We left Pont a Mousson and headed to Metz. Pronounced ‘Mess’ it is quite close to the German border and is a city with a huge cathederal with the largest expanse of stained glass windows in the world and I think the 3rd largest in France. Again as much as cities can be a busy hassle it is often worth it for the buildings. We find the free aire in a municiple carpark next to a caravan park. This costs around 40 euro a night so we opt for free though carparks do bother us and this has its fair share of long term caravans probably gypsies. The aire only holds 5 campers and it will be full by late afternoon.
We head off into town, about a 20 minute walk and it is still hot as as we meander down along the river. There is a beautiful church on an island that is very old and flowers adorn the many bridges making everything very pretty and colourful. We first find the info centre after walking around the cathederal which is bloody huge and has amazing ornate features. We find we have missed any free concerts the night before like we had at Pont de Mousson, most places are having these for summer, but we will get a good look at Metz. We first take a look at the cathederal which is as cavernous and huge on the inside as out and the windows are absolutly amazing. My only gripe is that though they are restoring & cleaning the outside slowly the whole aura inside is let down by the grime and dirt covering the windows and taking away the light effect.
We head outside and wander around trying to follow the touristy highlights. For some reason there are heaps of foot patrols of soldiers in groups of 4 and police everywhere so not sure if this is normal security for Bastille day coming up. It is a little un-nerving as they hold their machine guns with their finger on the trigger in a ready to fire position. However it does make us feel more secure. We walk past a man on the street begging and though we tend to ignore them as there are to many to help this man does not look like your typical beggar and has a sign saying he is hungry so we buy him a sandwhich and he is very appreciative. Most want money but we feel better giving food. Scot contemplates giving him one of his beers but he may be a recovering alcoholic so dont want to tempt him. (Lol….Scot wrote this but I don’t think he wanted to part with one of his newly bought beers)
We find ourselves on the outer of the old town area by the river and the old 12th century walls and newer castle fort which we assume once protected the city. We have a coffee in a small bar then head home towards the large scenic park and river boat walk. It is very picturesque and we love that the french spend so much effort on gardens and cleanliness with mature trees everywhere. We try to find a church we are told is the oldest church in France – goes back to about 600 or 700 century but the lady in the tourist bureau has given us wrong instructions and after a long walk we deem it to be too far away so give up the idea. We get back to the van have dinner and crash.