, Taison, and Serpenoise streets), and the Decumanus Maximus (today En Fournirue and d'Estrées streets).[67] At the Cardo and Decumanus intersection was situated the Roman forum, today the Saint-Jacques Square.

Civilian architecture

From its Gallo-Roman past, the city conserves vestiges of the thermae (in the basement of the Golden Courtyard museum), parts of the aqueduct,[68] and the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains.[20]

The Saint-Louis square with its vaulted arcades remains a major symbol of the High Medieval heritage of the city, as well as, a Knights Templar chapel. The Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral, several churches and Hôtels, and two remarkable municipal granaries reflect the Late Middle Ages.[19][69][70][71][72] Examples of Renaissance architecture can be seen in Hôtels from the 16th century, such as the House of Heads (French: Maison des Têtes).[64]

The city hall and buildings surrounding the town square are works of French architect Jacques-François Blondel, awarded by the Royal Academy of Architecture to redesign and modernize the centre of Metz in 1755 in a context of Enlightenment.[73][74] Also, Neoclassical edifices from the 18th century, such as the Opera House,[22] the Intendant palace (the present-day prefecture),[75] and the Royal Governor palace (the present-day courthouse) built by Charles-Louis Clérisseau, are found in the city.[64]

The Imperial District was built during the first annexation of Metz by Otto von Bismarck to the German Empire.[76] 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.[76] 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.[76] The district features noteworthy buildings including the impressive Station Palace and the Central Post Office by German architect Jürgen Kröger.[21]

Modern architecture can also be seen in the town with works of French architects Roger-Henri Expert (Sainte-Thérèse-de-l'Enfant-Jésus church, 1934), Georges-Henri Pingusson (Fire Station, 1960), and Jean Dubuisson (subdivisions, 1960s).[17][77][78] The refurbishment of the former Ney Arsenal into a Concert Hall in 1989 and the erection of the Metz Arena in 2002, by architects Spanish Ricardo Bofill and French Paul Chemetov respectively, represent the Postmodern movement.[64]

The Centre Pompidou-Metz museum represents a strong architectural initiative marking the entrance of Metz into the 21st century.[79] Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, the building is remarkable for the complex, innovative carpentry of its roof,[80][81] and integrates concepts of sustainable architecture. The Centre Pompidou-Metz is the cornerstone of the Amphitheatre District, currently under construction and conceived by French architects Nicolas Michelin, Jean-Paul Viguier, and Christian de Portzamparc and designer Philippe Starck.[82] The urban project is expected to be completed by 2023.[82][83]

Urban ecology

Under the leadership of people like botanist Jean-Marie Pelt, Metz pioneered a policy of urban ecology during the early 1970s.[23] Because of the urban and popular signs of failure of the post-war urban planning and housing estate occurring in Europe during the 1960s and mostly based on the concepts of CIAM,[84][85][86] Jean-Marie Pelt, then municipal councilor of Metz, initiated a refoundation of the approach on urban environment.[24]

Based initially on the ideas of the Chicago School, Pelt's theories pled for a better integration of humans into their environment and developed a concept centered around the relation between "stones and waters".[23][87][88] His policy was materialized in Metz by the establishment of extensive open grounds surrounding the Moselle and the Seille rivers and the development of large pedestrian areas. So, Metz displays over 37 m2 (400 sq ft) of open ground per inhabitant through multiple public gardens dispatched into the city.[26]

Since, the concepts of urban ecology are still applied in Metz with the implementation of a local Agenda 21 action plan.[28] The municipal, ecological policy encompasses the sustainable refurbishment of ancient buildings,[89][90] erection of sustainable districts and edifices, green public transports,[91] and creation of public gardens via landscape architecture concepts.[92]

Also, the city has also developed its own combined heat and power station, using waste wood biomass from the surrounding forests as renewable energy source.[93][94] With a thermal efficiencies above 80%, the 45MW boiler of the plant provides electricity and heat for 44,000 dwellings and the power station of Metz is the first local producer and distributor of energy in France.[95]

Military architecture

As a historic Garrison town, Metz has also been largely influenced by military architecture throughout its history.[96] From Ancient history to the present, the city has been successively fortified or complemented in order to receive the troops stationed there. So, defensive walls from classical antiquity to the 20th century are still visible today and are included in public gardens designed along the Moselle and Seille rivers.[96] A medieval bridge castle from the 13th century, named Germans' Gate (French: Porte des Allemands), has become one of the landmarks of the city. Remains of the citadel from the 16th century and fortifications built by Louis de Cormontaigne are still visible today.[97] 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, such as the Arsenal Concert Hall.

