Dabbling in Jet Lag
Are you wondering if Metz is worth visiting?
As someone who has lived in France for years and traveled extensively throughout the country, I can confidently say that Metz is worth it. From jaw-dropping cathedrals to indulgent cuisine, this overlooked city has something for everyone.
So, if you’re debating a trip to Metz, this guide will help you make your decision. I’m going to share with you the best things to do, top attractions to visit, as well as some insider tips. And, by the end of this article, I can guarantee you’ll be adding Metz to your France itinerary.
Table of Contents
- Is Metz Worth Visiting?
- 22 Amazing Things to Do in Metz
- Best Time to Visit Metz
- Getting to Metz
- Best Hotels in Metz
- Best Restaurants in Metz
- FAQs About Visiting Metz
- Conclusion: Is Metz Worth Visiting?
Is Metz Worth Visiting?
Yes, Metz is definitely worth visiting!
This small city in northeastern France sits in the shadows of more popular destinations like Paris, Strasbourg, and Reims. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see visitors jet from Paris to spend a day in Luxembourg without ever giving Metz a look.
But with so many things to see and do, it’s a great place to visit if you’ve never been before.
Throughout its history, Metz has been at the center of conflict between Germany and France. It danced from one country to the other, finally settling in France at the end of the Second World War.
Today, Metz borders three countries (Germany, France, and Luxembourg), so you’ll find a fascinating mix of cultures here. And with attractions like the Metz Cathedral and the Centre Pompidou-Metz, you’ll no doubt have an amazing trip!
22 Amazing Things to Do in Metz
There’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Metz.
Here’s a look at Metz’s top 22 tourist attractions and things that I recommend you do while you’re here. There are even a few off-the-beaten-path gems that only locals know about!
1. Marvel at the Temple Neuf
Surrounded by the lush Jardin d’Amour is one of the most beautiful churches in Metz, Temple Neuf. It was built in the early 1900s in a Romanesque Revival style of architecture. And despite its beauty, it was criticized heavily.
For the most spectacular view of this masterpiece head to the Moyen Pont.
Address: Place de la Comédie
2. Visit Centre Pompidou-Metz
The Centre Pompidou-Metz is a modern and contemporary art museum that is part of the renowned Centre Pompidou in Paris. It has become one of the most important art hubs in France, with a gigantic exhibition space.
But that’s not all.
It hosts up to four temporary exhibitions every year. They are entirely unique, and you won’t find them anywhere else in the world. So, make sure to check the events page to see what’s on display.
Needless to say, it’s a must-visit if you’re in town.
Address: 1 Parv. des Droits de l’Homme
3. Admire the Cathédrale de Metz
One of the best things to do in Metz is to visit the Cathédrale de Metz. Alone it stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and is among the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It’s also one of the top churches to visit in France!
From its intricate carvings to its stained-glass windows, it’s easy to see why it took 300 years to build. But that’s not all. Its nave is the third tallest in France and it houses the largest Gothic windows in Europe.
Useful Tip: The Metz Cathedral is often referred to as Cathédrale Saint Étienne de Metz.
Address: Place d’Armes
4. Appreciate the Porte des Allemands
The imposing Porte des Allemands is a striking structure that has stood in the east of Metz since the 13th century. As a fortified gateway, it once served as a bridge over the Seille River and remains the most significant relic of the medieval ramparts.
You can tour the entire fortress and climb its tower. It’s remarkably intact, and, as a bonus, admission is free!
Useful Tip: There is a small walkway that goes behind the gate. This was my favorite spot to take in the views of this magnificent structure.
Address: Boulevard André Maginot
5. Wonder at Torii Japonais
Located at the edge of Plan d’Eau de Metz is the striking Torii Japonais. Made of wood and painted in bright red, this replica is one of the most unique things to see in town.
It was commissioned for an exhibition about Japan in the 1980s and has since become a popular tourist attraction.
