La Citadelle & Pompidou-Metz Buzz

By Margaret Kemp

With the opening of Centre Pompidou-Metz, this delightful city in northeastern France is set to become a chic weekend destination. Stay at La Citadelle, five hundred years of history and the only Michelin-star chef in town.

Chef Christophe Defossé is famous in Metz, Eastern France, for daring to meddle with what could be called the "national dish" Quiche Lorraine, a delicious dish originally cooked in cast iron pans.

Prepared by Defossé, Quiche Lorraine Destructurée uses Breton langoustine, bacon, comté and parmesan cheese, white wine and herbs. "Taking out the eggs and cream makes it lighter, the parmesan is in the pastry base which makes it crispy: the traditional lard becomes jelly cubes made with agar agar (vegetarian gelatine made from seaweed, algae, used by chefs and kosher wallahs). QLD is served with tuiles de comté and petites legumes, and can be served all year round", explains Defossé.

Calais-born Defossé, who spent his youth in the region, says he was inspired by those years to dare prove that "real men do eat quiche".

He's a passionate chef who's worked for the greats, including Alain Ducasse who once told him a dish he'd prepared was only fit to feed les cochons. Nevertheless Ducasse made his mark on Defossé, who says that the rigour of top cuisines sorts out the real chefs. "Creativity without rigour is only daydreaming", he says.

The 1-Michelin star restaurant, Le Magasin aux Vivres, is located in the Hotel La Citadelle, which Defossé and his wife Delphine transformed, a huge project as the property, which dates back to 1569, had been empty for many years and has been listed as a Monument Historique since 1969. Future projects include the essential of today, a spa, and in addition to the 77 rooms and 2 suites, 2 additional suites with private spa. "The  opening of the Pompidou-Metz will bring in a new clientele, and the hotel is within easy walking distance."

Defossé's also going for a new adventure, not an annexe around the corner like some successful chefs—he's creating a French restaurant in China. Why China? "Because many French chefs have chosen Japan, that's why", he grins. In 2011 Brand Christophe Defossé opens in a magnificent 5-star hotel in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, southwest China, "the best gastronomic region of the Middle Kingdom," thinks Defossé. "The city, twinned with Montpellier, France, has a population of 12 million, a tea-house on every corner and only a few luxury hotels; I looked at them all and decided on the 1,000-room Jinjiang". He's not taking bookings yet—but stay tuned.

Hotel La Citadelle and Restaurant Le Magasin aux Vivres
5 Avenue Ney, 57000, Metz
T: 33(0)3 87 17 17 17

Rooms and suites from 185-355€

Restaurant menus from 39-105€

www.citadelle-metz.com

The Pompidou-Metz, a satellite of The Pompidou Centre, Paris will be officially opened by Nicolas Sarkozy on 12th May, 2010.  The love-it-or-loathe-it structure, costing €69 million, is designed by architects Sigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines. "It's a celebration of global and European collaboration in the heart of Europe", explains Jean-Paul Batsch, Head of Construction.

The hexagonal building, with space-like pods and protrusions, is located close to Metz Station, built under German occupation 100 years ago, easily reached by walkway. Its curved tent-like roof brings aesthetic elegance and revolutionary techniques together in the form of a wooden structure covered with a translucent membrane. Playing with the relation between interior and exterior, the various spaces unfold around a 77-meter central spire, the architect's hommage to The George Pompidou Centre that opened in Paris in 1977. The different spaces will present exciting programmes including dance, theatre, performance art, concerts, films and conferences. Workshops, art projects and learning events are intended to attract the locals so they can connect with creative art, gather under the roof and feel part of the project.

The opening exhibition is "Masterpieces?"  Who decides what is a work of art? 12 May-29 August 2010. 780 works of modern and contemporary art, many on loan from the Pompidou, Paris.

1 Parvis des Droits de l'Homme,
T: 03 87 15 39 39
Closed Tuesday – Entrance 7€
Free for the first five days

TGV from Paris, Gare de l'Est - 1hr 20

Tourist Office Metz –  T: 03 87 55 53 75

www.centrepompidou-metz.fr

 

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