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 the Chalet of the Moselle département.
- the central-located Place d’Armes – where a 60m tall Ferries Wheel takes you well above the city’s roofs!
- Place de Chambre – the site of a Gourmet market.
- Place de la République – there is the 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 la Comédie – Christmas decorations with a superb view of the cathedral and Temple-Neuf, and most importantly:
- Jardin Fabert which hosts the enchanting Sentier des Lanternes.
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 it names indicates, the hotel faces the cathedral of Metz, a jewel of Gothic architecture.
The hotel occupies a historic monument (without 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 on place d’Armes, don’t forget to enter in 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
In Place Saint-Jacques, the village is made up of 20 chalets carefully decorated. The wooden stalls present Christmas ornaments and decorations, next to the traditional merry-go-round. Mulled wine and cookies are served for those fond of good food!
This is where you’ll find one of my favourite chalets: the Chalet Qualité MOSL.
The chalet is dedicated to the great produce of the Moselle département: chocolates, jams and honeys, local beer, AOC Moselle wines, Boulay macarons, spritz (Christmas cookies). There are also “Made in Moselle” gift ideas: glasswork, decorative items, mirabelle-fragranced candles, Christmas scented soaps…
Without forgetting the famous Meisenthal Christmas baubles, which have become increasingly popular in Alsace-Lorraine.
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 Christmas pyramid of the Metz Christmas Market
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 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 wonder 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 which was built under the German annexation of Metz (1871-1918). It is often referred as France’s most beautiful railway station.
The stations opens onto an area built by the Germans: the Imperial district.
Metz Christmas Market – Place de la République
The new renovated Place de la République was inaugurated on the 20th November 2010, which marked the starting point of the festive Christmas season. It features a giant ice-skating rink (1,000 m2) and a village made up of chalets. Place de la République is definitely the new hub for Metz during Christmas.
Metz Christmas Market – Place de Chambre
At the foot of the covered market, not far from the cathedral, is a gastronomic Christmas market that takes place on the Place de Chambre. 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 shops – I particularly like those of confiseries-pâtisseries !
One is an “institution” in Metz: the Fresson pâtisserie (17 rue du Grand Cerf, not far from place Saint-Louis).
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) starts from place de la Préfecture and covers the entire Fabert Park along the banks of the Moselle River.
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 reindeers 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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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. ?
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