In Japan, Torri gates are found at the entrance to Shinto shrines. And they act as a boundary between two different worlds, one physical and one spiritual. It’s customary to pass through it in both directions. And while you can’t walk through the one in Metz, you can marvel at its beauty and surroundings.
6. Check out the Maison de l’Éclusier
The historical Maison de l’Éclusier dates to the 19th century. It’s surrounded by small canals from the Moselle River, completely isolating it. Its half-timbered frame is quite unique. And it resembles architecture that is commonly found in Alsatian villages.
It was once owned by a government agency called Voies Navigables de France (VNF), but is, now, abandoned.
Needless to say, there’s a very eerie feeling here. And even though you can’t enter the house, you can visit the grounds.
Address: Quai des Régates
7. Discover Metz’s Street Art
Metz is an amazing place to explore the world of street art. There are several different styles here, ranging from graffiti to more experimental paintings. You can find unique pieces throughout the city.
The most famous is the Mur d’Expression Libre et Artistique where artists can paint without restrictions. But my favorite was the unnamed design at the corner of Rue Holandre Piquemal and Rue Belle-Isle. Its 3D feature pulls you into the painting, creating an engaging experience.
Address: Mur d’Expression Libre et Artistique – 4B Bd Saint-Symphorien
8. Visit the Palais du Gouverneur Militaire
The Governor’s Palace is a fine example of Neo-Renaissance architecture. In fact, it’s one of the most impressive in Metz.
Located at the site of an old citadel, this palace was commissioned by the emperor in 1890. He wanted a place of residence for the commander of the XVI Corps Army, General Stoetzer.
The building itself is breathtaking and sumptuous, with intricate features and detail. You’ll no doubt be left in awe. And while you can’t tour the inside, you can stroll around its beautiful grounds and admire it from afar.
Address: 9 Rue de la Citadelle
9. Gander at the Gare de Metz-Ville
The Gare de Metz-Ville is a historic railway station located in the Imperial Quarter of Metz. After Metz was annexed to the German Empire, Emperor Wilhelm II sought to transform the city. And Gare de Metz-Ville was at the center of his campaign.
Today, the station is still functioning and serves both regional and high-speed TGV trains.
Address: 1 Rue Lafayette
10. Visit the Porte Serpenoise
The Porte Serpenoise is a triumphal arch that has stood as the southern boundary marker for centuries. Originally serving as an outlook, it was later integrated into the ramparts. It was then redesigned by German authorities in the 19th century.
After the ramparts were demolished, the gate was transformed into the arch you see today. It, now, serves to enhance the beauty of the area and provides a pleasant escape from the busy city center.
Address: Avenue Robert Schuman
11. Stop by the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains
Believe it or not but this unsuspecting church is one of the oldest in Europe!
Its history dates to the 4th century when Metz was a thriving city under the Romain Empire.
And since then, it has served several roles including a public bathhouse and a warehouse. It was restored in the 1970s and, today, it hosts events and concerts throughout the year.
While the history of the basilica is quite impressive, its architecture does not compare with the other cathedrals in Metz. I recommend stopping by but then visiting the adjacent gardens. They are some of the most beautiful in town!
Address: 1 Rue de la Citadelle
12. Relax in Jardin de l’Esplanade de Metz
The Jardin de l’Esplanade de Metz is a lush garden overlooking the Moselle River valley. Here you’ll find a wide array of colorful flora as well as sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. Then, benches are placed around the edges, making it perfect for anyone looking for a peaceful spot.
It’s a green oasis in the middle of an otherwise busy city center.
13. Visit Chapelle des Templiers
Chapelle des Templiers was once part of a large group of buildings that served as both a farm and a monastery. It took nearly 40 years to build. When it was finally finished in 1220, the style stood out and contained a unique mix of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
Today, this small chapel is all that remains, and it’s the only circular church of its kind in Lorraine.
Needless to say, it’s unique.
Address: 3 Bis Rue de la Citadelle
14. Peruse Lac des Cygnes
Step into a world of romance and wonder at Metz’s Lac aux Cygnes, where the walls of the ancient citadel still stand. Take a stroll along the treelined walkway that borders the lake. Or if you’re visiting in summer, enjoy the light and water show.