Ringing the city are extensive fortifications of Metz, that include early examples of Séré de Rivières system forts.[98] Other forts were incorporated into the Maginot Line.[99] A hiking trail on the Saint-Quentin plateau passes through former military training zone and ends at the now abandoned military forts, providing a high ground from which to survey the city.[100][101]


Though steel industry has historically dominated Moselle's economy, Metz's efforts in economic diversification have created a base in the sectors of commerce, tourism, and information technology and automotive industries. The city is the economic heart of the Lorraine region and around 73,000 people are working daily within the urban agglomeration area.[102] The transportation facilities found in the urban agglomeration, including the international high-speed rail, motorway, and inland connections and the local bus rapid transit system, have placed the city in an exchange hub in the European union's heart.[103] So, Metz is home to the biggest harbour handling cereals in France with over 4,000,000 tons/year.[104]

Metz is home to the chamber of commerce of Moselle. Some international companies, such as PSA Peugeot Citroën, ArcelorMittal, SFR, and TDF, have established plants and centres in the Metz urban agglomeration. Also, Metz hosts the regional headquarters of Caisse d'Epargne and Banque Populaire banking groups.

Metz is an important commercial centre of northern France with France's biggest retailer federation, gathering around 2,000 retailers.[105] Important store companies are found in the city, such as the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores and the Fnac entertainment retail chain. The historical downtown displays one of the largest commercial, pedestrian areas in France and a mall, the Saint-Jacques centre, in addition to the multiplex movie theatre and malls found in the urban agglomeration.

In recent years, Metz municipality have promoted an ambitious policy of the tourism development, including urban revitalization and refurbishment of edifices and public squares.[106][107] This policy has been spurred by the creation of the Centre Pompidou-Metz in 2010.[108] Since its inauguration, the institution has became the most visited cultural venue in France outside Paris with 550,000 visitors/year.[109] Still, the Saint-Stephen Cathedral is the most visited edifice of the city accommodating 652,000 visitors/year.[110]

Culture and contemporary life

Main articles: Centre Pompidou-Metz, Regional Contemporary Art Fund of Lorraine, Metz Cathedral, Museums of Metz, Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Métropole, Arsenal de Metz, Place Saint-Jacques (Metz), Covered Market, Metz, FC Metz and Metz Handball

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 Centre Pompidou, the Europe's largest collection of 20th-century art.[111] The Centre Pompidou-Metz displays around 3 to 4 unique temporary exhibitions per year, which are not presented somewhere else. In addition of the temporary exhibitions, the Centre Pompidou-Metz features seasonal programming with contemporary live shows in its theater and organizes meetings and conferences in its auditorium with worldly recognized, as well as, local artists.[112] The museum also works in close collaboration with the Mudam in joint initiatives.[113]

Also, the FRAC Lorraine is a public collection of contemporary art of the Lorraine region. It is located in the 12th-century Saint-Liver Hôtel and organizes exhibitions of local and international contemporary artists.[114]

The Saint-Stephen Cathedral is the Gothic cathedral of the city built during the 13th century.[18] The cathedral exhibits the millennium rich collection of the Bishopric of Metz, including paraments and items used in the service of the Eucharist.[115][116][117] Metz Cathedral is sometimes nicknamed the Good Lord's Lantern (French: la Lanterne du Bon Dieu),[118] displaying the largest expanse of stained glass windows in the world with 6,500 m2 (70,000 sq ft). Those stained glass windows include works by Gothic and Renaissance master glass makers Hermann von Münster, Théobald of Lixheim, and Valentin Bousch and romantic Charles-Laurent Maréchal, tachist Roger Bissière, cubist Jacques Villon, and modernist Marc Chagall. Another church of the city displays a complete set of stained glass windows of French modernist Jean Cocteau.[119]

In addition, Metz features other museums and exhibition venues. The Golden Courtyard (French: la Cour d'Or) is a museum dedicated to the history of Metz, divided into four sections (e.g. archeology, medieval, architecture, and fine arts).[120] The Golden Courtyard displays a rich collection of Gallo-Roman and medieval finds and the vestiges of Gallo-Roman baths of Divodurum Mediomatricum, revealed by the extension works to the museums in the 1930s.

