Our Barge, Odysseus

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Metz, the Ville Jardin, Aug. 9-12

Just before 3 pm we had arrived in the Port des RĂ©gates, The Metz marina. It's just a short walk from the center of town and the view from our back deck was very nice.

Metz is the capital of the Region of Lorraine and originates at least from Roman times as it lies at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille Rivers, a major trade route. After Charlemagne died in the early 800's and his empire was carved up, Metz became his son Lothar's capital. It managed to retain its wealth and power into the Middle Ages, when it proclaimed itself an independent republic, until it was absorbed into France in the mid-1500's. It traded hands several times between France and Germany, like the rest of Alsace and Lorraine, between the 1870's Franco-Prussian War and WW II, until it was finally liberated by Allied troops in 1944.
The center of town is just an easy walk along the bank you see in the above picture. Just through the bridge behind that hotel barge is one of the first sights, the Protestant church on an island in the river, the Temple Neuf.

The town center is dominated by the Gothic Cathedral of St. Etienne which contains one of the tallest naves in France.

The cathedral, with scaffolding, of course.

It's hard not to feel a little insignificant when faced with this enormous space.

This being August in France, the best restaurants were closed but an island just up the river did feature "Metz Plage," or Metz Beach, complete with sand, umbrellas, a swimming pool and playground.

Tuesday we took a walk around what's left of the old city walls, including the "Porte des Allemands" that guarded the city's east entrance along the Seille River.

The city is also filled with green spaces. In fact, the city contains more park space per capita than any city in Europe. We spent alot of time walking in greenery.
Wednesday we would visit one of the main reasons for our stay in Metz, the new art museum, Centre Pompidou-Metz.

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