I can't help myself, I love France. The minute (and that is all of a 10 minutes drive from Lux) you cross the border it just feels different, looks different, tastes different. It has that distinct personality about it that instantly feels comfortable and stands on its own in a way that isn't really so apparent in Luxembourg. Lux is just a big melting pot and it is wonderful and interesting for it, yet when you cross one of the three very close borders, Germany, Belgium or France, everything feels more defined.
Our latest family outing was to Metz. We went on a Sunday afternoon for just a few hours to have a little preview. Most everything is closed here on Sundays except for museums and cafes and churches. The cathedral in Metz is primarily where we were headed, so we parked in the central city gare and emerged from underneath. Wouldn't you know, we came smack-dab, face-to-face with another marathon! Poor Jorrit, another one missed, but it keeps the motivation going. We will see him run yet.
After watching the runners hobble into the city square, we wandered up the main street just checking out storefronts and eventually turning into the old town. We quickly came upon the old center with the cathedral, St. Etienne de Metz, looming as an enormously beautiful Gothic masterpiece. Construction on this church began in 1220 and was completed three centuries later. The 10th highest of all the cathedrals in the world and third highest in France, its nave measures 41.41 meters and it is filled with the largest number of the most amazing stained glass windows. The windows were designed over years and years by various masters, including Marc Chagall. It was breathtaking, even my kids thought so! It is nicknamed "the Good Lord's lantern" due to this extraordinary expanse of glass and despite my less than adequate pictures, it is easy to see why.
After a cocoa and coffee, and in the fading sun, we walked back to the car and I secretly wished we were living there instead. Good news is, the trip is about a 35 minute drive door to door and I know already we will visit often. In fact, we missed the Georges Pompidou (or branch of) visit due to excess homework waiting at home. There is a lot left to explore in Metz, including next year's marathon. Vive Jorrit!