Metz, France cathedral park and fountain

Metz, France cathedral park and fountain ()

Sometimes you just need to get away for a while—forget about the laundry and let the grass grow a bit higher—just take a break. If you’re looking for a fun diversion, Metz, France, is the perfect destination to relax and satisfy many of the things that are not on your “to do” list. Metz is situated in the northeastern part of France, along the Moselle and Seille rivers. With a fascinating history, Metz dates back over 3,000 years, as a site of numerous Roman ruins, sprawling parks, gardens and an abundance of cultural sights.

So what makes Metz so enticing? Well, for starters, it’s home to one of the largest flea markets in France, the Marches Aux Puces De Metz. The exhibition center hosts the market twice per month, drawing treasure hunters looking for unique antiques, collectibles and other coveted items. The open-air flea markets are held on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you visit the market, be sure to bring some euros, a mask, a light jacket, comfortable walking shoes and a bag or cart big enough to haul all of your finds!

Not too far from the Metz flea market, about a 20-minute drive, is the historic city center. There you will find the Metz covered market (Marché Couvert), a vibrant marketplace with several indoor shops, fruit and vegetable stands, eateries and heavenly smelling flowers such as French lavender or “la botte de Chardons” (thistle flowers) for sale. The market is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and often has an outdoor market adjacent to it, filled with vendors selling food, clothes, housewares and other items. Conveniently, there is a public parking garage right next to the market, steps away from several other attractions.

After browsing the markets, you’re likely to have worked up an appetite. There is a wide variety of food available in Metz. You can grab a quick snack from one of the food vendors or have a leisurely meal at one of the countless sidewalk cafes. You might want to try a traditional charcuterie board, filled with cured meats, cheese, veggies, nuts and hearty bread. With all of the options available, there is something to satisfy everyone’s taste. After lunch, stroll around the city, wind through the narrow streets, admire the city’s magnificent architecture and take in the river views. Be sure to venture over to the Cathédrale de Saint-Étienne de Metz which has some of the most stunning and largest stained glass windows in the world. The cathedral is open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., closed from 11:30 p.m. to 1 p.m., and admission is free. In addition to the various things to see and do, Metz has the oldest opera house in France, many museums of art and numerous galleries showcasing works by local artists.

Mirabelle plums

On another note, have you ever eaten a Mirabelle plum? Interestingly enough, Mirabelles are grown only in Lorraine, France, and import laws make them nearly impossible to buy in the United States. You can find them in most European produce sections this time of year; if you want to learn more about this small, yellowish-orange fruit, the Mirabelle Plum Festival will take place from August 20 through 28 in Metz and culminate with a hot air balloon event. There’s always something going on in Metz; it’s worth checking out.

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