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  • Writer's pictureWayne Sleeth

Projet 57 : La Moselle : Ancy-Dornot & Ars-sur-Moselle

Watercolour A4, the roman aquaduct at Ars-sur-Moselle

The 'other side' of the Moselle river south of Metz is one of the most interesting in the department in terms of rambling and views, which led me to return there several times; Gorze, Ancy and Dornot all have something charming to offer, and steep walks ! The villages of Ancy and Dornot are so close they became a joint village, and have a rich shared history, from Roman times with its steep banks perfect for viticulture and the nearby aquaduct, to the famous Battle of Ancy-Dornot in World War Two, september 1944, where the Amercian GIs fought during ' the 60 hours in hell' to liberate the villages on the Moselle. ( An interesting outdoor trail explaining the battle stands on the opposite bank , between Corny and Jouy-aux-Arches ) :

Dornot vue depuis la Moselle

The view of Metz in the distance from above Ancy-Dornot was for me worth at least a drawing,

a watercolour and a later painting...

Vue de Metz et la vallée de la Moselle depuis les hauts d'Ancy-Dornot.

Acrylique sur toile. Collection privéé (D)

Village et église, Dornot

watercolour, pen and posca on blue paper, A4

And so - still on the trajectory JMW Turner undertook 200 years ago (1834) - just a little further north, towards Metz, to the part of the roman aqueduct, opposite that of Jouy-aux-Arches, which marks the beginning of the small town of Ars ...

From Ars-sur-Moselle ( where copies of my book 'Les Cathédrales de Metz' are sold through the delightful little bookshop 'La Petite Librairie' ) l usually cross the Moselle river again at the road bridge. Here on a few occasions l tried to draw both parts of the aqueduct from the most convenient vantage points on the bridge near the 'écluse' ( lock ) . With lorries and cars at my back, it was a challenge.

...Having covered both banks of the Moselle in this part of the area, Metz beckoned. Turner apparently didn't stay long in the area of Metz at the time. He was in a hurry to gain the Rhine, still a couple of hundred kilometres further. For me the difference was that over the years ( since 2000 ) l have accumulated a large amount of work on the subject of Metz, mostly around the cathedral, and l would take my time there. It is my 'adopted' city. But now it was about the river itself, at times dividing and coverging again to take in so many of the sights of the capital city of Moselle, and one of Lorraine's finest. With so many drawings to share from my favourite spots there, a rallongé to hand, I will try in the next blog installment to be concise. There is still such a distance to cover...

Coming up : Metz. GHQ.


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