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. Luxembourg airport is situated at 1 hour by car and Roissy-Charles de Gaulle (Paris) at 1h20 by TGV train.
Metz is also reachable by train (including TGV), with connections to/from Paris (1h20), Luxembourg, and Strasbourg. The train station is at the southern edge of the city center. You should note that if you have a Eurail pass you will probably not be able to leave for a few weeks (you must make reservations way in advance).
Metz lies along the A31, north of Nancy and south of Luxembourg. From Paris (3h20) or Strasbourg (1h50), take the A4 to the A31; Metz is just to the south. Note that motorway is free from Luxembourg to Metz.
A shuttle bus is also available from Frankfurt-Hahn airport.
Driving in the center of town is not recommended for people who don't know the city very well. Park in one of the parking areas (well-marked from the main roads in) and walk or use public transport. The bus line are efficient with 10mn between each bus in all the directions. One single ticket can be used on different lines for connections. Note that bus service begins at 5:00am and ends at 9:00pm, and 00:00pm in the town center.
Be aware of immigrant beggars in parking areas offering to watch your car and approaching you at ticket machines when your wallet is in your hand. Local police refuse to prevent this activity even though they accept it is illegal and keeps visitors away.
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. The red of bicycle path is increasingly developing.
Places to visit
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 specialties.
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 built during German occupation.
Gardens. Metz is known to be a garden-city, crossed by the Moselle river and the Seille river, with many islands in the town center. With more than 470 hectare of gardens, it is one of the greener city in France.
In the summer, have a sandwich on le plan-d'eau, an extended garden with grass and a stretch of water where you can hire pedolos or little boat.
The Esplanade, in the town center with a big fountain where young people lay down on the grass and cool off in the fountain.
The Botanic Garden of 1866 with old greenhouses and more than 4,500 plants.
The religious heritage is everywhere in the city :
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.
Saint-Pierre aux Nonnains church. The oldest church of France. Built in a roman gymnasium.
The protestant temple, in front of the theatre, built by the German in the 19th century.
And others 30 churches in the town.
In the winter, take advantage of the Saint-Nicolas parade on the 6 of December. You can also visit the famous Christmas market everywhere in the city and taste hot-wine to warm up. It is also a step to visit Trier, Luxembourg ans Alsace Christmas markets.
Contemporary art. The Centre-Pompidou Metz opened in 2010 and is since the most-visited french museum out of Paris. It gathers at least 3 different temporary exhibitions and is free for people under 26. Moreover, the FRAC (regional fund of contemporary art) welcome you and allow you to discover young artists works.
Do and events
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 per day (but requires a credit card number or cash deposit of €100 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".
Centre Pompidou-Metz. Recently opened modern art gallery in Metz. 7 Euros.
Musée de la Cour d'or. A museum about Metz history, from the prehistory to contemporary ages, built on still visible roman thermal bathes.
Food and drinks
Le Bouche a Oreille, 46 place St. Louis, Tel. 03 87 15 14 66. Open mid-days 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.
Da Luigi, 39 Rue Jardins, ☎ 03 87 75 12 50. Decent Italian restaurant which specializes in pizza. Located less than 5 minutes by foot from Place d'Armes.
Restaurant des Roches, 27 Rue Roches, ☎ +33 3 87 74 06 51. Cuisine "gastronomique traditionnelle." One of the nicer restaurants in Metz. With two menus, one at 35€ and the other at 50€, it's not the cheapest option in Metz, but the price matches the service and quality. Full wine menu.
Le Serpenoise, 18 Avenue Robert Schuman. Kebab shop and hookah lounge just next to Place de la Republique. Better than average kebab in a very convenient location.
Crêperie Le Saint Malo, 14 Rue Clercs, ☎ 03 87 74 56 85. Classic Bretagne creperie. Large selection of both savory and sweet crepes. Friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices. Don't forget to have cider with dinner!
Lexis Alanya Snack, 6 Rue Paul Bezanson (Next to Pasta Mano). Fast food restaurant located in the heart of the old city. Great kebab and great location. Grab a kebab and bring it back to one of the fine drinking establishments surrounding the shop.
La Villa Rouge
Le Bar Latino
The place to go out on Sunday evening. Bars are all over the square, with their terraces touching each other. If you get bored in a bar, just go to the one next to you.
Le View, 2 Place Saint Jacques.
Le Cherry, The new trendy bar in Metz. Think to book on Sunday to have a seat inside, but the terrace is always available. Good music, waiters and service irreproachable.
le Pop White, 4, Place Saint Jacques.
Vivian's Pub Fairy, Place St Louis. 19:00-02:00, most nights. Old-style pub with decor not that unlike a medieval watering hole. Good selection of alcohol at reasonable prices. Enjoy a beer on the plaza in the warmer months or duck inside in the winter and warm up with an Irish coffee.
Le Formica,4 Rue du Change. Every furniture in this bar is vintage from the 50's : sofas, tables, chairs, everything is retro, pretty good, especially tasteful. There are even books and magazines on the shelves.You can chose the terrace of the small square of Exchange.
