Exploring the Alsace Lorraine and Metz
Metz, France has often been found under Alsace Lorraine Metz in guide books. However, since the administrative regions have been consolidated from 22 down 13, Metz now lies in the Grand-Est region. This includes the Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne regions. Metz was the capitol of the Lorraine before the consolidation. Strasbourg is now the capital of the Grand-Est.
Metz is about three-quarters of the way between Paris and Strasbourg – or about a three hour drive.
Such A Variety of Architecture!
The wonderful narrow cobbled streets and medieval houses transport you back in time. There is a mixture of architectural styles and materials to include yellow limestone (Jaumont) architecture and German architecture in a pink and gray sandstone and granite from the period of time that the Alsace Lorraine area was annexed to Germany.The houses below are from the Belle Époque period at the turn of the 20th century.
The Cathédrale Saint Étienne , a good example of Gothic architecture, is in the Jaumont stone, while the water tower and train station reflect the German architecture.
Across from the Cathedral, on Place d’Armes is a wonderful covered market where, of course, we found a tea shop. My favorite souvenir is tea from France. I seal it in glass jars in its original packaging and it stays fresh until we are ready to enjoy a different flavor.
Metz Porte des Allemands
We wandered down rue Maginot to the Porte des Allemands, Metz’s architectural symbol. These gates, so named because they faced Germany, date from the 13th century. I was fascinated by this “mini-castle” like gate so I dedicated another page just to pictures of these gates – click on Porte.
You will also find other remains of fortifications as you wander the streets of here.
As we walked to the Porte des Allemands we stopped to explore St Eucaire Church. Tucked away among buildings and trees the exterior door was all that was visible. We were surprised at the size of the church when we entered.
Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains basilica, a former Roman gymnasium from the 4th century, is one of the oldest churches in France.
Chapelle des Templiers of Metz
Not far from Saint Pierre you will find the Chapelle des Templiers with its walls enrobed in restored frescoes. This Knights Templar Chapel is from the High Middle Ages Period. The frescos are incredible.
All that remains of The Temple of German Garrison neo-Gothic church is the bell tower. Bombing during World War II partially destroyed the church.
Present-day architectural monument is the Pompidou Center – Metz which opened in 2010. It is built on the site of a Roman amphitheatre. The roof resembles a Chinese straw hat.
Walking Along the Moselle in Metz
What a long day! There is so much to see here that we really should have planned for more than just a one-day visit. As exhaustion was settling over us, we discovered the Moselle River. The peaceful walk along its banks was rejuvenating!
In the middle of one section of the river stands the Protestant Temple Neuf . This neo-Romanesque Temple was built during the German occupation.
Delightful ironwork fencing surrounds the church. How many churches do you see surrounded by a purple fence? This walk was the perfect way to end a busy day of sight-seeing.