- FRANCE AND BLACK FOREST -

METZ PART 1

LINKS to pages in the France and Black Forest site and to the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

     1 : Journey to Kork
     2 : Reims
     3 : Metz
     4 : Kork
     5 : Triberg

     6 : Donaueschingen
     7 : Staufen
     8 : Titisee
     9 : Freiburg
    10 : Journey from Kork

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Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department.

Located near the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz is a member of the QuattroPole union of cities, along with Luxembourg City and Germany's Saarbrücken and France's Trier.

Metz has a rich 3,000 year history. Although the city was steeped in Roman culture it has also been strongly influenced by Germanic culture due to its location and history.

The 'Green City', boasts over 37 square metres (398 sq ft) of open ground per inhabitant and the city's historic downtown displays one of the largest commercial pedestrian areas in France.




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Metz possesses one of the largest urban-conservation areas in France (402.53 acres) and some one hundred buildings in the city are to be found on the 'monument historique' list.

Because of its tremendous historical and cultural background, Metz benefits from its designation as a town of art and history. The city is home to some world-class venues such as the Arsenal concert hall, the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum, and the National Opera of Lorraine (along with Nancy Opera).

A historical Garrison town, Metz is the economic heart of the Lorraine region, being specialized in information technology and automotive industries. Metz is also 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.




On the way to Metz we pass the champagne vineyards on the Montagne de Reims (right).

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A TGV express on the outskirts of Reims (left).

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Metz possesses one of the largest urban-conservation areas in France (402.53 acres) and some one hundred buildings in the city are to be found on the 'monument historique' list.

Because of its tremendous historical and cultural background, Metz benefits from its designation as a town of art and history. The city is home to some world-class venues such as the Arsenal concert hall, the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum, and the National Opera of Lorraine (along with Nancy Opera).


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An historical Garrison town, Metz is the economic heart of the Lorraine region, being specialized in information technology and automotive industries.

Metz is also 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.

The formal flowerbeds of the Esplanade - and its statue of a gallant-looking Marshall Ney, sword dangling at his side (1859) - are flanked by imposing public buildings, including the Arsenal Cultural Centre (1863) and the sober, neoclassical Palais de Justice (late 18th century).

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The following is a condensed version of "Napoleonic Wars: Marshal Michel Ney" by Kennedy Hickman (with acknowledgement) :

Born in Saarlouis, France on January 10, 1769, Michel Ney was the son of master barrel cooper Pierre Ney and his wife Margarethe. Due to Saarlouis' location in Lorraine, Ney was raised bilingual and was fluent in both French and German.

Coming of age, he received his education at the Collège des Augustins and became a notary in his hometown. After a brief stint as an overseer of mines, he ended his career as a civil servant and enlisted in the Colonel-General Hussar Regiment in 1787.

Proving himself a gifted soldier, Ney swiftly moved through the non-commissioned ranks.

With the rise of Napoleon, Ney's career accelerated as he was appointed one of the first eighteen Marshals of the Empire on May 19, 1804.In reward for his service in Russia, he was given the title Prince of the Moskowa on March 25, 1813. That autumn he was present when French troops were defeated at the Battles of Dennewitz and Leipzig.

With the French Empire collapsing in 1813 Ney aided in defending France through early 1814, but became the spokesman for the Marshal's revolt in April and encouraged Napoleon to abdicate. With the defeat of Napoleon and restoration of Louis XVIII, Ney was promoted and made a peer for his role in the revolt.

Ney's loyalty to the new regime was quickly tested in 1815, with Napoleon's return to France from Elba. Swearing allegiance to the king, he began assembling forces to counter Napoleon and pledged to bring the former emperor back to Paris in an iron cage.

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Aware of Ney's plans, Napoleon sent him a letter encouraging him to rejoin his old commander. This Ney did on March 18, when he joined Napoleon at Auxerre.

Ney played a key role at the Battle of Waterloo. His most famous order during the decisive battle was to send forward the French cavalry against the allied lines. Surging forward, they were unable to break the squares formed by the British infantry and were forced to retreat.

Following the defeat at Waterloo, Ney was hunted down arrested. Taken into custody on August 3, he was tried for treason that December by the Chamber of Peers. Found guilty, he was executed by firing squad near the Luxembourg Garden on December 7, 1815.

During his execution, Ney refused to wear a blindfold and insisted upon giving the order to fire himself.

His final words were reportedly:
"Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you.
"I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her..... Soldiers - Fire!â€

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