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Spring 2022

Discover Paris in the spring, Caen in Normandy and its marvellous markets plus Yvoire, a picturesque village on the edge of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie. Explore Saint-Omer, a historic city in the far north that's full of secrets and treasures, and Evian, where Frankenstein's monster stayed! Head with us to Metz in Lorraine to find out about its incredible past, La Couvertoirade, one of the prettiest villages in France, and the UNESCO heritage of Avignon. Guides, gorgeous photos, what's new in France, the best tours and delicious recipes from the legendary Le Nôtre bakery in Paris - and more.

Discover Paris in the spring, Caen in Normandy and its marvellous markets plus Yvoire, a picturesque village on the edge of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie. Explore Saint-Omer, a historic city in the far north that's full of secrets and treasures, and Evian, where Frankenstein's monster stayed! Head with us to Metz in Lorraine to find out about its incredible past, La Couvertoirade, one of the prettiest villages in France, and the UNESCO heritage of Avignon. Guides, gorgeous photos, what's new in France, the best tours and delicious recipes from the legendary Le Nôtre bakery in Paris - and more.

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“Anyone been to Metz?” I asked in my local bar in the

Seven Valleys, Pas de Calais. There was silence. Even

in France, Metz is not well known and if you’re from

outside of France you might not even have heard of it.

Metz is in the north-east of France, in the

Moselle department. It is the capital of the

region formerly known as Lorraine, now

joined up with Champagne, Ardennes and

Alsace and called Grand Est.

Metz is one of France’s oldest cities with a

history going back some 3,000 years and

the fact that it is rather under the tourism

radar is astonishing. Close to Luxembourg

and Germany, it is a superbly gastronomic

city. It is historic, architecturally glorious,

home to arguably France’s oldest church -

the basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains

which began life in the 4th century, and

a Cathedral which has one of the largest

expanses of stained glass windows in the

world. There are magnificent museums

including a branch of the Pompidou, the

city is surrounded by glorious, mountainous

countryside – and yet, it’s less than an hour

and a half from Paris.

48 hours in Metz

Metz is steeped in history and character.

It’s a city of architectural contrasts, with

a medieval district, classical 18th century

architecture in the Place d’Armes and Palais

de Justice, the enormous neo-Romanesque

train station built by the Germans at the

start of the 20th century, and a modern side

too including the extraordinary Pompidou

centre behind the station.

It’s a compact city that’s easy to discover on

foot, but if you want to take it easy there's a

free hop-on-hop off navette bus, and there

are loads of cosy café’s and funky bars to

tempt you to stop awhile.

The must-sees

The great Gothic cathedral of Metz

In medieval days, Metz was a mecca for

artists and the Cathedral St Etienne, the

third highest nave in France, beautifully

illustrates the skill of stone masons and

artisans of the day. Made from golden local

Jaumont stone it has stood for more than

800 years (built between 1220-1522). The

vast stained glass windows (69,920 sq ft)

have earned it the nickname ‘God’s Lantern’.

The windows here range from medieval

masterpieces by Hermann de Münster and

Thiébauld de Lixheim to striking modern

panes by Jacques Villon and Marc Chagall.

During WWII windows were removed and

stored in crates, sent to Château de Dissay,

near Poitiers. This didn’t save them however,

they were discovered and sent to Germany.

Miraculously they were found in a salt mine

and returned to their home after the war.

At night the cathedral is illuminated and is

one of the reasons the city is known as the

Ville Lumières.

Museums

Housed in an old Carmelite convent, Le

Musée de la Cour contains three museums.

The Musée Archaeologique has one of

the most important collections of Gallo-

Romain archaeology in France including

ancient baths preserved in situ. The Musée

d’Architecture showcases Romanesque

and Gothic pieces. And the Musée des

Beaux Arts includes works by a range of

prominent artists including Delacroix,

Corot and Sargent.

The Good Life France | 37

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