It’s a captivating experience that is the perfect addition to any itinerary!
Address: 3 Quai des Régates
15. Taken in the View from Tour des Vignerons
Overlooking the Lac des Cygnes is one of the most unsuspecting spots in Metz, the Tour des Vigerons. From the adjacent boulevard, a hidden staircase leads to a terrace where you’ll have a stunning panorama. On a clear day, you can see the infamous Tour du Temple de La Garnison de Metz and the surrounding area.
It’s easy to miss this attraction so be sure to have something like Google Maps or Maps.me on your phone.
16. Take in the View of the Jardin des Thermes
Hidden in one of the many canals of the Moselle River lies an unsuspecting gem, the Jardin des Thermes. You won’t find anything more than a few benches and a tiny green space here.
So, why bother visiting?
The view from the Pont Saint-Georges (Saint-Georges Bridge) is spectacular, that’s why.
I was in the area and when I stumbled on this viewpoint, I knew I needed to share it with my readers.
Address: 4 Place Valladier
17. Explore the Musée de la Cour d’Or
Metz is home to several world-class museums, one of them being the Musée de la Cour d’Or. Like the infamous Palais Rohan in Strasbourg, this museum is actually three museums.
There’s an archaeological museum that showcases exhibitions on Gallo-Romain and medieval art.
Then, there is the architectural museum that houses some fascinating pieces. My favorite was the Roman thermal complex. It’s almost completely intact!
And finally, there is the fine arts museum that contains pieces dating to the 17th century.
Admission is free, making it all that more enticing to visit!
Address: 2 Rue du Haut Poirier
18. Visit the Tour du Temple de La Garnison de Metz
The Tour du Temple de La Garnison de Metz is the last remaining tower of a once prominent Protestant church. It was built between 1875 and 1881 for two reasons. The first was an attempt to introduce more German-like buildings in Metz. And the second was to provide a place of worship for German soldiers.
It’s styled with several neo-Gothic elements and stands at an impressive 97 meters (318 feet). And believe it or not but it’s taller than the Metz Cathedral!
Today, the Tour du Temple de La Garnison de Metz is a popular tourist spot, offering a fascinating look into Metz’s cultural heritage. While you can’t enter the tower, it’s worth seeing this masterpiece up close.
Address: Corner of Rue Belle-Isle and Rue de la Piscine
19. Shop at the Metz Covered Market
The Metz Covered Market is a must-visit for anyone who loves touring French markets. It’s something I do in every French city I visit!
Here you’ll find tons of different vendors selling a variety of things. From local produce to fresh fish, you’re sure to find something interesting. There’s even a sandwich stand and a bakery so you can grab something on the go.
It’s also the perfect place to check out Metz’s culture. After all, this is where most locals come to do their grocery shopping!
Address: 15 Rue d’Estrées
20. Try Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine is an iconic French dish originating in the region of Lorraine, which includes Metz. If you’re looking to sample the local flavor, then you’re in the right town. It’s a savory egg custard tart made with a flaky crust and filled with bacon, onions, and cheese. And, while it might sound simple, this traditional dish is bursting with flavor.
Given its popularity, you can find it in any restaurant in town, but I recommend going to Chez Mauricette. It’s located in the Metz Covered Market, so spots fill up fast.
I was able to get a table without a reservation, but if you want to guarantee a spot you should book in advance.
21. Visit the Église Saint-Maximin de Metz
Église Saint-Maximin de Metz is a small church most known for its exquisite powder blue stained-glass windows. They were designed by Jean Cocteau in the 1960s, centuries after the church was built.
The sun shines through the window, creating a blue hue throughout the church. And when you enter, your eyes are immediately drawn to them. It’s a serene, tranquil setting that will leave you in awe.
And, since it’s off the standard tourist path, you’ll have the place to yourself!
