Here are some photos with minimal commentary. I'll post more once I'm back in Angers!
Friday in Metz
Here's dark, rainy Metz (remember that it's correctly pronounced like "mess," though incorrectly pronounced "metz" by most of France). The gothic building on the left is the cathedral. As you can (sort of) see, all the buildings are yellow! I'll have better pictures of yellow buildings if it's sunny tomorrow.
Inside the cathedral: this is the nativity scene, which is still on display. Not quite as fun as the nativity scene I saw in Paris with a waving Santa dressed as a shepherd and holding a sign, but it's a lot more impressive.
Here's one of the newer sets of windows, by Chagall. So cheerful, I love them! The cathedral has the largest collection of stained glass in the world: it's taller than your average cathedral, and they didn't waste any wall space with pesky paintings or unnecessary sculptures: every bit of wall that could be a window is a window. Most are really old Biblical scenes, but there are several Chagall windows like this that are colorful and joyous.
Saturday in Luxembourg
Only a forty-minute train ride from Metz is Luxembourg, an itsy-bitsy little county (although they call it a Grand Duchy) squished in between France, Germany and Belgium. It has three official languages: French (which we heard a lot of, and which was dominant on street signs and menus and in stores), German (which we heard a bit of and was on almost all of the menus but very few signs), and Luxemburgish (which we only saw on the tourist information computer in the train station; the poor language is dying and I'm afraid that its humorous-sounding name may be partially at fault. Who wants to brag about learning to speak Luxemburgish? The spell checker doesn't even think it's a real word.), but we saw and heard a lot of English too.
Here's a view over the valley. Luxembourg is on a kind of butte, and is rather hilly.
Hey look, a cathedral! The building connected on the left is the national library. The cathedral looks nothing like French style, and inside was very modern and cheerful as well. Still multiple organs and uncomfortable seats, but much happier-feeling. There were even real authentic Catholics inside! In France those are an endangered species beyond Sunday Mass.
Here's the altar and the stained glass behind it. Pretty.
This is a neat tower (which turns out to be the national bank) that was very photogenic with the sun behind it.
Here I am (hidden in the shadows) with the cool tower.
Although we didn't go in to this store, I was quite amused by its name and logo.
The building in the middle is the Ducal palace. It was closed, so Luxembourg's ruler must have been in residence.
Here's another picture of the palace.
We took the bus (with only slight mishap) to another part of town to see Luxembourg's brand new modern art museum, acronymized to Mudam. Mudam was hard to find and almost empty, but it had some... impressive pieces. Some people read comics when they want a good laugh, some go to a funny movie... I like modern art museums. My cheeks hurt from smiling and repressed laughter afterwards. Here are some of the... well... highlights of the collection.
This is the green thing. The whole thing is about the size of a volleyball court, looks like it's made of green stockings and wire, and probably symbolizes something pretentious.
This piece is actually remarkably beautiful. It's hanging from the ceiling in a round room, rotating, while Portuguese music plays in the background. (It's part of a special exhibition on Portuguese artists.) Here's a picture of the hanging heart from the hallway.
Here's a close up. As delicate and wonderful as it is from afar, when you get up close you see that it's made of twisted and intertwined translucent plastic tableware!
Another room was full of these metal and mirror structures.
Very pretty metal and stained glass chapel here...
Until you notice what the stained glass has pictures of.
This piece isn't particularly pretty, but I laughed when I saw its description.
Pata Negra avec trancheuse, 2006
Wood, stainless steel, ham slicer, table
70 x 70 x 51 cm
Archive Paulo Mendes/PLANO 21
Here's a picture of me by a grill thing inside a stone tunnel by the bomb shelters they carved a few hundred years ago over the Abbey, seen through a grill thing which is inside a stone tunnel... (Got that?)
Here are the steeples of a pretty Catholic church near the aforementioned grill thing tunnel. (It was actually an uninspiring yellow sunset, but my computer changed that.)
Gudden owend, gromper! (Luxemburgish for "Good night, potato!")