The Golden Courtyard Museums in Metz

The three big museums of Metz are all together in one complex, called La Cour d’or (The Golden Courtyard).

Downstairs in the archeology museum in Metz

The first is the archeology museum, which was built on the site of the ancient Roman baths that were excavated here starting in 1932. As in Saarbrücken, which is 60 km from Metz just across the German border, the museum was built above the archeological site to protect and preserve the ancient ruins.

If you tour the Metz museums in the suggested order you first go down into the basement to see the remains of the Roman settlement of Divodurum Mediomatricorum, which was gradually shortened to Mediomatrix, then to Mettis and finally to Metz.

More remains from Roman times in the archeology museum in Metz

Theoretically, it should be very easy to follow the numbers and arrows and just go from one exhibit to another through the archeology and architecture museums, but I can’t claim to have been completely successful in this. Somehow I kept going around in circles and landing back in room 8, which shows the remains of a seventh-century church. But somehow I did eventually find my way into the architecture museum and then upstairs to the art museum, which includes paintings from the 15th to 20th centuries.

In the architecture museum

As of 2023, the complex is called the Musée de La Cour d’Or and is presented as one museum with three departments, rather than as three museums sharing the same buildings. Admission is free, and the museum is open every day except Tuesday from 10:00 to 12:45 and from 14:00 to 18:00.

In the art museum

For several centuries, until 1552, Metz was a republic — but an oligarchical republic, where only the members of a few wealthy families had the right to vote. This painting shows the end of that republic, with the entry of the French King Henri II into Metz through the Serpentine Gate (Porte Serpenoise) on April 18, 1552.

The painter was Auguste Migette (1802-1884), who spent most of his adult life working as a painter and set designer for the Opéra-Théâtre in Metz. He also taught art at a local secondary school, and painted large canvases like this one, depicting scenes from the history of his home town.

My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2023.

See more posts on the city of Metz, in the Grand Est region of France.
See more posts on Museums in France (outside of Paris).

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