Also, the House of Verlaine (French: la Maison de Verlaine) is museum located in the native house of poet Paul Verlaine and dedicated to his artworks, featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions.[54][121] The Solange Bertrand foundation, located in the former house of the artist, conserves and presents her artworks.[122] The municipal archives preserve and exhibit the historical records of Metz's municipality dating from medieval times to present.[123]

Entertainment and performing arts

Metz displays several venues accommodating performing arts. So, the Opera House of Metz, the oldest opera house working in France, features plays, dance, and lyric poetry.[124] The Arsenal Concert Hall, dedicated to art music, is widely renowned for its excellent acoustics and considered as one of the most beautiful concert halls in Europe.[125][126] The Trinitarians Club is a multi-media arts complex housed in an ancient convent, which vaulted cellar and chapel have been the city's prime venue for jazz music.[127] The Music Box (French: Boite à Musique) is the concert venue dedicated to rock and electronic musics.[128] The Braun Hall and the Koltès Theater features plays, and the city possesses two movie theaters specialized in Auteur cinema. The Saint-Jacques Square, surrounded by busy bars and pubs whose open-air tables fill the centre of the square, participates to the quality of life in Metz. Numerous other associations and private music bars and theaters collaborate to the entertaining life in Metz.

Metz in the arts

Metz was an important cultural centre during the Carolingian Renaissance.[10] For example, Gregorian chant was created in Metz during the 8th century as a fusion of Gallican and ancient Roman repertory, and remains the oldest form of music still use in Western Europe. Then called Messin Chant, the bishops of Metz, notably Saint-Chrodegang, promoted its use for the Roman liturgy in Gallic lands in the favorable atmosphere of Carolingian monarchs. The Messin chant made two major contributions to the body of chant: it fitted the chant into the ancient Greek octoechos system, and invented an innovative musical notation, using neumes to show the shape of a remembered melody.[129] Also, Metz was an important centre of illumination of Carolingian manuscripts, producing some monuments of Carolingian book illumination such as the Drogo Sacramentary.[130][131]

The Metz School (French: École de Metz) was an art movement in Metz and its region gathering around Charles-Laurent Maréchal between 1834 and 1870.[132] 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.[132] 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 Charles-Laurent Maréchal, Auguste Migette, Auguste Hussenot, Louis-Théodore Devilly, Christopher Fratin, and Charles Pêtre.[132] Their works encompass paintings, engravings, drawings, stained-glass windows, and sculptures.

The Graoully dragon as symbol of the city

The Graoully is depicted as a fearsome dragon, vanquished by the sacred powers of Saint Clement of Metz, the first Bishop of the city. The Graoully quickly became a symbol of Metz and can be see in numerous insignia of the city, since the 10th century.[133] 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.[133]


Local specialties include the quiche, the potée, the Lorrain pâté, and also the suckling pig.[134][135] Different recipes, such as jam, tart, charcuterie and fruit brandy, are made from the Mirabelle and Damson plums.[134][135] Also, Metz is the cradle of some pastries like the Metz cheese pie and the Metz Balls (French: boulet de Metz), a ganache-stuffed biscuit coated with marzipan, caramel, and dark chocolate.[134] Local beverages include Moselle wine and Amos beer.[134][135]

The Covered Market of Metz is one of the oldest, most grandiose in France and is home to traditional local food producers and retailers. Originally built as the bishop's palace, the French Revolution broke out before the Bishop of Metz could move in and the citizens decided to turn it into a food market.[136] The adjacent Chamber's Square (French: Place de la Chambre) is surrounded by numerous local food restaurants.

Celebrations and events

Many events are celebrated in Metz throughout the year.[137] The city of Metz dedicates two weeks to the Mirabelle plum during the popular Mirabelle Festival held in August. During the festival, in addition to open markets selling fresh prunes, mirabelle tarts, and mirabelle liquor, 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.[138]

In addition, a festival of literature is held in June. The Montgolfiades hot air balloon festival is organized in September. The second most popular Christmas Market in France occurs in November and December.[139] Finally, a Saint Nicholas parade honors the patron saint of the Lorraine region in December.


