Metz, Lorraine: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Metz (Lorraine, France)
Metz is a large town located in north-east France to the south of Luxembourg and north of Nancy. The border between France and Germany is a short distance to the east.
Metz is an important regional centre with a substantial number of historic monuments and sites. The town has artefacts dating back to the roman era and is best known for its large open squares lined with 18th century townhouses, its impressive cathedral and other religious monuments, and its museums.
A visit to Metz begins with the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, a beautiful Gothic-style church. Construction of the cathedral started around 1250, based around a pre-existing Romanesque church: the project was completed in 1522, and the façade was rebuilt in 1903.
Despite the long construction period the cathedral of Saint-Etienne is a successful blending of many different arts, styles of architecture, sculptors and glass-making. The interior measures 123 meters long by 42 metres high (it is one of the tallest cathedrals in France).
The stained glass-windows at Metz cathedral are well known throughout the world and date from various periods (XIV-XX century). The most recent are a work by Jacques Villon (1957) and Marc Chagall (1960-71).
Other religious monuments in Metz include the church of St.-Pierre-de-la Citadelle (built between the 10th-15th century on a pre-existing 7th century structure) with the chapel of the Templars, a small building of Gothic octagonal plan (XII century). The church of saint-Maximin is best known for its blue windows designed by Jean Cocteau.
Also interesting are the churches of Saint-Martin (XII-XV century) and Saint-Vincent (XIII century with additions and alterations in the XVIII century), and the churches of Carmine, Assumption (XVII - XVIII) and St. Pierre-aux-Nonnais, built on a complex of ancient Gallo-Roman baths that were converted during the seventh century into a Christian church.
The Temple Neuf, built in the early 20th century, stands on a picturesque island in the Moselle river, best seen from the Pont Moyen.
Other places to visit in Metz
As well as the large squares such as the Place Saint-Louis with its grand medieval townhouses, in the surrounding narrow streets Metz also has a substantial historic centre. Among other highlights you can see the Recollets cloisters and the Porte des Allemands.
A large part of the original ramparts of the town are still intact and there is a walk that follows these for more than a kilometre.
The 16th century Maison des Tetes has interesting carvings incorporated in its facade.
In Rue du Haut Poitier is the important Musée La Cour d'Or, a museum with valuable collections of Roman and Medieval art (ancient baths, carved funerary steles, various objects of daily use and tombs of Merovingian kings). In the painting section there are works by J.B. Camille Corot (1796-1875), Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) , Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) and some painters of the 'School of Metz'.
A site of considerable cultural interest in the city centre, in Place de la Comedie, is the ancient Theatre (XVIII century), known for its musical vitality and for the quality of the choreographic season, which attracts enthusiasts from across Europe.
One unusual building is Metz railway station, with sculpted panels depicting warriors, peasants and scenes of everyday life.
Next to the railway station is the 'Centre Pompidou-Metz', a centre for contemporary art that features an annual exhibition by such prestigious artists as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, George Braque, René Magritte, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.
Naturalists will also want to visit the Jardin Botanique, with 80 different varieties of roses, herbs, flowers of every hue and fragrance, in addition to palms, and high trees such as the 140 years old sequoia tree.
There are also many cultural initiatives in Metz, such as the 'Book Day', and the Music Festival. In September the cultural life of Metz comes alive with some excellent theatrical performances, music and dances.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Lorraine guide.
Map of Metz and places to visit
Visit near Metz with France This Way reviews
Metz has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Metz, Metz-Ville, Moselle, Lorraine, 57000, France || GPS: latitude 49.1203, longitude 6.1778
Plan your visit to Metz, Lorraine
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Parc du château de Pange: remarkable garden (13km)
- Parc zoologique d'Amnéville: zoo or wildlife park (14km)
- Rombas: ville fleurie 4* (16km)
- Lorraine: regional natural parc (27km)
Market days in Metz, France
Regular market(s) are held in Metz each Wednesday & Tuesday & Thursday & Saturday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Metz (Francais)