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In my post The Incomparable Centre Pompidou – Paris, France, I extol the cultural virtues of one of the premier contemporary art centers in the world. In May 2010, the Pompidou opened a satellite facility in the northeast French city of Metz. The museum’s modern structure, which is frequently compared to a UFO, has energized Metz and inspired a citywide renovation as well as the opening of myriad new bars and restaurants.
Centre Pompidou-Metz is just south of Metz’s train station, on the location where the Roman amphitheatre stood over two thousand years ago. The Metz Pompidou building was designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban in collaboration with the French architect Jean de Gastines. The interior is comprised of three narrow superposed gallery spaces, each of which is strategically aligned to give visitors a view of one of three major sites in the city: Metz’s Gothic cathedral, the train station and the Parc de la Seille.
Housed in each of these galleries are selections from the center’s 65,000 works from the Musée National d’Art Moderne to draw on. In the opening exhibition entitled Chef d’Oeuvre (Masterpieces) ,which is on display through October 25, 700 pieces from modern art greats like Picasso, Miro and Calder are displayed to facilitate the goal of questioning the idea of the masterpiece in modern art. Similar to its Parisian cousin, the Centre Pompidou-Metz is a multidisciplinary facility. This summer, they’ve been screening films in an open-air setting (the last one for this summer was “La Dolce Vita”).
The city of Metz has a lot to offer visitors outside of the museum as well. Quality restaurants in all price points are numerous. If you’re feeling peckish after viewing phenomenal art, head to Cafe Mathis for a traditional French bistrot experience. Locals flock to this lively establishment for hearty fare, strong aperitifs and good conversation. Oh, and the prices are incredibly reasonable.
Foodies should definitely try Le Magasin aux Vives, widely considered to be the top gourmet restaurant in Metz. Chef Christophe Dufosse (the only chef in Metz to have a Michelin star, by the way) uses primarily local products in his highly innovative dishes. The extensive wine list covers a wide range of varietals and vineyards (primarily French). Le Magasin aux Vives is located in a large 16th-century military citadel that Christophe and his wife Delphine transformed into the four-star La Citadelle Hotel some years ago.
Centre Pompidou- Metz
4 Rue du Chanoine Collin
57000 Metz, France
Tel: 00 33 3 8715 3939
72 en Fournirue
Tel: +33 (0)38 71 8967
Open Weekdays 8am-10pm; Sat 9am-10pm
Le Magasin aux Vives
5 avenue Ney
Tel: +33 (0)38 71 71717
Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for EuropeUpClose.com