Jean-Marie Rausch, mayor of Metz for more than three decades and former minister, died Friday January 5 at the age of 94, we learned from the Moselle municipality.

“Mayor for thirty-seven years, Jean-Marie Rausch embodied the city of Metz and revealed himself as a rigorous manager and an exceptional visionary,” declared the current mayor of Metz, François Grosdidier, on his Facebook account, after having learned “with deep sadness and deep emotion” of the death of his predecessor on Friday morning.

Born in 1929 in Sarreguemines (Moselle), Mr. Rausch was elected mayor (various right) of Metz in 1971, a position he held until 2008, the year when the socialist Dominique Gros succeeded him – a first for the left .

He also served as senator of Moselle between 1974 and 2001, with a break between 1988 and 1992, during which he held positions as “minister of opening” under the presidency of François Mitterand. He was Minister of Foreign Trade, Minister Delegate for Posts and Telecommunications and Minister Delegate for Commerce and Crafts in the successive governments of Michel Rocard, Edith Cresson and Pierre Bérégovoy.

Initiator of the Center Pompidou-Metz project

The mayor of Nancy, the socialist Mathieu Klein, praised in a press release “the memory of Jean-Marie Rausch, who left his mark on Metz and Lorraine throughout his public commitment”, calling him an “elected pioneer in the promotion of urban ecology” and “an open political leader, who worked for the destiny of France alongside François Mitterrand”.

Mr. Rausch was also behind the creation of the Center Pompidou-Metz, which he hoped would “radically change the image of Metz in France and in Europe.” “We owe to him what Metz is today: open-air museum, garden city, European city, metropolis which has revived its higher education,” commented Mr. Grosdidier.

Former Minister of Culture Jean-Jacques Aillagon “saluted the beautiful memory of Jean-Marie Rausch” on X, calling him a “great mayor [and] a visionary.” “Together, we (…) have boldly created the Center Pompidou.” In 2011, Mr. Rausch published a book of memoirs, It’s Enough to Want ; the cover showed him in front of the cultural establishment.

His wife, Bernadette, died six weeks ago.

The flags of the town hall and local town halls are at half-mast and a collection of condolences will be opened at the town hall.