What to visit in Metz?
Updated: Jun 1
A small town in Lorraine, Metz will amaze you. Close to Luxembourg, the city is located on the border between the francophone and German areas. Impressive historical monuments, a picturesque riverside setting, and pretty bridges lend a special charm to the region's capital, named the 'Ville d'Art et Histoire (City of Art and History). Today Metz retains a strong character derived from multiple European influences before becoming annexed to France. Fancy and charming, it’s a cute bonbonniere at the foot of the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers, which run through the entire ancient city.
Metz is the perfect site to enjoy a peaceful visit, admire the large chestnut trees reflected in the still water, and get caught by a seductive light that bounces off beautiful and colored architecture with a Gothic and medieval aura.
Grab your backpack and let's go parrots!
What not to miss?
This catholic church is one of the most famous buildings in Metz. It was built in Gothic style and it’s known for its stained glass windows and its astronomical clock that was built in 1453. Even though the clock is a masterpiece, the most beautiful feature of the cathedral is its stained glass windows that you can see from the inside.
Jardins de l’Esplanade
Located in the heart of downtown Metz, the Esplanade is one of the most popular and beautiful public spaces in the city and offers residents and tourists a quiet retreat from the bustling urban life. The many small gardens and courtyards of the Esplanade are rich in flowers, shrubs, and trees. The gardens are interspersed with statues and fountains.
Le Temple Neuf
The Temple Neuf is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Metz. Surprisingly the building was built in the 20th century, Romanesque Revival-style gives the chapel a medieval look. The Temple Neuf is currently used for cultural events such as art expositions and concerts. The building was constructed to replace an older chapel that was destroyed during the First World War. Surrounded by the Garden of Love and Moselle River, The temple Neuf is a perfect place for a romantic walk.
What to visit?
Centre Pompidou – Metz:
This is a sister organization of one of the top museums in Paris with the same name. It was built in 2010 and nowadays is a modern art museum that hosts many famous artworks. Besides the museum, the visitors can enjoy walking around the beautiful gardens, surrounding the building. The museum is open all year, except Tuesdays. This museum has made the city a key destination giving a touch of modernity and originality.
Avenue Foch is a long, wide avenue that runs through the city of Metz. The diversity of architectural styles gives the avenue a rare character. It is not only one of Metz's most beautiful streets. It's also one of the most expensive.
Place Saint-Louis is the main square of the old center of Metz. The "Place Saint Louis" is a pleasant and quiet square. The square is named after the former church of St. Louis, demolished in 1875. The houses are richly decorated with sculptures and statues.
Porte des Allemands
The german gate is the last relic of the medieval ramparts of Metz. It includes a fortified gate, defense towers, and an ancient bridge. In the thirteenth century, two towers were added to strengthen defense. The name means "Door of the Germans". Porte des Allemands is located in the medieval neighborhood Quartier Outre-Seille which is also worth visiting. However, this is not the only porte present in Metz as the city retains several fortifications such as the Porte Serpenoise, Porte de la Madeleine, and Porte en Chandellerue. What you need to know is that in 1324, the enclosure had more than eighteen gates!
Metz Train Station
This railway station was built between 1858 and 1860 and is known for its architectural style which combines neo-gothic, neo-renaissance, and neo-baroque elements.
How to get there?
To reach Metz, it’s possible to land at the regional airport Metz-Nancy-Lorraine, which is 20 km from the city center, about 30 minutes. In this regard, there is a shuttle bus from/to the city which costs about 10 euros. Alternatively, there is Luxembourg-Findel airport, 70 km away from the center where the trip takes about 1h38. Air France generally offers a stopover in Paris, continuing by TGV to Metz: with the LGV high-speed line, you will be there in 1h20. From London, the train takes 5 hours with a change in Paris, from Brussels 4 hours and Frankfurt 5 hours 47 minutes. And if you come from Paris read our article about visiting Paris to get the most out of your trip to France! By car, if you are arriving from Lyon or Luxembourg the eastern motorway (A4) is the one connected to the A31, being less than 100 km from Luxembourg and 80 km away from Nancy.
