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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.
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Walking in the Metz Christmas Market on place Saint-Louis © French Moments

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.

Hôtel de la Cathédrale Metz © French Moments
Metz Cathedral from my room at Hôtel de la Cathédrale © French Moments

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.

👉 Book your room at Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz here…

Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments
My room at Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments
Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments
The hallway of the Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments
Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments
A beautifully decorated hotel! Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments
Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments
Through the window, Hôtel de la Cathédrale in Metz © French Moments

 

Metz Christmas Market – Place d’Armes

Christmas in Metz © French Moments
The Christmas Ferris Wheel in Place d’Armes, Metz © French Moments

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).

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
The great Ferris Wheel of Metz, Place d’Armes © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
A chalet in Place d’Armes, Metz © French Moments
The gondolas of the Ferris Wheel of Metz © French Moments
The gondolas of the Ferris Wheel of Metz © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Place d’Armes, Metz © French Moments

From the top of the wheel, you’ll be spoilt with a breathtaking panorama of the old town of Metz.

Metz © French Moments
Metz from the top of the Ferris Wheel © French Moments
Christmas in Metz © French Moments
The Outre-Seille and Station district, Metz © French Moments
Christmas in Metz © French Moments
The Sainte-Croix district of Metz seen from the Ferris Wheel © French Moments
Christmas in Metz © French Moments
The view from the Ferris Wheel looking South © French Moments

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!

Metz Cathedral © French Moments
The illuminated façade © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
The Tour de la Mutte © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
The spire of Metz Cathedral © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
Metz Cathedral from the Ferris Wheel © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
Metz Cathedral from the Ferris Wheel © French Moments

 

Enter the cathedral of Metz!

Metz Cathedral © French Moments
The western portal of Metz Cathedral © French Moments

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 Cathedral © French Moments
The vaults of Metz Cathedral © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
Looking up! © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
The choir of Metz Cathedral © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
The nave of Metz Cathedral © French Moments

 

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

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
The fantastic Metz Christmas Market on place Saint-Louis © French Moments

The traditional Christmas market in Place Saint Louis with its 90 chalets is set amidst the medieval houses bordering the square.

Place Saint-Louis, Metz © French Moments
The old arcades of Place Saint-Louis © French Moments

 

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.

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Corsican produce at The Metz Christmas Market on place Saint-Louis © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Fancy a sweetie from the Vosges mountains? © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
The Metz Christmas Market on place Saint-Louis © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Gingerbread chalet at The Metz Christmas Market on place Saint-Louis © French Moments

 

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.

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
The merry-go-round of place Saint-Louis, Metz © French Moments

 

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 © French Moments
The railway station of Metz © French Moments

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 railway station of Metz © French Moments
The great hall of departure, railway station of Metz © French Moments
The railway station of Metz © French Moments
The Christmas tree on place du Général de Gaulle, Metz © French Moments
The railway station of Metz © French Moments
Christmas at the railway station of Metz © French Moments
The railway station of Metz © French Moments
The railway station of Metz © French Moments

The station opens onto an area built by the Germans: the Imperial district.

Christmas in Metz © French Moments
A cosy coffee-shop in rue Gambetta, Metz © French Moments

 

Metz Christmas Market – Place de la République

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market on Place de la République © French Moments

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).

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
The Christmas pyramid of Metz on Place Saint-Louis in 2018. In 2021, the Pyramid moved to Place de la République © French Moments

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…).

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
The Christmas shop at the base of the pyramid © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Metz – The Nativity scene inside the Christmas pyramid © French Moments

 

Crib figures occupy the upper pivoting levels of the structure.

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
At the top of the Christmas pyramid, place Saint-Louis © French Moments

 

The MOSL Quality Chalet

The chalet is a space dedicated to exceptional products from the agriculture and crafts of the Moselle département.

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
The Moselle chalet, place Saint-Jacques © French Moments

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).

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Local produce from Lorraine inside the Moselle Chalet, place Saint-Jacques © French Moments

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.

Meisenthal Christmas Bauble, Metz © French Moments
Meisenthal Christmas bauble in Metz © French Moments

 

The Christmas market on Place de la République

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
A gingerbread chalet at the Metz Christmas Market on Place de la République © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market on Place de la République © French Moments
Metz Christmas Market © French Moments
Chalets on the Metz Christmas Market on place de la République © French Moments
Christmas in Metz © French Moments
The open-air ice-skating rink, place de la République © French Moments

 

Metz Christmas Market – Place de la Comédie

Metz Christmas market © French Moments
The Christmas Market of Place de Chambre, Metz © French Moments

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.

Christmas in Metz © French Moments
The cathedral of Metz seen from Moyen-Pont © French Moments

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

Metz Christmas market © French Moments
Evening stroll in the streets of Metz (here, rue du Faisan) © French Moments

 

Delicious moments in Metz!

You’ll see some amazing window-shop – I particularly like those of confiseries-pâtisseries!

Metz at Christmas © French Moments
Saint-Nicolas chocolate délices in a chocolaterie-confiserie, old town of Metz © French Moments

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.

Metz by night © French Moments
The banks of the Moselle by night, Metz © French Moments

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

The Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments
Exploring the Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments

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.

The Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments
The Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments

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!

A forest of Sugar canes at the Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments

You will be greeted by Santa’s next to a lovely lantern-Christmas tree.

The Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments
Greetings from Santa from the Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments

Each edition of the trail is different. In 2018 the grand finale was a mountain of Christmas presents ready to be shipped!

The Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments
A mountain of Christmas presents at the Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments

One last view of the cathedral of Metz by night before it’s time to head to the hotel!

The Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments
Christmas lights at the Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments

 

Saint-Nicolas Celebrations in Metz

Saint-Nicolas © French Moments
Saint-Nicolas © French Moments

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

Metz Christmas Market Vocabulary © French Moments

 

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:

 

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:



Booking.com

 

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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Metz Christmas Market © French Moments

 

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.

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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  1. Very interesting!! My family is originally from Moselle. Where can I find i formation on the Chalet MOSL now that Christmas is over? I wish to buy French Christmas decorations and gifts for my family.

    1. Hello Scott, the MOSL chalet is only open during the Christmas market… and although the event did not occur in Dec 2020 due to Covid-19, there were three temporary Xmas stores open across Metz. Unfortunately they have been closed since and as far as I know, Christmas gifts and decorations won’t be available until next November. That said, the MOSL chalet is an initiative to put local producers in the spotlight and you may found their products in their respective websites (for example: Macarons de Boulay > https://www.macaronsdeboulay.com/). Hope this helps! 🙂

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