Inside the Metz Pompidou

The cultural grand tour of Europe will have another stopping off point from this week – Metz, the Bilbao of the North. President Nicolas Sarkozy will officially open a €86m (£74m) branch of the Pompidou Centre in Paris in a beautiful, but comparatively little visited, cathedral city 170 miles east of Paris.

Metz (population 280,000), a former garrison town in the heart of the Lorraine steel belt, hopes to recreate the success of the European branch of New York’s Guggenheim museum, which has transformed the fortunes of Bilbao in northern Spain since 1997.

Like the Bilbao Guggenheim, the Centre Pompidou-Metz has been given a spectacular and unconventional building. It resembles a white Teletubby house; or a collapsed parasol; or a giant stingray.

John Lichfield
The Independent