Metz is also home to the Football Club of Metz (FC Metz), a football association club in Ligue 2, the second highest 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.[140] 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.[140] The Saint-Symphorien stadium is the home of the FC Metz since the creation of the club.

The Metz Handball is a Team Handball club. Metz Handball has won 18 times the French Women's First League championship, 7 times the French Women's League Cup, and 6 times the Women's France Cup.[141] The Metz Arena is the home of Metz Handball since 2002.

Since 2003, Metz is home to the Moselle Open, an ATP World Tour 250 tournament played on indoor hard courts, which takes place usually in September.[142]

Club Event Sport League Stadium
FC Metz[143] Association Football Ligue 2 Saint-Symphorien stadium
Metz Handball[144] Team Handball French Women's First League Metz Arena
Metz Hockey Club[145] Hockey French Men's Second League Saint-Symphorien Ice Ring
Metz Ronde Pétanque Pétanque French championship Saint-Symphorien Arena
Metz TT[146] Table Tennis French Women's Pro A; French Men's Pro B Saint-Symphorien Arena
Moselle Open[147] Tennis ATP World Tour 250 tournament Metz Convention Centre
Golden Mirabelle Open[148] Golf Allianz Golf Tour Technopole Golf Course
Mirabelle Metz Marathon[149] Athletics Metz Urban Agglomeration


Main article: University of Lorraine

Metz is home to numerous high schools, such as the Fabert High School, and the University of Lorraine (often abbreviated in UdL).[150] The university is divided into two university centers, one in Metz (material sciences, technology, and management) and one in Nancy (biological sciences, health care, administration, and management). The University of Lorraine has a student body of over 55,000 and offers 101 accredited research centers organized in 9 research areas and 8 doctoral colleges.[151] The campus of Metz, developed on three different sites within the city, 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.[152] The University of Lorraine is ranked in 2013 at the 14th place among the French universities and is among the top 300 universities in the world, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.[153]


Local transport

Public transport includes a bus rapid transit system, named Mettis.[154] Mettis vehicles are high-capacity hybrid bi-articulated buses built by Van Hool,[155] and stop at designated elevated tubes, complete with disability access. Mettis has its own planned and integrated transportation system, which includes two dedicated lines spread into Metz agglomeration. Mettis lanes A and B deserve the major facilities of the city (e.g. city centre, university campus, and hospitals), and a transport hub is located next to the railway station.[156]


The Railway Station of Metz is connected to the French high speed train (TGV) network, which provides a direct rail service to Paris and Luxembourg. The time from Paris (Paris Eastern Station) to Metz is 82 minutes. Additionally, Metz is served by the Lorraine TGV railway 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.


Metz is located at the intersection of two major road axes: the Eastern Motorway, itself a part of the European route E50 connecting Paris to Prague, and the A31 Motorway, which goes north to Luxembourg and south to the Mediterranean Sea towards Nancy, Dijon, and Lyon.


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


Metz is located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers, both navigable waterways. The marina connects Metz to the cities of the Moselle valley (i.e. Trier, Schengen, and Koblenz) via the Moselle river.

Main sights

Religious heritage

Civil heritage

Administrative heritage

Military heritage

  • the German's Gate from the 13th century, last medieval bridge castle in France. The fortification played a crucial defensive role during the siege of Metz in 1552–1553 by Emperor Charles V.
  • the ruins of the city's defensive walls from ancient history to the 18th century,[97] and the extensive 19th- and 20th-century fortifications of Metz.
  • the Fort of Queuleu, also called the Hell of Queuleu (French: l'Enfer de Queuleu), was used by Germans as a detention and interrogation centre for members of the French Resistance during the Second World War.[161]
  • the war memorial, art deco sculpture by French sculptor Paul Niclausse representing a mother cradling the dead body of her son.

International relations

Metz is a member of the QuattroPole(FR)(DE) union of cities, along with Luxembourg, Saarbrücken, and Trier (neighbouring countries: Luxembourg, France, and Germany).[162] Metz forms a central place of the Greater Region and of the economic SaarLorLux Euroregion. Metz is also twin town with:[163]


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