Metz is a French city situated in the north eastern of France. It is the administrative centre of both the Moselle department, and the Lorraine region. It is indeed, the largest city of the region, gathering some 125,000 inhabitants, called the Messins. The proper pronunciation of the city is [mɛ:s], in fact the ‘t’ is not pronounced, unlike you can often hear it.
Owing to its past, as the capital city of Austrasia, Metz boasts a beautiful and large historical and architectural heritage. Austrasia (meaning territory of the east) during the Merovingian era used to be a territory that covered the north eastern part of France. The former capital was Reims, then replaced by Metz. The territory was created by Clovis in 511 and disappeared in 751 with the death of the last Merovingian King.
Metz was part of the Lorraine territory annexed by the German Empire from 1870 to 1914. The heritage left by the Empire can mainly be seen in the Imperial quarter of Metz. The quarter stands out for its architectural and town planning originality. It is indeed a mix of style, from new roman to new art, including baroque; it is also a mix of stone colours, from the ochre Jaumont stone, to the pink stone, including the white one.
Metz is also a large information technology centre with its Grigy quarter techno pole that welcomes international fairs. It is also a beautiful and relaxing city thanks to its parks, gardens, and its two rivers, the Moselle and the Seille Rivers.
A house is sold €3,200 /sq m in France in 2009. Since in Metz prices do not reach €2,200 /sq m, we can say that the city is rather inexpensive, especially if you consider the size of the city, its heritage and all the assets it displays. However, prices are higher than the department average (€2,075 /sq m) and than the region average (1,618 /sq m). It is surprising to notice that the region is not an attractive area amongst French people, which explains that house prices are fairly low.
Lorraine and Alsace had a special past as they were twice annexed to the German territory and were the main stage of both world wars. The region and the population suffered a lot from it, and French people see these regions as different. This can explain why they are not attractive for them. However, nowadays both regions have made a lot of efforts in order to develop and to attract investors, and they are doing well.
As regards the rental market, prices are also lower than the national average (€8.8 /sq m /month, against €12.20 /sq m /month). Moreover, as there is a huge percentage of residents being tenants (68%), the city offers great opportunities. As there are some universities, you will have no difficulties letting an apartment to students, all the more than 83% of dwellings are apartments.
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Culture, art and historical heritage: Metz is a 3,000 year old city, and as consequence it displays many historical and architectural monuments, from the Gallo Roman era until today. Between many others, do not especially miss: the Roman thermal baths, the Opera Theatre which is the oldest theatre in France in use, the covered market, etc. The religious heritage is also very large, with the Saint Etienne cathedral being one of the most beautiful monuments in Metz, and one of the most impressive cathedrals in France. The city displays a huge range of religious monuments, from catholic, to protestant, but also Jewish and Muslim.
Architecture: Metz is a delight for architects and architecture lovers. It offers many places to study, as much as regards monuments as town planning. As far as the latter is concerned, the city displays many squares (13 large ones), each of them following a specific architecture style, such as the Raymond-Mondon square, built according to New Town town planning scheme, the Comédie square, which is an open square giving way to the cathedral and the Moselle River, etc. Bridges are also interesting monuments in Metz. There are more than 10 of them in the whole city and the oldest ones were built during the 12th century. The city centre was one of the first one in France to be entirely pedestrians. And if you go to Metz, do not miss to visit the Empire quarter, built by Germans from 1870 to late 1910.
Tourism: Metz is one of the most touristic cities of the Lorraine region, thanks to its historical, architectural, cultural and art heritage. It also attracts visitors with its many events organised during all year long, and with the beauty and tranquillity it boasts.
Flowered and water city: Metz is called both a ‘Water city’ and a ‘Garden city’. Nature is omnipresent in the city, and even in town centre. Metz boasts 470hectares of greeneries, which represent around 37sq m of greenery per habitant! As a consequence, the city is one of the first ‘green’ cities in France. In 1994, Metz won the European contest for the most flowered city. Between many other gardens and parks, you can have a lovely walk in the Esplanade, the Giraud square, the Saint Symphorien pond, etc.
University centre: the University centre is relatively new in Metz, as Germans had removed it after the annexion in 1870. The new one was then created in 1970 and gathers today more than 21,000 students. As a result Metz is a very lively and dynamic city, which houses many pubs and night events.
Apartments: as this kind of dwellings account for 83% in Metz, it is clear that you are more than likely to find one of them. To be found mostly in the town centre, they are close to all amenities. They are a perfect investment for a buy-to-let, as there are many students in search of them in the city.
Modern style houses: modern style was born during the late 19th century and in France it was particularly strong in Lorraine. After WWI, many towns in Lorraine were totaally rebuilt according to this kind of architecture. Each property is different, however there are some standard features: old (stone, wood) and modern materials (iron, glass) are mixed, nature patterns are omnipresent. Modern style houses stand out for their daring facades, with wrought iron, impressive windows and doors, courtyard, etc. These houses are full of character and are usually large dwellings, at least 2 storey high, with a large and beautiful stair.
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