In less than an hour’s drive from Luxembourg, you can reach a city where the old and the new mix in a smooth way. If you love history, traditional markets, comfy food and special treats, this article is for you. Just make sure you’re not hungry while reading it!
Let’s start our journey to this city with a 3,000-year-old history, not only steeped in Romance culture, but also strongly influenced by Germanic culture due to its location. Metz is located 43 km from the Schengen tripoint where the borders of France, Germany, and Luxembourg meet. The city was built in a place where many branches of the Moselle river create several islands, which are encompassed in the urban planning.
Metz features noteworthy buildings such as the Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral, the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, its Station Palace, and its Opera House, the oldest one working in France. Also, Metz is home to some world-class venues including the Arsenal Concert Hall and the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum.
An itinerary suggestion
The secret to any journey? Make sure to leave home early! Especially if you are travelling with kids. This way you avoid not only traffic jams but also crowded places at the destination, not to mention parking problems. Metz city centre is full of pedestrian areas, so you should definitely consider using one of the public parking facilities. For our journey, I suggest using the parking Cathédrale as it is right in the middle of everything.
First things first, once you park your car, it is time for a yummy breakfast. Just outside the parking lot, at Place de la Cathédrale, you can find the legendary Namur where you can have French patisseries, delicacies and decent coffee. If it is too crowded, there’s my favourite, Paul bakery, just around the corner (9, rue du Petit Paris).
Now that you are redy to continue our journey, please take a few steps back to find the monumental Saint-Stephen Cathedral. Spend some time inside to explore its beautiful stained glass windows and Gothic style. If you choose a Saturday morning to take your trip to Metz, you will find a busy street market around the Cathedral. There, you can find almost everything, from fresh local produce to clothes and antiques. On the other side, right at Place de la Cathedrale, you will find the historical building hosting a market – the Marché Couvert de Metz. It is one of the oldest markets in France and home to local food producers and retailers, including greengrocers, butchers, cheesemakers, and wine dealers. If you have babies and you are carrying a pram, don’t be scared of the market stairs, as there is a flat access right in the middle of the building.
Now you will have bought some fresh groceries and tasted some delicious cheese and wine, and it is time to explore the streets outside the market. As said before, most of the streets are pedestrian, so feel free to relax and enjoy a nice walk enjoying the local atmosphere.
Ready for lunch? If so, just walk a few minutes to Le Bistrot de G (9, rue du Faisan). I must say it was a really nice surprise: The manager welcomes every single guest, all the staff is family friendly, the food is what I call ‘super-comfy-home-food’ and also, they speak English! Not easy to find that combination, right? The only drawback: the place doesn’t have baby chairs, nor baby changing facilities, so please consider bringing a portable chair or my favourite – sackn’ seat.
If you have some additional shopping to do, it is good to know that Marques Avenue outlet is nearby. On the motorway to Luxembourg, just take the exit to Talange and follow the signs to Marques Avenue. Also, near the border, you can find the sports favourite Decathlon (exit Terville).
Did you know that Arsenal Concert Hall is home to several concerts and shows for the entire family? It is useful to know that you can find reduced price tickets at Auchan.
By Rute Vendeirinho, February 2014