Top French Cities - Metz at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Metz Tourism Office at

City region: Lorraine / Grand Est

Population & what they are called: 119,775 inhabitants (2014 census), called Messins

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 3 hours (206 miles) via the A4 autoroute de l'Est

  • by train: about 1 h 25 min by TGV from the Gare de l'Est

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Carole Gaessler, journalist

  • Robert Schuman, politician and a founding father of the European Union

  • Paul Verlaine, poet

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The largest surface area of stained glass windows in France is found in Metz cathedral (70,000 ft² from the 13th to 20th centuries).

  • Laurent Wiltz, director of Mr Hublot, Academy Award winner for Best Short Film (Animated) in 2014, studied fine art in Metz.

Notable sites:

  • Quartier Impérial – a magnificent and intact example of German town planning

  • Cathédrale St-Etienne – one of the most impressive Gothic churches in Europe

  • Porte des Allemands and ramparts – a fortified gateway attached to vestiges of the medieval ramparts that were once 7km long

Top annual events:

  • Festival Mirabelle – a series of mirabelle plum-based activities that take place in late summer (

  • Marché de Noël – France’s second most visited Christmas Market (

  • Constellations – a summer festival of art and culture focused on the digital arts (

Most notable museums:

  • Centre Pompidou-Metz – this sister institution of the Pompidou Center in Paris is a cultural center with innovative multi-disciplinary programs in contemporary art (

  • Musée de la Cour d’Or – a maze of galleries visiting 2,000 years of Metz city history, from Gallo-Roman times to the 19th century (

  • FRAC Lorraine – a contemporary art collection at the Regional Contemporary Art Fund of Lorraine (

Culinary specialties:

  • Metz mirabelle – a small golden plum that makes excellent jam and brandy

  • Paris-Metz – cake made of macaroons, filled with mousse and topped with raspberries

  • macarons de Boulay – an almond-flavored macaroon (

Local wines & spirits:

  • Moselle AOC wines – a rich and varied range of wines can be discovered on the 25km wine trail of the Metz region

  • Mirabelle liqueur – a brandy distilled from the mirabelle, the small plum of the Lorraine region


  • Marché Couvert – this covered market (once a bishop's palace) has a wide choice of local produce and specialties

  • flea market – second largest in France (after St-Ouen near Paris), located in the Metz Expo

  • the heart of the city – major shopping streets include Rue des Clercs, Rue Serpenoise and Rue Taison

Most popular night spots:

  • Place St Jacques – bars and terraces are open until 2am

  • Arsenal – one of the grandest concert halls in Europe

  • Café Jehanne d’Arc – a watering hole dating back to the 13th century

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Plan d'eau – a favorite local park, at a bend in the Moselle River, for strolling and paddling

  • Jouy Canal – especially popular with joggers and walkers, emerges into a lake opposite Mont Saint‐Quentin

  • Jardin botanique – a botanical garden with ponds, winding paths and a toy train railway

Local industries:

  • energy – electric stations powered by gas, nuclear, water, wind and solar; one of France’s largest biomass power stations is in Metz, delivering 60% of the city’s heat from renewable resources

  • automobile – car and car-part factories such as PSA Tremery, a leader in building motors and gear boxes

In Pop Culture:

  • An American Werewolf in Paris – a 1997 comedy horror movie that was partly filmed in Metz

  • The Hunters – parts of this 2011 French thriller were filmed at Metz's Fort de Queuleu

  • the written works of François Rabelais, Paul Verlaine, Bernard-Marie Koltès and Adrienne Thomas

Major 2020 developments:

  • 800th Anniversary of the city's Saint-Etienne Cathedral, nicknamed "The Lantern of God," is renowned for its Chagall stained-glass windows. Celebrations begin December 8, 2019 through December 8. 2020.

  • 2020 will also be the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Pompidou Metz, the regional wing of Paris' Pompidou Center

About Top French Cities -

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency