For other uses, see Metz (disambiguation).
Metz (French pronunciation: [mɛs] ( listen)) is a city in northeast France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers. Metz is the prefecture of the Moselledepartment and the seat of the parliament of the Grand Estregion. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, the city forms a central place of the European Greater Region and the SaarLorLuxeuroregion.
Metz has a rich 3,000-year-history, having variously been a Celticoppidum, an important Gallo-Roman city, the Merovingian capital of Austrasia, the birthplace of the Carolingian dynasty, a cradle of the Gregorian chant, and one of the oldest republics in Europe. The city has been steeped in Romance culture, but has been strongly influenced by Germanic culture due to its location and history.
Because of its historical, cultural, and architectural background, Metz has been submitted on France's UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. The city features noteworthy buildings such as the GothicSaint-Stephen Cathedral with its largest expanse of stained-glass windows in the world, the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains being the oldest church in France, its Imperial Station Palace displaying the apartment of the German Kaiser, or its Opera House, the oldest one working in France. Metz is home to some world-class venues including the Arsenal Concert Hall and the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum.
A basin of urban ecology, Metz gained its nickname of The Green City (French: La Ville Verte), as it has extensive open grounds and public gardens. The historic city centre is one of the largest commercial pedestrian areas in France.
A historic garrison town, Metz is the economic heart of the Lorraine region, specialising 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, the heritage of the Lorraine region's past in the iron and steel industry.
In ancient times, the town was known as "city of Mediomatrici", being inhabited by the tribe of the same name. After its integration into the Roman Empire, the city was called Divodurum Mediomatricum, meaning Holy Village or Holy Fortress of the Mediomatrici, then it was known as Mediomatrix. During the 5th century AD, the name evolved to "Mettis", which gave rise to Metz.
Main articles: History of Metz and Timeline of Metz
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 CelticMediomatrici tribe. Integrated into the Roman Empire, Metz became quickly one of the principal towns of Gaul with a population of 40,000, until the barbariandepredations and its transfer to the Franks about the end of the 5th century. Between the 6th and 8th centuries, the city was the residence of the Merovingian kings of Austrasia. After the Treaty of Verdun in 843, Metz became the capital of the Kingdom of Lotharingia and was ultimately integrated into the Holy Roman Empire, being granted semi-independent status. During the 12th century, Metz became a republic and the Republic of Metz stood until the 15th century.
With the signature of the Treaty of Chambord in 1552, Metz passed to the hands of the Kings of France. Under French rule, Metz was selected as capital of the Three Bishoprics and became a strategic fortified town. With creation of the departments by the Estates-General of 1789, Metz was chosen as capital of the Department of Moselle. 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.
Metz remained German until the end of World War I, when it reverted to France. However, after the Battle of France during the Second World War, the city was annexed once more by the German Third Reich. 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.
During the 1950s, Metz was chosen to be the capital of the newly created Lorraineregion. With the creation of the European Community and the later European Union, the city has become central to the Greater Region and the SaarLorLuxEuroregion.
Metz is located on the banks of the Moselle and the Seille rivers, 43 km (26.7 mi) from the Schengentripoint where the borders of France, Germany, and Luxembourg meet. The city was built in a place where many branches of the Moselle river creates several islands, which are encompassed within the urban planning.
The terrain of Metz forms part of the Paris Basin and presents a plateau relief cut by river valleys presenting cuestas in the north-south direction. Metz and its surrounding countryside are included in the forest and crop Lorraine Regional Natural Park, covering a total area of 205,000 ha (506,566.0 acres).
The climate of Lorraine is a semi-continental climate. The summers are warm and humid, sometimes stormy, and the warmest month of the year is July, when daytime temperatures average approximately 25 °C (77.0 °F). The winters are cold and snowy with temperature dropping to an average low 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.
The length of the day varies significantly over the course of the year. The shortest day is 21 December with 7:30 hours of sunlight; the longest day is 20 June with 16:30 hours of sunlight. The median cloud cover is 93% and does not vary substantially over the course of the year.
|Climate data for Metz, France (1981–2010 averages)|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.1|
|Average high °C (°F)||4.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.5|
|Record low °C (°F)||−20.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||64.2|
|Average precipitation days||11.5||9.6||11.5||9.3||10.2||9.8||9.2||9.1||8.8||11.0||11.2||11.8||123.0|
|Average snowy days||7.8||6.3||4.6||1.9||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||3.0||5.7||29.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||87||82||78||73||74||74||73||76||81||87||87||88||80|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||53.6||77.6||125.8||178.1||201.6||218.6||225.6||213.1||158.1||98.4||48.5||41.3||1,640.4|
|Source #1: Météo France|
|Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity and snowy days, 1961–1990)|
The inhabitants of Metz are called Messin(e)s. Statistics on the ethnic and religious make up of the population of Metz are haphazard, as the French Republic prohibits making distinctions between citizens regarding race, beliefs, and political and philosophic opinions in the process of census taking.
