Metz Continues Work on Most Ambitious Urban Development Project in over a Century

Press release

The historic center of the Top French City of Metz is notable for, among many other things, the Cathedral of Saint Stephen (Saint Etienne, in French). A glorious gothic structure remarkable for its profusion of stained glass windows, including a trio by Marc Chagall, the cathedral must today share its light with outstanding modern buildings also brought to life by famous designers.

Of particular consequence taking shape a short distance away, just off the back of the landmark Metz railway station, is the modern Amphitheater District, the city's most ambitious urban development project in over a century, complete with commercial space, a shopping center, conference center and unique luxury hotel, all designed by internationally renowned architects. This still-in-the-works flagship métropole is anchored by the distinctive Centre Pompidou-Metz, Paris' sister contemporary arts and culture institution designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastine, as well as a nearby sports facility and the large Jean-Marie Pelt Gardens.

Arguably the most exciting new building in the emerging district will be the "phantasmagoric" high-end hotel, the Maison Heler Metz. Dreamed up by world-famous French architect Philippe Starck and scheduled to begin operating in late 2019 or early 2020, this surreal four-star facility will look like an 18th-century Alsatian house dropped atop a 14-floor skyscraper. It will include a rooftop terrace and garden, about 100 rooms, a fitness center and spa, a restaurant and lounge bar.

Another architectural highlight is the recently-opened Robert Schuman Congress Center, designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Erected right behind the railway station as a link between the Amphitheater District and the historic center of Metz, the building includes a three-level, 1200-seat auditorium, multiple meeting rooms, exhibition areas and a restaurant.

Serving both visitors and locals in the Amphitheater District is the Muse complex, created by Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés and opened in late 2017. Its elegant modern architecture blends commerce and leisure; the building today contains large commercial areas – shops, restaurants and an entertainment center – as well as housing and offices.

Finally, architect Christian de Portzamparc (winner of the Pritzker prize) and his wife Elizabeth have also had a hand in the Amphitheater District with the design of the Pont de Lumière (Bridge of Light) residential area.

Although not yet complete, the Amphitheater District is already giving Metz's rising star some extra gleam, complementing its long history, well-rounded culture and commitment to architectural development – Rudy Riccioti of MuCem in Marseille fame is also represented with his five-sided, geometrically-windowed BAM (Boîte à Musiques concert venue). It is also prominent feature in its profile as one of the Top French Cities, an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals to important towns, that are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget.

About Top French Cities –

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


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