Impressive historical monuments, a picturesque riverside location and graceful bridges give Metz its special charm. Metz is listed as a “City of Art and History” (City of Art and History) because of its exceptional heritage. Metz was incorporated into France in 1552, but from 1870 to 1918 and during World War II it belonged to Germany (about 70 kilometers away).
Metz has a picturesque historic center with narrow cobbled streets, beautiful old buildings and a beautiful Gothic cathedral. The city is a beautiful blend of different neighborhoods, each with a distinct personality. The Outre-Seille district has an attractive medieval character. The Iles district has elegant squares and atmospheric canals. The Citadelle district offers old buildings and beautiful green spaces. Visitors will enjoy wandering the atmospheric streets, exploring the museums and attractions, shopping in trendy boutiques, strolling through the parks and relaxing in the outdoor cafes.
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1 St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Affectionately called the “Lantern of God” for its awe-inspiring stained glass windows, Saint-Etienne Cathedral is a jewel of Gothic architecture. This magnificent cathedral is one of the tallest Gothic buildings in Europe with a nave 42 meters high, while its slender towers and delicate spires soar even higher to the sky. The cathedral was built between 1250 and 1380 on a uniform plan, incorporating the former church of Notre-Dame-la-Ronde. The facade has beautiful reliefs, including the ‘Portail de la Vierge’ (Passage of the Virgin), made in 1240.
The interior of Metz Cathedral has an overwhelming effect, with its great height and width and colorful stained glass windows. The brilliantly lit sanctuary has 6,500 square feet of stained glass windows. The windows date from the 13th to the 20th century. The 14th-century rose window on the west side and the 16th-century windows in the chancel and transepts are particularly beautiful. The Chapelle du Saint-Sacrement (des Evêques) is decorated with stained glass windows created by Jacques Villon in 1957. Abstract 1950s windows by Bissière grace the towers. The cathedral also has three windows made by Marc Chagall in 1960. The choir has a marble bishop’s throne of the Merovingian period.
Address: Place d’Armes, Metz
Official site: https://www.cathedrale-metz.fr/Welcome.html
2 Center Pompidou-Metz
This bold modern art museum opened on May 12, 2010 and focuses on works of art created from 1905 to the present day. The award-winning building was designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, in collaboration with Philip Gumuchdjian Architects. In the middle of two gardens, the museum has 10,700 square meters of exhibition space divided into three galleries with large windows that provide natural light. The Center Pompidou-Metz is the sister organization of the Center Pompidou, the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris. The Center Pompidou-Metz draws its exhibits from the Paris-based Center Pompidou collection of 76,000 pieces, one of the world’s best collections of modern and contemporary art. Despite its association with the Parisian museum, the museum in Metz is an independent organization offering its own program and unique experience. Through its attractive exhibits, the museum encourages viewers to interpret and appreciate modern art. The Pompidou-Metz Center also hosts performing arts events, cinema screenings and conferences throughout the year. The museum’s gourmet restaurant features a terrace with panoramic views.
Address: 1 Square of Human Rights, Metz
Official site: https://www.centrepompidou-metz.fr/en/welcome
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3 Museums of Metz Métropole La Cour d’Or (art and history museum)
This famous museum is located in La Cour d’Or, a beautiful historic building named after the legendary palace of the Merovingian kings that once stood here. Parts of the museum occupy the former Abbaye des Petits Carmes and the Eglise des Trinitaires. The museum has an excellent collection and is dedicated to four disciplines: archaeology, architecture, medieval art and history and visual arts. The collection of antiquities focuses on the Gallo-Roman period and includes remains of ancient baths and everyday objects. The medieval section has Merovingian tombs, religious art, medieval treasures from the 11th century and the choir of the Saint Pierre-aux-Nonnains church. The fine arts collection includes French, Dutch, German and Flemish paintings from the 16th to the 20th century, as well as artwork by Ecole de Metz painters. There is also a room dedicated to the history of the Jewish community in Metz. The museum is located in theQuartier Colline Sainte-Croix , the historic heart of Metz where archaeological remains from the Bronze Age have been found.
