A town of art and history, Metz is located in north-eastern France at the junction of the Moselle and Seille rivers. Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and is situated near the borders of Luxembourg and Germany.
To reach Metz by road, take the A31 motorway from Nancy in the north or Luxembourg in the south. Take the A4 followed by the A31 if travelling from Paris or Strasbourg.
Passenger flights from Paris, Lyon, Algiers and Italy run to and from the small regional airport which services Metz and Nancy. The airport is located 16.5km southeast of Metz in the town of Goin.
TGV high speed rail as well as regular trains connect to Metz, with services running between the city and Paris, Lorraine, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. The journey from Paris on the TGV takes 82 minutes. Eurail pass holders are advised to make advance bookings.
The city itself is very pedestrian friendly and all major attractions and amenities are easily accessible on foot. For this reason though, driving to and around the city centre is not recommended. Bicycle hire is also available, as is a well serviced public transport network.
The city has fallen under various rulers throughout its long history including Frankish throne, the Holy Roman Empire, the German Empire and then finally the French with the Peace of Westphalia. Germany again gained control of Metz during the Franco-Prussian War and it wasn’t until the post-WWI Treaty of Versaille that the city was returned to the French. The Germans occupied Metz once more during WWII.
There are several interesting sights you should take in while visiting Metz, including:
- St Stephen’s Cathedral which dates back to the 14th century and features stunning Gothic stained glass windows which has earned it the nickname “Good Lord’s Lantern”.
- The Gothic Cathédrale St-Étienne, which also features beautiful stained glass windows from the Gothic and Renaissance periods.
- Place d’Armes, the square next to the Cathédrale St-Étienne which is bordered on each side by significant buildings – the cathedral, town hall, court house and military offices which now serve as the tourist office. A market is held in the square on a regular basis.
- Quartier de la Gare, featuring a mix of German neo-Renaissance buildings as well as French neoclassical architecture.
- Musée La Cour d’Or which houses a collection of ancient antiquities.
- The Opera-Théâtre which dates back to the mid-1700s and is the oldest in France.
For some relaxation, take a stroll along the Esplanade, which is flanked by impressive public buildings and includes a park on its west and north-western sides. Boats and row-boats are available for hire in the park during warmer months. Or perhaps, rent a bicycle and take a ride south along the river upon one of the town’s well maintained bike paths.