Last-minute Thanksgiving trip: Noel market in Metz
If you’re still debating whether or not you’re up for the task of a preparing an elaborate, traditional Thanksgiving feast in your tiny European kitchen, consider packing up the family and heading to Metz, France for a delightful Christmas market and last minute Turkey Day getaway. Just across the borders of Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium, the northeastern French city is only 1.5 hours from the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC), making it a quick trip and budget-friendly destination for the long holiday weekend.
Christmas comes early in Metz. While American military families are feasting and giving thanks, cities across Europe are welcoming visitors to the first days of their highly anticipated Christmas markets. Metz’s dazzling Marché de Noël is considered the second most visited holiday festival in France next to Strasbourg. Similar to Strasbourg, Marché de Noël à Metz consists of several smaller markets spread out in locations around the city.
Start your day with a stroll through the enchanted forest and artisan market at Place de la Gare, where tradition and technology come together to transform the historic square into a whimsical wooded wonderland. Craftsmen offer handmade ceramic tableware, woodcarvings, glass sculptures, leather products, jewelry, home décor and trinkets.
Visit Place Saint Jacques to enjoy the ornate vintage carousels and local handicraft specialties. Peruse the selection of scented candles and exquisite chocolates, and take home a few homemade jams and jellies for holiday breakfast feasts. If you’re with the kids (or are kids at heart), make time to visit Place de République, where you can marvel at more than 80 ice sculptures and don skates for a few laps around the rink.
When you’ve worked up a hearty appetite, be sure to hit up the Place de House food market, where vendors offer tasty treats from 5 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
As night falls, make your way to Place Saint-Louis for the traditional Metz Christmas market experience, where more than 100 exhibitors gather around the glowing traditional Christmas pyramid. End your evening atop the 60-meter Ferris wheel in Place d’Armes, and take in the panoramic view of Metz all lit up for the holiday season.
Metz’s Marchés de Noël is open Nov. 19 to Dec. 28 daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturdays until 9 p.m. To find out more, head to www.noelmetz.com.