The French national census of 2012 estimated the population of Metz to be 119,551, while the population of Metz urban agglomeration was about 389,851. Through history, Metz's population has been impacted by the vicissitudes of the wars and annexations involving the city, which have prevented continuous population growth. More recently, the city has suffered from the restructuring of the military and the metallurgy industry. The historical population for the current area of Metz municipality is as follows:
|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|
|Number of inhabitants||68,598||62,311||78,767||70,105||102,771||111,869||114,232||119,594||123,776||121,841||117,619|
Main article: List of people from Metz
Several well-known figures have been linked to the city of Metz throughout its history. Renowned Messins include poet Paul Verlaine, composer Ambroise Thomas, and mathematician Jean-Victor Poncelet; numerous well-known German figures were also born in Metz notably during the annexation periods. Moreover, the city has been the residence of people such as writer François Rabelais, Cardinal Mazarin, political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, French patriot and American Revolutionary War hero Marquis Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette, and Luxembourg-born German-French statesman Robert Schuman.
Law and government
Main article: Local law in Alsace-Moselle
The Local Law (French: droit local) applied in Metz is a legal system that 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 repealed in the rest of France after 1871. It also maintains German laws enacted by the German Empire between 1871 and 1918, specific provisions adopted by the local authorities, and French laws that have been enacted after 1919 to be applicable only in Alsace-Lorraine. This specific local legislation encompasses different areas including religion, social work and finance.
The most striking of the legal differences between France and Alsace-Lorraine is the absence in Alsace-Lorraine of 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.
Like every commune of the present French Republic, Metz is managed by a mayor (French: maire) and a municipal council (French: conseil municipal), democratically elected by two-roundproportional voting for six years. The mayor is assisted by 54 municipal councillors, and the municipal council is held on the last Thursday of every month. Since 2008, the mayor of Metz has been socialist Dominique Gros.
The city belongs to the Metz Metropole union of cities, which includes the 40 cities of the Metz urban agglomeration. Metz is the prefecture of the Moselle based in the former Intendant Palace. In addition, Metz is the seat of the parliament of the Grand Estregion, hosted in the former Saint-Clement Abbey.
City administrative divisions
The city of Metz is divided into 14 administrative divisions:
|2||Metz-Nord Patrotte||Harbour zone|
|3||Les îles||Grand East regional parliament, University of Lorraine, Fabert High School, Cogeneration Plant|
|4||Plantières-Queuleu||Queuleu Fort, Museum of Resistance and Deportation of Metz|
|6||Metz-Vallières||Robert Schuman private hospital|
|7||Borny||University of Lorraine, Contemporary Music Venue|
|8||Grigy-Technopôle||Metz Science Park, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, University of Lorraine, Georgia Tech Lorraine, Supélec|
|9||Grange aux Bois||Trade Fair Center, Regional Hospital of Metz-Thionville|
|10||Sablon||Centre Pompidou-Metz, Indoor Sports Arena, Caisse d'Épargne regional headquarters, Metz-Metropole Conference Centre Hall (project)|
|11||Magny||Saint-Clement and Leusiotte woods|
|12||Nouvelle Ville||Imperial Station-Palace, INSEE and Banque Populaire regional headquarters, Central Post Office, Chamber of Commerce|
|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 Art Fund of Lorraine, Jazz Concert Venue|
Cityscape and environmental policy
Metz contains a mishmash of architectural layers, bearing witness to centuries of history at the crossroads of different cultures, and features a number of architectural landmarks. The city possesses one of the largest Urban Conservation Areas in France, and more than 100 of the city's buildings are classified on the Monument Historique list. Because of its historical and cultural background, Metz is designated as French Town of Art and History, and has been submitted on to France's UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
The city is famous for its yellow limestone architecture, a result of the extensive use of Jaumont stone. The historic district has kept part of the Gallo-Roman city with 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). At the Cardo and Decumanus intersection was situated the Roman forum, today the Saint-Jacques Square.
From its Gallo-Roman past, the city preserves vestiges of the thermae (in the basement of the Golden Courtyard museum), parts of the aqueduct, and the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains.
Saint Louis' square with its vaulted arcades and a Knights Templar chapel remains a major symbol of the city's High Medieval heritage. The GothicSaint-Stephen Cathedral, several churches and Hôtels, and two remarkable municipal granaries reflect the Late Middle Ages.
Metz with its magnificent open countries, prolific undulating rivers, wooded hillsides, vineyards of fire; cathedral all in volute, where the wind sings as a flute, and responding to it via the Mutte: this big voice of the good Lord!
— Paul Verlaine, Ode to Metz, Invectives, 1896
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