Compared to Paris, Metz is cheaper and the cost of leaving is average for other cities around. The average cost for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around 15 euros. The meal for 2 people in a mid-range restaurant is 50 euros. We recommend you use public transportation. One-way ticket 1.70 euros. For those who prefer private transportation the average cost for a taxi starting price is about 2.40 euros. For a 1 km ride in Metz, you have to pay about: 1.60 euros. The price of 3 stars hotel for a double room is 80 euros. Hostels are not very popular in the city of Metz, but there can be found many cheaper hotels for 30 euros per night.
What to eat in Metz?
There are plenty of places in Metz to grab a bite; all you have to do is follow your nose! The region offers a variety of local delicacies and specialties to tempt the most discerning gourmet. Go check our article about food in Lorraine to know more about the specialties that you can eat and drink in Metz's region, and here are some specialties:
Quiches are usually served for lunch or as appetizers. The Quiche Lorraine is one of the most famous dishes made by the Lorrainers. It is a simple recipe but can be very tasty. It includes a dough base that is filled with bacon, eggs, cream, nutmeg, and a dash of salt and pepper. There are many variations on this classic quiche recipe which have been developed over time by different cooks, for examples quiche with vegetables, seafood, or cheese.
For more than 20 years, this restaurant serves typical cuisine from the region of Metz. The menu is very rich in fish, meat, and desserts. You will find traditional dishes like quiche Lorraine or Mirabelle pie. The service is always very efficient and the prices are not too high.
A typical dessert of the Lorraine region, they are named after Madeleine Paulmier, a pastry chef who lived in the 18th century. The original flavor comes from almonds or lemon, but nowadays there are many variations such as chocolate, vanilla, rose, honey, lavender, and orange. Madeleine is butter cookies great combination with afternoon hot tea.
After filling our bellies, let's have a look at the events taking place in the city:
The Graoully Dragon Parade (June)
ATTENTION! Interesting spot: there is a legend telling the city was subjugated by a dragon: during the Roman empire, a dragon named Graoully lived in the amphitheater at the gates of the city. The only thing that scared him was the water. One day, it was captured and thrown into the river by Saint-Clément, who later became the city's bishop. Since that day, every year the inhabitants of Metz commemorate the death of Graoully by parading in the street and carrying an effigy of the monster. This legend remains anchored in the local memory, that’s why you will find numerous traces of it during your visit. At the parade adults and children are dressed in medieval costumes wandering through a suggested itinerary.
Mirabelle plum festival (June, August)
The Mirabelle plum is a typical Lorraine fruit and a festival is organized in its honor during the plum harvest. Born to help the agricultural world, the festival features dances, parades, street arts, art workshops, local and craft markets, fireworks, concerts, shows and the most exciting thing is the election of the Queen of the Mirabelle as tradition. The latter, together with the Metz Hot Air Balloons (Montgolfiades), a large gathering of hot air balloons held in the city center and along the waterways, create an atmosphere of great excitement.
Festival Constellations de Metz (June, September)
International Festival of Digital Arts in which hundreds of free cultural events and in particular artistic routes light up the summer: night tours capture visitors with concerts, open-air cinema, mapping, exhibitions, and shows where the prominent symbol is the Saint Étienne cathedral illuminated by a light-map.
For those who love music and festival dedicated to a different genre, here are the names of some organized in Metz: Marly Jazz Festival, Mécleuves Lands of Blues Festival, Festival "Musique Sur Les Côtes". Finally, the Festival “Le Livre à Metz” -- that lasts days during April - for reading enthusiasts. This was our short guide for Metz. Traveling through the imperial quarter, candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site, between naturalness, history, art, culture, cozy streets eating local Mirabelle plum brandy sweets. Never stop exploring beautiful places and check our other articles, and follow our Instagram @thewalkingparrot to be informed about the new articles coming!