A Prefecture City now belonging to the Grand Est region, Metz is located in the Moselle Valley. At the confluence of the river of the same name, the city first sprang up in the hills of Sainte-Croix de la Citadelle. Later it expanded to include some small planted islands on the Moselle which are now attached by numerous bridges, some dating back to the Middle Ages.
A true crossroads city where the main routes across Europe intersect, Metz has a very significant historic, cultural and religious heritage, from Antiquity to the 21st century, spread across distinct districts that each have their own identity.
Sainte-Croix hill is the city's historic heart. Its décor is inspired by the medieval period with its cobbled streets, mansions and iconic monuments: the Récollets Cloister, the Church of St. Ségolène and the Trinitarian Church.
In the medieval district of Outre-Seille are the Germans' Gate, a castle fort over the Seille whose ramparts are now a walkway; the medieval Church of St. Eucharius and the Church of St. Maximin, with stained glass windows by Jean Cocteau.
The elegant Iles district is typical of the 18th century with its opera-theatre, the oldest to still be active in France, the Abbey of St. Clement, headquarters of the Grand Est Regional Council, the Church of St. Vincent and the many bridges in the classical architectural style.
The Citadelle district houses the Law Court, the former royal Abbey of St. Arnould, the Templars' Chapel, built between 1180 and 1220, and the Church of St. Pierre-aux-Nonnains, one of the oldest in France.
The city centre has some large, renovated town squares, including the medieval Place Saint-Louis, the old Italian-inspired Place du Change, and Place d'Armes, where you will find the Cathedral of St. Stephen, one of Europe's tallest Gothic cathedrals, built from the 13th to the 16th century. The scale of its stained glass windows earned it the moniker of "The Good Lord's Lantern".
A stone's throw from the cathedral, don't miss La Cour d'Or, the Metropolitan Museum of Metz, for its Gallo-Roman, medieval and Fine Arts collections, covering over 6,000 m².
One place of note in the area is the Arsenal. An old military arsenal in the time of Napoleon III, it is now an auditorium following its conversion by the architect Ricardo Bofill.
Metz shows its contemporary side in the Amphithéâtre and Seille Park districts, with the Centre Pompidou-Metz, which has exhibited the best of modern and contemporary art since 2010, and also in the medieval ramparts area, from the SNCF train station to Montigny-lès-Metz.
Nostalgia fans can also visit the house of Verlaine, a native of the city, on Rue Haute-Pierre.
Metz also has a water sports centre and a Blue Flag-certified marina.