Au Bureau, 19-21, Place Saint -Louis. This pub is made to relax with friends on large sofas, watching games on a TV screen, and sometimes on a giant screen on special occasions. In winter, the English decor that mixes wood and zinc warms you, as the many types of beer you can choose from around the world. Think to order a bureau cocktail (for 4 persons).
Place de Chambre
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.
Comédie Café, 2 Rue du Pont des Roches, ☎ +33 3 87 36 56 97. One of the cheapest bars in Metz. Happy hour every night until 8pm. 2€ pints and 10€ 50 pitchers of Amos, a local brew. Young and lively crowd. Trivia every Tuesday. cheap.
La Chenille Bleue, 9 rue Mazelle, ☎ 03 87 15 11 08. close @2, 3 on weekends. A nice hookah lounge in what looks like an old wine cellar with neat arched ceilings. Can get a liter of Stella Artois for 7€, or they have a great international beer selection.
Les Berthom, 24 Rue du Palais, ☎ 03 87 75 25 52. Bar specializing in Belgian brews. Enormous selection of Belgian beers both on tap and bottled. Great atmosphere, though crowded during happy hour. Mixed, but generally young crowd. Drinks are mid-priced, which is why everyone packs in during happy hour in order to enjoy a Trappist beer without burning a hole in their pocket.
The Café Mathis, 72 En Fournirue, Te 08 99 96 58 89. You need to know the place to notice it. The purpose of this bar is to offer a relaxing time in a convivial atmosphere. Built in length, the decor is characterized by the paintings on the wall. But this bar is mainly to discover in the summer when he takes his ease on the terrace at the corner of Enjurue and Rue d'Enfer, in the courtyard of Space Rabelais. Tables and wooden chairs, white umbrellas, moonlight and beer: all the ingredients for a change of scenery.
Les arrangés du bocal, 34 Rue Taison. From 10am to 2 in the night, you will discover many home-made italian bruschette and tasty salad. But the reason why this new bar is well-known in Metz is for its huge collection of home-made rum-arrangé. You can chose between 130 tastes from classical one (cherry, strawberry, apple, orange, etc) to more exotic (passion fruit, carambar, local fruit mirabelle, vanilla, spices...).
Le café Jeanne d'Arc, Place Jeanne d'Arc. The building dates from the 13th century and this is what gives charm to the bar. Inside, on the walls, you will discover 16th century stencils and drawings from the 13th century. The terrace is open from 1st of March until 31st of October and jazz concerts attract students in this very nice cave.
Les trinitaires. An open-air concert place in the shape of a Roman theatre.
Metz is quite a safe town. Avoiding suburbs like Borny or St Eloy, and the old town's small alleys by night is, however, recommended.
In the centre, some people are likely to ask you to give them a cigarette or even use of your mobile phone.
Hospitals and Emergency Contacts
As in all French cities, the health system is free and if you are in trouble don't hesitate to call the SAMU (number: 15) to get an ambulance.
Metz (in French, pronounced [mɛs] for historical reasons) is the capital of the Lorraine region of France and located in the Moselle department that borders Luxembourg and Germany.
Due to its German heritage, and military tradition, Metz is not quite your typical French town, but most of the criticism about Metz is unfair and clichéd. 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 coloured limestone. It's 390,000 inhabitants agglomeration gathers historical elements of many periods : Roman vestiges, Middle Ages old city, 18th century classicism buildings, German-style neighbourhood of the annexation and contemporary museums.
The weather in Metz is associated to a semi continental climate.The summers are humid and hot and the warmest month of the year is August, when temperatures average approximately 26 °C (78.8 °F), but the perceived temperature is much higher due to the lack of wind. The winters are cold and snowy with temperature dropping to an average of −0.5 °C (31.1 °F) in January. Lows can be much colder through the night and early morning and the snowy period extends from November to February. The length of the day varies significantly over the course of the year. The shortest day is 21 December with 8:01 hours of sunlight; the longest day is 20 June with 15:58 hours of sunlight.
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. Employees of tourist places, museums and the Tourist Office are able to welcome visitors in English, German and often Spanish.
Amnéville, small town 10 km north of Metz, that features an indoor skiing hall, a casino, two thermal centers, one of the most beautiful and biggest zoos in Europe, 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 second 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. The largest American Cemetery and Memorial is in Meuse-Argonne France, which covers 130.5 acres. There rests the largest number of American military dead in Europe, a total of 14,246. Most of those buried here lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. It is one hour and 15 minutes away from Metz.
Industrial heritage in the north of the Moselle department. Coal and steel mines can be visited as well as steel industry factories. The U4 blast furnace in Uckange has been converted in a cultural site.
Luxembourg, is 1 hour by car; the capital of the country Luxembourg. You do not need to bring a passport as the border is completely open.
Madine lake : a lake at 50mn by car from Metz where you can hire boats, take a day to cycle around the lake, or just sunbathe.