EuropeFranceMetz

First Day of Class and Downtown Metz

Metz Travel Blog

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I definitely felt the worst of my jet lag and exhaustion from no sleep last night.  This was really evident from the fact that I went to sleep at 11:30pm and woke up this morning around 10:15am, making me late to my first class.  I was sooo tired, but I made it to class right before the end so I was still able to check off on the attendance sheet.  Part of my fatigue was due to the group excursion last night…

Last night, all the students took an extended bus to downtown Metz in order to walk around the city.  We were divided into tour groups, which were led by the graduate resident assistants and returning GTL professors.  After the tours, each group stopped at a pizzeria for dinner (my group of 20+ reserved and filled a small pizzeria).

War Memorial for lost French soldiers.
  The food was great and the portion was good enough to satisfy but not fill me… in France the portions are smaller than in America.  Before taking the bus back to campus, we were able to see the city come to life with the lighting of the magnificent Cathedral of St. Etienne.  The other buildings were also beautifully lit.  There is a local performance hall called Arsenal that a few of us saw after dinner… it has great acoustics because the whole room is covered in hardwood.  There will be an orchestra playing there June 22nd that I may go see.

I went back to downtown Metz today with only 2 friends so we could see the city during the day, visit shops, and go wherever we wanted.

Porte Serpenoise, memorial for France regaining rule of Metz several times.
  We took a lot of good pictures of monuments, statues, fountains, the local architecture, and of course a few of the churches.  Some of the architecture and several monuments are influenced by the fact that Metz has switched back and forth several times from being French to German (WWI, WWII).  On our journey through the town, I even practiced my French several times, because I tried on some shoes in a store (which came to be 90 euros ~ $110), talked to two French women in a museum to get directions to the Conservatory, and set up times with the secretary and director at the Conservatory for me to periodically go practice the piano there.  Luckily they spoke a tiny bit of English, too.

After returning to my dorm via the city bus for a housing meeting at 6pm, a large group of my friends returned to downtown Metz via the bus (1 euro each way) to eat in the large town square (there are many restaurants on the perimeter of the square and numerous tables inside the middle of the square).

Local architecture
  Four friends of mine and I ate at a popular Italian restaurant, Angelina's.  I had lasagna, bread, wine, and ice cream w/ bananas and syrup for about 12 euros.  After spending a good amount of time there talking and relaxing, we walked to a group of three bars where several of our friends were watching the Barcelona/Arsenal Soccer game.

The interesting thing about the city shops in Metz is that they close around 6pm, even though they are near all of the local activity.  I couldn't believe how much more some things cost here, like shoes and electronics.  The large grocery store (CORA) close to campus has everything that you could possibly need, even more than Walmart!  However, it also closes fairly early (at 9pm).  I felt odd with the security guards around the superstore, but it is common in France to have better security in large stores.

Ney, gardens, and in the distance are countryside houses.

I returned to the dorm on the 11pm bus from the bar after Barcelona won 2-1, but there were a lot of GTL students on the bus, too!  I was embarrassed because there were so many of us and they were being obnoxiously loud the whole time with a few local citizens trapped in the midst of it all.  I hope I don't get stuck with huge groups of the GTL students too often around town.  It prevents me from feeling immersed in the local culture and makes me feel disrespectful to those that actually live here.  After returning to the dorm, I decided to hang out at the dorm's activity hall with friends and the local French students.  I will talk about them tomorrow!

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What are you looking at?!
What are you looking at?!
War Memorial for lost French soldi…
War Memorial for lost French sold…
Porte Serpenoise, memorial for Fra…
Porte Serpenoise, memorial for Fr…
Local architecture
Local architecture
Ney, gardens, and in the distance …
Ney, gardens, and in the distance…
Bridge and Temple Neuf
Bridge and Temple Neuf
The Moselle River
The Moselle River
Cathédrale St-Etienne front
Cathédrale St-Etienne front
Cathédrale St-Etienne side door
Cathédrale St-Etienne side door
Cathédrale St-Etienne stained gla…
Cathédrale St-Etienne stained gl…
Ste-Ségolène
Ste-Ségolène
View from close to La Conservatoire
View from close to La Conservatoire
Metz
photo by: lauro