Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Metz, France




It’s a city in the Northeast of France and the capital of the Lorraine region where the Moselle and the Seille rivers meet. It also happens to be the tri point of France, Germany and Luxembourg. Despite being strongly influenced by German culture because of its location and history, it’s very much steeped in the culture of Romance.

It took about an hour to get there. We have no idea actually. I was reading The Great Gatsby aloud and we got completely lost in the story, and all of sudden- we arrived!  

It is really picturesque, and as we wandered the streets we speculated out loud.


“You never truly understand how young America is until you see places like this- truly stunning!”
“Agreed. It makes you wonder if people will be in awe of American architecture in thousands of years.”

The St. Stephens Cathedral seemed to be what the city was surrounded around. Maybe it was because of its beauty or it’s sheer height- towering over the entire town. I found it beautiful of course, but Dan was rather captivated with it.  Even murmuring “something like that almost makes you want to convert to Catholicism.” (I cannot WAIT to show him Notre Dame.)

View of St. Stephens from over yonder.




But yes, it is lovely. One of the more beautiful I’ve seen.
Ha.
That sounds so silly- like I’m sort of expert on the beauty scales of all Gallo-Roman Gothic Churches.

*     *     *     *

Despite being somewhat influenced by German culture, it was interesting to see the differences here from the parts of Germany I’ve been introduced to so far. Not only architecturally were there differences, but also in the people. They were a little less patient with our English.

Perhaps it’s because Metz is not an overwhelmingly touristy town. Not a single historical site was swarming with camera swinging visitors prompting poses of peace signs and “make it look like I’m holding that steeple”.  Although, it did make it far more difficult to communicate to the locals.

After wandering across the bridges that crisscross over the river, we were ready for lunch. We found a nice (somewhat sweltering) outdoor restaurant. As we looked at the menu, I realized that not even my 6 years of French could help us. Neither could the native waitress.

We each pointed to something under the “Vin” category. (I probably know the word for wine in every language.) Wine, great start. Next was the lunch menu. Dan found a jumble of words, with “spaghetti” somewhere in the middle and ordered that. Being obsessed with anything to do with cheese, I pointed to jumble of words ending with “mozzarella”.

Fingers crossed.

I couldn’t have picked a better meal than what was set in front of me if I had known the language! A small salad sprinkled with parmesan and sun dried tomatoes, sitting next to 3 fried balls of mozzarella smothered in a light pesto. Dan’s spaghetti wasn’t the Ragu he was expecting. Noodles covered in a light white wine sauce and cilantro, topped with the most delicious small mussels I’ve ever tasted. Lucky for me, he finds them to be “too squishy” for his liking, so I got those garlicky shellfish all to myself. I shared my glorified cheese sticks with him in return.

If we weren’t at an overpriced French restaurant, we would have high fived. We settled for a side of the table “pound it”.

Just short of licking our plates clean, we settled up and went exploring. In Heidelberg, I planned the days so we had a loose itinerary of what we wanted to do and see. In Metz, I decided not to do that so we would just see where the day would take us.

We weaved in and out of the cobblestoned streets. Spotting fountains, carrousels, statues, large open parks and some of the most fashionable shops I’ve seen.

That’s one difference I spotted pretty immediately in France compared to Germany- (my limited view of it, anyway) is the fashion. People in France are stunning. All of them. The infants to the grannies. Impeccably dressed. I wouldn’t dare wear my wedges out for 2 cocktails on the paved streets of Denver from the restaurant to my cab. But here, these women were rocking 3,4,5 inch heels along these un-even cobblestoned sometimes dirt and sand covered roads. Hashtag impressed.

After I picked my jaw up from the ground in amazement, I spotted a patisserie! This is something that got Kelly and I in a lot of trouble when we visited Paris 2 years ago. They have the most amazing baked goods you could ever imagine. Not to mention there is a patisserie every block. I knew what I was breaking my “no bread” rule on today.

How could I pass up a chocolate éclair IN France? I couldn’t. That would never happen. I (along with all other women in their 20’s with instagram) love taking pictures of their food. And I couldn’t wait to expertly edit my picture of the éclair to tell the social media world what I happened to be eating on this particular Tuesday in France.

Yea right. I didn’t make it 5 feet from the door before I practically engulfed the entire thing. “Just one bite” I told Dan. I lied. That thing was gone before the patisserie was even out of site. I regret nothing.

One of my, now our, favorite things is to enjoy the surrounding city in the shady grass of a public park. I find it to be excellent people watching (another favorite) and a great way to truly soak in the city.

France was very hot on this day, and we had both gotten a lot of sun. I was starting to burn (at least I was given significantly longer for this to happen as opposed to Denver, where I get a good 20 minute before it’s lobster time.)

We headed back to the car. Not before stocking up on French wine. Yea yea yea, they sell it everywhere. But when can you be like “oh yea, that bottle, I got it IN France, have a glass!”

That last fantasy is comical because it would actually involve abstaining from drinking said wine from France and sharing. Visitors aren’t due for another few days…


Me. Drinking the last bottle of wine from France... Whoops

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