Of all the Christmas markets of France, the one in Metz ranks as one of the most visited. You may have heard of Metz for its stunning gothic cathedral or for the Pompidou-Centre which opened a branch in the Lorraine city in 2010. On the occasion of our recent “Christmas Trip” in Alsace-Lorraine, we visited the Metz Christmas Market… this second stage of the trip was such an enchanting one. I hope the photos you’ll see below will prove me right!
Why you should visit the Metz Christmas Market?
For the past 25 years, the Metz Christmas market in Lorraine has become one of the largest Christmas markets in France in terms of visitors, welcoming up to 2 million people. In 2015, Metz went the extra mile, hosting a Christmas market spread over 5 sites:
- the historic Place Saint Louis – also the original site of the Metz Christmas Market.
- Place Saint-Jacques – the site of a merry-go-round and a Christmas village.
- the central-located Place d’Armes – where a 60m tall Ferries Wheel takes you well above the city’s roofs!
- Place de la Comédie – the site of a Gourmet market.
- Place de la République – there is the iconic Christmas pyramid, the Chalet of the Moselle département and an open-air ice skating rink.
The Christmas villages are joined with three other must-see sites:
- Place de la Gare – a Christmas tree in front of the beautiful railway station of Metz i
- Place de Chambre – about twenty heated bubbles that form the “igloos village” and most importantly:
- Jardin Boufflers which hosts the enchanting Sentier des Lanternes (Lanterns Trail).
A charming hotel with a view!
During my stay, I was accommodated at the Hôtel de la cathédrale***, situated 25 place de Chambre in Metz.
You can’t find a better central place to explore the old town and the Christmas market!
As its name indicates, the hotel faces the cathedral of Metz, a jewel of Gothic architecture.
The hotel occupies a historic monument (without a lift) with beautifully decorated rooms. Invited by Agence Inspire Metz I was lucky to have a room at the last level with a fantastic view of the cathedral.
Metz Christmas Market – Place d’Armes
This square bordered by the cathedral and the City-Hall features a Christmas village around one of the tallest panoramic Ferris wheels in Europe (60 m high).
From the top of the wheel, you’ll be spoilt with a breathtaking panorama of the old town of Metz.
This is your chance to have a closer look at the architectural features of the cathedral… things you couldn’t have seen from the square!
Enter the cathedral of Metz!
While you are in place d’Armes, don’t forget to enter the cathedral of Metz. You’ll be stunned by the high vaults, among the highest in the churches of France. The stained-glass windows take so much space the sanctuary was nicknamed ‘the Lantern of God’.
Metz Christmas Market – Place Saint-Jacques
Usually occupied by the terraces of cafés and restaurants in summer, the Place Saint-Jacques welcomes during Advent a village of chalets takes over the place and offers numerous local specialities and handicrafts.
The square is animated by a beautifully illuminated merry-go-round that delights children.
Metz Christmas Market – Place Saint-Louis
The traditional Christmas market in Place Saint Louis with its 90 chalets is set amidst the medieval houses bordering the square.
The stands of the Christmas market
You’ll be spoilt with a great range of local produce. I’ve found a Corsican stall and another one selling the famous artisanal sweets from the Vosges.
The Christmas merry-go-round
Finally, a double-decker merry-go-round with wooden horses is the highlight for children while their parents might wander off and marvel at the talented craftsmen exhibiting (and selling!) their products.
The Christmas tree of Place de la Gare
In the Imperial District of Metz, the newly renovated Place de la Gare is home to the lofty Christmas tree which dominates the giant Nativity scene.
The railway station of Metz is a historical monument that was built under the German annexation of Metz (1871-1918). It is often referred to as France’s most beautiful railway station.
The station opens onto an area built by the Germans: the Imperial district.
Metz Christmas Market – Place de la République
Opened in 1802, the Place de la République is the largest square in Metz city centre.
In 2021, it became the heart of the Christmas market of Metz with the Christmas pyramid, a chair swing ride, an open-air ice rink, and about 30 chalets, including the MOSL Quality Chalet.
The Christmas Pyramid of Metz
At the entrance of the square stands an elegant ‘Pyramide de Noël’ (Christmas pyramid).
This is an important feature of a German Christmas market that is seldom found in France.
The ground floor houses a Christmas store (tree decorations, baubles…).
Crib figures occupy the upper pivoting levels of the structure.
The MOSL Quality Chalet
The chalet is a space dedicated to exceptional products from the agriculture and crafts of the Moselle département.
