Due to his German heritage, and military tradition, Metz is quite an unliked town in France but most of the criticism about Metz is cliché. In fact, Metz is a unique town in France thanks to a great historical background and features a beautiful old town built using the "pierre de Jaumont", a local yellow colored limestone.
Even though Metz is close to Luxembourg and Germany, locals are not fluent in german and speak French just as any other French cities. The local dialect (Platt) is spoken in some parts of northern and eastern Moselle but has never been spoken in Metz.
There is a small regional airport for Metz and Nancy (code: ETZ), located southeast of Metz. This mainly handles commercial traffic, but there are passenger flights to/from Paris, Lyon, Algiers, and several Italian destinations.
Metz is also reachable by train (including TGV), with connections to/from Paris, Luxembourg, and Strasbourg. The train station is at the southern edge of the city center.
Driving in the center of town is not recommended. Park in one of the parking areas (well-marked from the main roads in) and walk or use public transport.
Everything in city center is easily accessible on foot, and much of the main downtown/shopping area is pedestrianised. Be warned, though, that there are a few hills!
Bikes are also a great way to get around, though the same comment about hills applies here too.
Activities and Sightseeing
- Cathedrale St-Etienne, place d'Armes. The Cathedral is a truly impressive structure, overlooking the river and the city. Inside, both its height (the third-tallest nave in France) and its stained glass windows (reportedly the largest surface area in France, with several by Chagall) will impress visitors.
- Place d'Armes, the square next to the cathedral, is notable for the four buildings that surround it. They were specifically designed to show the balance between the various local powers: religion (the cathedral), the military (now converted to the tourist office), civil government (the town hall) and justice (the court building). Place d'Armes also hosts a regular market for produce and other local goods.
- The tourist office is along one side of Place d'Armes.
- The Covered Market, opposite the cathedral, was historically the bishops' palace. Today it hosts stalls selling meats, cheeses, and other regional specialities.
- The Opera-Théâtre, not far from the Cathedral, is a theatre and opera house, built between 1732 and 1752 and the oldest in France.
- The Railway Station (built in 1908) and its imperial area build during German occupation.
- If the weather is nice, rent a bike and head south along the river in the direction of Nancy. Paths are well-marked, well-maintained, and mostly flat. Bikes are available next to the train station or across the street from the cathedral. Cost is 10 EUR per day (but requires a credit card number or cash deposit of 100 EUR per bike).
- In December, Christmas markets can be found in many places. They are the best places to drink hot wine (vin chaud).
- If you want to see sport games, professional teams includes: FC Metz (football), H2ML (women's handball), SMEC (men's handball and table tennis), RC Metz (rugby). If you want to see ice hockey games, you can drive to Amneville which is home of the "Amneville Galaxians".
- Le Bouche a Oreille, 46 place St. Louis, Tel. 03 87 15 14 66. Open middays and evenings except Su and Sa/Mo midday. Specialises in dishes containing cheese in some form or other: omelettes, meats with cheese sauces, crepes/galesins, etc. The food is very good quality and very reasonably priced, served in a clean comfortable setting.
- The Irish Pub, 3 Place de Chambre, Tel. 03 87 37 01 38. That bar may have French owners, it has all the elements of a typical Irish pub.
See the listing of the Hotels in Metz
- Amnéville, small town 10 km north of Metz, that features an indoor skiing hall, a casino, two thermal centers, a zoo, a large swimming pool, an ice-rink and the largest arena in eastern France, all in the same area.
- World War II Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial: Take Highway N-3 about 45 kilometers (28 miles) east to Saint-Avold then go north on Highway N-33 for 1.2 kilometers (3/4 mile). Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The cemetery is the largest American cemetery in Europe and is the final resting place for 10,489 American military dead lost during the drive to push the Germans from France. A monument is inscribed with the names of 444 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. The memorial contains mosaic maps of World War II campaigns. Free.
- Thionville, 30 km north of Metz, is Moselle' second largest town.