In continuation of my last post, I briefly mentioned that in the middle of a somewhat random trip to Luxembourg I also took a slight detour into France for a day and a half. Knowing that Luxembourg was pretty small, but having four days to travel, my friend and I decided to split the time between two locations. We chose Metz France as our second destination because it was a short 50 minute train ride from Luxembourg.
Just like when I arrived in Luxembourg my first thought of Metz was: “it’s so green here TOO!”
We arrived around 11 am, and after dropping our bags off at our hotel (that’s right, we lived large in France and slept in a hotel instead of a hostel for the same price as our hostel in Luxembourg) we set out to explore the city. It was a bit rainy the day we arrived, so I spent 15 euro to buy an umbrella big enough to fly both Mary Poppins and the children to keep myself dry.
I sold the umbrella when I returned to Germany because it was too big.
We wandered for a while before deciding to stop into a French restaurant for a fancy lunch. I had every intention of eating the rotisserie chicken I bought, but once I saw the salad and fresh French baguettes it was game over. Naturally I had to get a French espresso to compare to Italy. It was delicious. Or it could have been the apple dessert I had with homemade ice cream.
After lunch the sun came out, and I credit this to the rain dance I did in the bathroom trying to get my pants back on. I blame the dessert and baguettes for the struggle with my pants. This was perfect because we were right around the corner from the Metz Cathedral, which has the largest expanse of stained glass in the world. The light shining through the windows was gorgeous.
We also came back to the cathedral the following morning for Sunday mass (in French) which was so cool.
The sun stayed out for the remainder of the day, and we wandered a few more hours walking through the Covered Market (indoor farmers market similar to Pike Place in Seattle) before stumbling across Le Temple Neuf protestant church. No matter which angle you look at this building from it’s just as beautiful as the one before it.
The Metz Cathedral is mesmerizing, but this church was likely my favorite building.
We then came across an old church that was turned into an art gallery, displaying odd graphic photos depicting some kind of historical stories. They were quite bizarre, and I don’t read French, but I assume there was some kind of meaning behind the exhibit.
Our last stop on day one was at the Centre-Pompidou, which I would have skipped had I been alone. I’m not a big museum person, and I’m also not a big modern art person, and this was a modern art museum. It was the most bizarre presentation of art I’ve ever seen. Rooms with large boulders, with comments to stare at the rock because normally we don’t, rooms with walls painted different colors, rooms with cotton, it was just bizarre and not my cup of tea.
After the odd art we made our way back to our hotel (behind the train station, which holds the title as most beautiful exterior train station I’ve seen in Europe) and called it an early night. I slept great and woke up the next morning ready for day two. We started our morning at a local cafe, which was hands down the best European cafe I have been to yet. It’s called Fox Coffee, an independent coffee shop run by extremely friendly French folk.
My inner crunchy granola wannabe vegan was dying at the vegan and gluten free treats, as well as the adorable interior. I would go back to Metz JUST to go to this cafe. We got a breakfast platter that came with fresh bread, homemade Nutella/peanut butter/jam/local honey, and an egg soufflé. I could have sat in this shop all day.
After successfully stuffing myself with food my body hates, we were off to explore more of the city. We found a park that was hosting a 5K and my inner runner was dying at this atmosphere too. Most days I have come to terms with my “I don’t run or eat vegan anymore because my body doesn’t like it” lifestyle, but some days I really miss it. I made my friend stand with me while I watched the runners.
There were only a few more places we wanted to see before catching our train back to Luxembourg at 1600, the most important being the Porte des Allemands which is a fortified city gate that serves as a bridge over the river. Its placement seems somewhat odd as it sits in the center of a city, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Granted, this was built long before the city.
Metz was another hidden gem of a city, a place I’d have never seen had it not been for the Lufthansa Surprise (as mentioned in my last post.) Both Luxembourg and Metz France were small and are not tourist destinations which was a nice change of pace. The people were friendly, the food was good, and the architecture was beautiful.
Another two countries in the books, and I’m now into double digit countries visited. This was my sixth country visited since moving to Germany, what a wild ride.
Q: Would you attend a mass in a different language? I’m not catholic, but this was a really cool experience.