About twenty craftsmen, local farmers and suppliers in deposit-sale offer Lorraine specialities: chocolates, jams and honey, local beers, Moselle AOC wines, Boulay macaroons, spritz (small Christmas cakes).
But also gift ideas “Made in Moselle”: glass art, original decorative objects, Mirabelle plum-scented candles, soaps with Christmas scents, and the unavoidable Meisenthal Christmas ornaments.
The Christmas market on Place de la République
Metz Christmas Market – Place de la Comédie
In the Place de la Comédie, not far from the cathedral, is a gastronomic Christmas market. You’ll find eat-in gourmet food such as oysters, foie gras, snails, sweets and confectionary, wine of Moselle, coffee and more.
The Christmas lights of Metz
We recommend staying in Metz overnight to enjoy the Christmas lighting set up in the streets of the old town. The cities’ major monuments are carefully lit at night such as the beautiful cathedral, visible from far like a golden crown above the city.
Several places in Metz are worth a visit at night.
Explore the old town of Metz by walking in rue du Faisan and rue du Palais before arriving at the shopping streets of rue des Clercs and rue Serpenoise.
Delicious moments in Metz!
You’ll see some amazing window-shop – I particularly like those of confiseries-pâtisseries!
Then head to the banks of the River Moselle. From Moyen-Pont, you’ll get a romantic view of Metz with the Temple-Neuf and the cathedral in the distance.
The romantic square of Place de la Comédie is located on an island where can be seen one of the best sights of Metz’ illuminations: the Cathedral, the opera theatre and the Temple Neuf.
Close by is another must-see attraction to see in Metz before heading to your restaurant or hotel: the Trail of Lanterns!
The fairy-tale Trail of Lanterns
This is definitely the most enchanting Christmas attraction in Metz! The place that will take you back to your fondest childhood memories.
The Trail of Lanterns (Sentier des Lanternes) takes place in Jardin de Boufflers behind the Palais de Justice.
The magical trail takes you on a walk in a fairy-tale arctic forest – to Santa’s world. At nightfall, 400 lanterns dot the park, creating an enchanting circuit.
You’ll encounter toy soldiers, elves and Santa’s reindeer surrounded by a multitude of colourful hearts, stars, gingerbread men, teddy bears and rocking horses.
Without forgetting an array of delicious sweets from candy canes to lollipops!
You will be greeted by Santa’s next to a lovely lantern-Christmas tree.
Each edition of the trail is different. In 2018 the grand finale was a mountain of Christmas presents ready to be shipped!
One last view of the cathedral of Metz by night before it’s time to head to the hotel!
Saint-Nicolas Celebrations in Metz
Saint Nicolas’ Day is mainly celebrated in north-eastern France, in the regions of Alsace and Lorraine. The festivities of Saint Nicolas usually takes place on the 6th December, in commemoration of his death.
In Metz and in other parts of Lorraine, Saint Nicolas goes throughout the town visiting schools, so every child can receive sweets and lollies from him.
The Saint-Nicolas celebrations in Metz take place with a magical parade and procession made up of many enchanting floats. The parade starts from the railway station and traditionally ends at the Place d’Armes in front of the cathedral.
Metz Christmas Market: English-French Vocabulary
(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs
Practical info about Metz Christmas Market
Find out more about the Holiday Season in Metz on the official website of Christmas in Metz. You’ll find all the opening dates and hours for the Christmas markets and events.
Discover Christmas in Metz and Lorraine:
- The celebrations of Christmas in Lorraine
- Why you should discover the city of Metz
- Our article in French about Christmas in Metz
- The Tourist Office website of Metz
Book your stay in Metz!
My advice: don’t wait too long before booking your accommodation in Metz, particularly at Christmas time!
The Metz Christmas Market draws a lot of people and availabilities in hotels/short-rentals tend to go very quickly.
To book your accommodation in Metz, click on this affiliate link which will redirect you to our partner booking.com… or use the interactive map below:
Make Metz your base for Christmas!
Situated at 1.20hrs from Paris Gare de l’Est, the city of Metz makes a good base for visiting the other Christmas markets in the surrounding cities and regions: Nancy (40 min by train), Strasbourg (1 h by train only), Luxembourg (50 min by train), and Germany: Trier (1hrs50 by train) and Saarbrücken (1h by train).
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A huge thank you to Agence Inspire Metz for welcoming me during this unforgettable stay in Metz. This was such a superb opportunity to discover the holiday season in Metz. This article is the account of my stay and I hope it will encourage you to come and explore this beautiful historic town in Lorraine.