Pompidou-Metz Grand Opening

Posted: Monday, 10-05-2010

Pompidou MetzJust 82 minutes by train from Paris, Metz is feasible as a day trip from the capital (and accessible for Eurostar passengers via Lille), but it's worth spending a night or two to explore the town, with a handful of attractive hotels to choose from.

With an official send-off by President Sarkozy on May 11 and five days of celebrations from May 12, the opening of the Centre Pompidou-Metz will put the sleepy eastern French town of Metz (pronounced "mess", I am informed by locals) on the tourist map.

The gleaming white UFO has spurred the whole city into rejuvenation, with a rash of new bars and restaurants, and a frantic programme of restoring façades and landscaping town squares. It's a perfect excuse to discover Metz's golden stone historic centre, the terraced gardens, marina and promenade along the River Moselle, and the intriguing German-era Imperial Quarter – an eclectic mixture of pepperpot towers, Art Nouveau balconies and Teutonic mock chateaux, laid out around the vast neo-Romanesque train station