Address: 65 Rue Mazelle
22. Go for a Stroll in Jardins Jean-Marie Pelt – Parc de la Seille
Metz boasts several parks and gardens. One of my favorites was the Jardins Jean-Marie Pelt – Parc de la Seille.
This ecological park is full of outdoor activities and a great place to spend the afternoon. From bike paths and basketball courts to ping pong tables, you won’t get bored here. I enjoyed strolling along the winding paths and taking in the beautiful views.
And don’t forget to visit the Tremblement de Ciel. This golden statue was only recently installed and represents the flame of freedom. If you visit before sunset, the sun’s rays reflect off its surface, resembling a flame.
Address: Rue Louis le Débonnaire
Best Time to Visit Metz
While you can visit Metz year-round, there are certain seasons that are better than others.
Summer (June – August) – Summer is one of the best times to visit Metz. The weather is perfect, which makes exploring the outdoor attractions more enjoyable. Towards the end of July and the beginning of August, there can be an overwhelming number of tourists. So, make sure to book your accommodation in advance if you plan on visiting during this time.
Spring (April – May) – This is a shoulder season for Metz. Temperatures are mild, but it also rains a lot. Prices are lower and with so few tourists, you’ll have the place to yourself.
Fall (September – November) – Fall is another fantastic time to visit Metz. The weather is perfect, and the summer crowds have left. Then, if you visit in late October, you’ll get to see the beautiful fall foliage.
Winter (December – March) – The weather is bleak and cold. There are more cloudy days than sunny ones. But, if you’re visiting in December, you’ll experience the Christmas market.
Getting to Metz
Since Metz is so well-located, there are several ways to get there. But it’s easiest to travel from Paris. Below I’ll cover the different travel options that are available.
The most common way to visit Metz is on a day trip from Paris or as part of an eastern France road trip.
Trains from Paris to Metz take one and a half hours. This is the cheapest and most convenient option.
Driving from Paris to Metz will give you the most control over your itinerary. You’ll have the freedom to travel at your own pace and even visit off-the-beaten-path spots.
- Distance: 331 kilometers (205 miles)
- Driving Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Best Hotels in Metz
There is no shortage of fantastic places to stay in Metz. So, I’ve put together a list of the best hotels to help you plan your trip.
- La Citadelle Metz MGallery – Beautiful rooms with fantastic views of the adjacent park. The restaurant is also amazing!
- Hôtel de la Cathédrale Metz – The best location in town, right next to the Metz Cathedral.
- Hotel de Fouquet – Chambres d’hôtes – Gorgeous rooms with a delicious breakfast. The staff is also helpful and friendly.
Best Restaurants in Metz
The traditional cuisine is quite hearty but that’s not all there is. Here’s a list of the best restaurants in Metz.
- La Fleure de Ly – French gastronomy at its finest. If you want to guarantee a table, be sure to book in advance.
- Les Pas Sages – Affordable, freshly made dishes that are nothing short of tantalizing. The staff is also very friendly.
- Restaurant Le Paris – A traditional French restaurant that is perfect for anyone looking to try some local cuisine.
FAQs About Visiting Metz
How many days do you need in Metz?
You can see all the main sights in Metz in one day. But, if you want to take your time and really explore the city, two or three days is ideal.
What is special about Metz France?
Metz is a beautiful and historic city with lots to offer. It is known for its impressive cathedrals, beautiful parks, and magnificent architecture. Additionally, it has several cultural attractions including the Centre Pompidou-Metz.
How do you get around Metz France?
The best way to get around Metz is by walking or biking. Most attractions are within walking distance, so it’s very easy to get around. But there is also an efficient public transportation system with buses running throughout the town.
Conclusion: Is Metz Worth Visiting?
Metz is a stunningly beautiful city with a ton of things to see and do. From the impressive Metz Cathedral to the enthralling Centre Pompidou-Metz, you won’t get bored here. It’s perfect for anyone who wants a mix of outdoor activities and sightseeing. So, if you haven’t visited before, now’s the perfect time to experience all that Metz has to offer!
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