All those who come to Metz are struck by the wealth of its natural and architectural heritage, and a stroll through the city can feel more like a journey through the centuries. Metz has retained numerous traces of the Roman era which made it one of the centres of the Empire. Remains can be seen in the city's Museums or in certain places in the city like Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, the oldest church in France, dating back to the 4th century. Later, as the cradle of the Carolingian dynasty, Metz was to become an artistic and cultural Mecca in Europe. The reputation of its schools and craftsmen, the numerous buildings, both places of worship and secular constructions, of which the Cathedral is the undisputed jewel in the crown, bear witness to the artistic and religious background to which Metz has grown.
From Medieval Metz to Metz the French city
Afterwards, between the 12th and 14th centuries, Metz, a free city in the Germanic empire, forged a reputation for itself as an unavoidable crossing and trading point. Still, it was not until the 17th century that Metz, which had become French in the meantime, discovered classical art and built the edifices which, in the centre of their majestic squares, confer on it both balance and brilliance: the Place dArmes, the Theatre, the Palais de Justice.
Metz under the Germanic influence
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 was to change the citys destiny. Annexed by Germany, a new architectural period began with many large urban building schemes: the railway station, the central post office and the wide, spacious avenues lined with imposing buildings and town houses in the German architectural tradition.
Metz - city of light
More recently, as well as seeing through the restoration of a great number of its old buildings, Metz has successfully opened up to contemporary architecture, notably on the Metz Technopole and with the arsenal, the citys concert hall, built by Ricardo BOFILL. With its rich cultural heritage going back over thousands of years, Metz has truly made the best of its magnificent buildings, enhancing them further with a program of illuminations which is why Metz is known as the City of Light.
As early as the beginning of the 1980s the City of Metz was already anticipating the technological revolution that was to engulf the whole world within 10 years, with the introduction of micro-computing and the Internet in all spheres of society. Thus we can consider that the Metz Technopole is the fruit of intuition backed up by rigorous analysis: the inescapable move towards an economy based on the production of immaterial goods software, and the generalization of micro-computing in both the workplace and the home. Today the Technopole covers 180 hectares and is home to some 200 companies employing almost 3,000 people. If we add to that figure the students, administrative staff, teachers and researchers in the university departments and the communication high school on the site, we arrive at 8,500 people working on the Technopole every day. The activities of the Technopole are mainly centered around telecommunications and information technology, but also on services to companies and training, allowing links to be established between applied and pure research.
A strong set of themes: telecommunications and information technology
The activities of the Technopole are mainly centred on telecommunications and information technology, but also on services to companies and training, allowing links to be established between applied and pure research. Among the notable companies present on the site are:
- In the telecommunications field: France Telecom, France Telecom Cable (60 % of homes in Metz are cabled), TDF CR2 (a research centre for radio-communications and terrestrial digital TV), Cegetel SFR, Bosch Telecom, ...
- In the information technology field: IBM (development of software for local authorities), Pro Consultant Informatique (Software for TV channel management), Applicam (smart card access and control systems, electronic purse), Digital-Compaq, ...
Intelligence and innovation in a green field site
Constituting an integral part of the city, sited as it is close to the city center, Metz Technopole offers a pleasant, carefully thought-out environment. With numerous landscaped areas, a lake and a public 18-hole golf course, the site, whose architectural qualities are also worthy of note, is particularly attractive.