Address: Rue du Haut Poirier 2, Metz
4 German Gate
Between Boulevard Maginot and Rue des Allemands is the most emblematic site of Metz, the Porte des Allemands (which translates to “Door of the Germans”). The monument is named after the Teutonic Knights who had a hospital nearby. The Porte des Allemands is the last remnant of the medieval ramparts of the city – the old bridge, the fortified gate and the defensive towers. From afar, it looks like a castle-fortress towering over the River Seille. The Porte des Allemands features two immense round towers from the 13th century and two 15th century bastions. Between the two towers is a terrace designed to house artillery. It’s easy to imagine where the drawbridge once stood, allowing visitors access or preventing hostile intruders from entering.
Part of the Porte des Allemands has been converted into a walking path. The surrounding area is also worth exploring. The Porte des Allemands is located in the Quartier Outre-Seille , a quaint neighborhood with narrow medieval streets and charming old buildings. The picturesque Rue Taison has many unique arts and crafts shops.
5 Opera-Theater of Metz Métropole
One of the most beautiful theaters in France, the Theater de la Comédie is also the oldest operating opera house in France. The building was founded in 1752 and has a classical architecture typical of the 18th century. The lavish auditorium has red velvet seats and ornate gilded balustrades. The statues depicting the muses were created by local sculptor Charles Pêtre in 1858. Originally the theater could seat more than 1,300 guests, but it now seats 750 after an update in 1963. The intimate space offers perfect viewing from every seat. The theater presents a wide variety of performances throughout the year, from classical music and ballet to traditional French theater such as Molière.
The theater is located on the grand Place de la Comédie , a beautiful square lined with elegant 18th-century neoclassical buildings and the Eglise Saint-Vincent . This area, known as the Quartier des Iles , is the Metz district made up of the islands in the Moselle. Continuing further in the neighborhood offers a rewarding experience that is surprisingly undiscovered by most tourists. The atmospheric narrow streets lead to beautiful old buildings and picturesque canals.
Address: 4 – 5 Place de la Comédie, Metz
6 Church of St. Maximin
The simple exterior doesn’t prepare visitors for the rare beauty of this beautiful church, which dates back to the 12th century. The beautiful interior features 24 stained glass windows by surrealist artist Jean Cocteau in the 1960s. Whimsical, colorful and poetic, the windows are a masterpiece of creativity and craftsmanship. Pastel blue, green, pink, yellow and lavender windows flood the church with a brilliant glow in contrast to the gloomy sanctuary. The windows have surprising religious motifs and secular symbols such as doves, leaves, flowers and geometric designs not typically found in a house of worship. Cocteau had traveled extensively in Africa, Oceania and the Americas, and the styles of these exotic places influenced his creative vision. The beautiful stained glass windows of Cocteau give the church a special atmosphere of spirituality and peace. The church is located in the charming historic district ofOutre-Seille district , ten zuiden van de Porte des Allemands .
Address: Rue Mazelle 61, Metz
7 Church of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains
In the Quartier Citadelle above the Esplanade and near the Chapelle des Templars, the Eglise Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains is one of the oldest monuments in Metz. The church was built in the 4th century on the site of the old Gallo-Roman city. Originally a Roman basilica (an early Christian church), the building was later used for the Benedictine abbey founded in the 7th century. In the 16th century, the church was included in the city’s defenses. Today, the Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains church is an architectural reminder of more than 1,000 years of history. The church has been converted into a cultural center and provides a unique setting for music concerts and temporary exhibitions.
Address: Rue de la Citadelle 1, Metz
8 Chapel of the Templars
One of the most interesting buildings in Metz, the Chapelle des Templiers dates back to the 12th century. The unusual octagonal building is the only example of an octagonal chapel in the Lorraine region. The chapel was built between 1180 and 1220, and shows the transition between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The Templar Chapel is located in the Quartier Citadelle and is part of the Arsenal Cultural Center , with a theater and concert hall.
