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Published: July 13th 2015
The railway station.
Saturday 11 July 2015
It wasn't surprising that we slept in this morning. Our fellow guests next door haven't yet learnt the etiquette of hotel accommodation. The drive along the upper reaches of the Mosel River took a long time because of the meandering nature of the river. So with noisy neighbours and a long drive we really needed the sleep.
We are a bit naughty when it comes to travel. European hotels don't provide tea or coffee facilities in the room so we have to provide for ourselves. The result is we have our regular morning coffee before we start each day. Today as the jug came to the boil the TV went off and the jug stopped boiling. Oh dear! We're going to be found out. Have showers, no shave, no hair dryer, hide all evidence, and confront the reception. Not a problem, will be fixed immediately, and it was. We live to stay another night.
Previous travellers have commented that Metz is just a town surrounded by slag heaps. So today we set off to find out what Metz is all about. As it was Saturday getting into the heart of the city was easy.
Building opposite the railway station.
We found a convenient underground carpark with plenty of spaces. Two things stood out. First, all parks have a light indicating an empty or full space. The second was the pleasant music playing.
By chance we had parked near the railway station. Lonely Planet has made mention of its design so we took the opportunity to view it. While we were there we asked a police officer for directions to the Cathedral and Tourist Office, both near each other. The walk across the city did not take long but in the ever increasing heat every shadow was sought like a large lump of gold. Like other cities on a Saturday Metz was beginning to hum with the crowds of happy shoppers after a bargain.
As we got close to the Cathedral we entered a nearby square that had the remains of a huge market. Part of the market (Marche Couvert) is housed in what was once the Bishop's Palace. This market attracted quite a crowd.
The cathedral, St Stephens, is probably like many others in France. What attracted us was the stained glass windows, some of which were created by the artist, Chagall. These brightly coloured windows
Inside the Couvert Marche.
are quite different to the traditional stained glass windows. Next door, in Tourist Office, the helpful assistant started giving us details of the city's sights in German, very useful as it was only yesterday we were in Germany. Perhaps our newly acquired accent fooled her. The biggest problem was trying to pronounce Reims, our next destination. She had no idea what we were saying. She did answer our question about what to expect on Tuesday 14 July.
Our wanderings took us to Gallerie Lafayette. At last a crepe pan that we can use on our induction cook top, and half price too. Now to fit it into the bag. On our way out of Metz we stopped in Avenue Foch to admire the grand homes, a reminder when this city was once German following the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. This is another part of France that has changed countries several times.
Our day ended with a shopping spree at another huge French supermarket, Cora. This time wine. We understand HM Customs allow an unlimited amount of wine for personal use so why not fill the car. The other purchase was a breathalyser just in case. We resisted the temptation
St Etienne de Metz Cathedral.
to stock up on fireworks. The large skyrockets were tempting but not sure how we could explain the contents of our carry on bag when returning to NZ. These rockets were serious. There must be some sort of celebration here in France in a few days time.
Tomorrow we head north with a stop in the Verdun region. We wonder whether the vineyards will be open for some sampling. We have some room for a champagne bottle or two. Better get to bed early, if our new neighbours allow.
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