Address: Rue de la Citadelle, Metz
9 Place Saint Louis
In the historic center of Metz in the Colline Sainte-Croix quarter , this village square dates back to the Middle Ages and is evidence of Metz’s medieval prosperity. With its atmospheric arcades and Renaissance merchant houses, the Place Saint-Louis has a distinct Old World charm. Many of the buildings have Italian-inspired architecture. The arcades are lined with boutiques, restaurants and cafes, making the square a hub of activity during the day and a lively place to enjoy an evening meal.
10 Temple Nine
The Temple Neuf is located at the end of the Place de la Comédie in the “Jardin d’Amour” (Garden of Love). The building is best viewed from Quai Paul Vautrin . From this vantage point, Temple Neuf rises above the island of Quartier des Ilessurrounded by the Moselle. When lit up at night, it is reflected in the Moselle River, providing a spectacular scene. The church was built from 1901 to 1904 in gray sandstone and contrasts with the classical architecture of the nearby Opera-Theater House. The building’s Romanesque Revival style is inspired by the cathedrals of Speyer and Worms in Germany’s Rhineland. The architecture gives the chapel a medieval look even though it was built in the 20th century. The Temple Neuf is used as a place of worship and a host of cultural events.
Address: Place de la Comédie, Metz
The perfect escape from the urban bustle of Metz, the Esplanade is a tranquil green space with beautiful scenery. The tall shady trees, green lawns and vibrant flowers make visitors feel far away from a big city. From the terrace of the Esplanade you have a beautiful view of the Moselle valley and the Saint-Quentin mountain. In the Quartier Citadelle , the Esplanade is flanked by monumental buildings. On the north side is the 18th century Palais de Justice (Courts of Courts). To the south is the Eglise Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains . The Chapelle des Templiers is also nearby.
12 Avenue Foch
In the Quartier Impérial , the Avenue Foch shows a striking mix of architectural styles. The avenue surprises visitors with its mishmash of classic French mansions, faux medieval castles, and eclectic Art Deco buildings. The buildings were all created in the early 1900s by architects who wanted to dabble in experimental styles. The result is an urban landscape that is unique in France and Europe. The Avenue Foch has several large hotels that are popular with tourists.
Where to Stay in Metz for Sightseeing
We recommend these convenient hotels close to the top sites in Metz:
- Hotel La Citadelle Metz – MGallery By Sofitel: 4-star luxury, central location, historic building, stylish decor.
- Mercure Metz Centre: mid-range prices, welcome drink, modern style, free secure parking.
- Hotel Le Mondon: 3-star hotel, near the train station, comfortable rooms, friendly staff.
- Ibis Styles Metz Center Gare: budget rates, Belle Epoch era building, free breakfast.
Day trips from Metz
Hidden away in the Forest of Coucy, this peaceful abbey was founded in 1120 as part of the Premonstratensian Order, one of the great religious orders of the Middle Ages, along with the Cistercians and Benedictines. The abbey was rebuilt in the 18th century and classified as a historical monument in 1910. It is known for its architecture. Special details are the graceful spiral staircases, ornately decorated halls and the harmonious cloister. The refectory with a vaulted ceiling is an example of the beauty of 18th century architecture. Often used as a venue for weddings and conferences, the abbey has a 3-star hotel with 29 rooms. The Abbaye des Prémontrés is 30 minutes from Metz by car, 15 minutes by train from Metz Airport and 90 minutes by TGV train from Paris.
Address: Premonstratensian Abbey, BP 125, 54705 Pont-à-Mousson
This elegant castle is located in the countryside, 15 km from Metz. The Château de Pange was built in 1720 for the Marquis of Pange, Jean-Baptiste Thomas, who came from an old Lorraine family. The descendants of this family still own the property. Beautifully decorated, the castle is open to the public for tours. The beautiful reception rooms and beautiful gardens tell the story of the castle’s 400-year history.
Address: Château de Pange, 57350 Pange
This impressive ancient Roman site is a short drive (about 12 kilometers away) from the center of Metz. The well-preserved remains of the Roman aqueduct testify to the impressive scale and design of a 2,000-year-old monument that once supplied water to the 2nd-century town of Divodurum (Metz).
The small village of Sillegny has a remarkable church well worth a detour for those traveling by car. The Eglise Saint-Martin is famous for its medieval frescoes created in the 16th century.