Ever since I studied for a summer in Strasbourg, I’ve been dying to go back to the Alsace-Lorraine region for some Christmas market fun. James and I decided on the little town of Metz for our Christmas get-out-of-Paris weekend. (Side-note: in French you say “Mess”, with no hint of a “t” or a “z” whatsoever. I have no idea where this comes from, but I’ve tested it out, and it works.)
Yes, Strasbourg would’ve been an obvious choice, but it’s so expensive. And people plan Christmas trips there waaay in advance. Metz has the second largest Marché de Noel and is only an hour and 20 minute train ride from Paris. Parfait!
Since, truth be told, there isn’t a whole lot do to in Metz besides the Christmas Markets, James and I decided to take the cheapest trains possible. We left Paris around 12h30 from the Gare de l’Est and arrived in Metz around 2pm.
After we dropped off our stuff at the hotel (your basic, budget Ibis), we explored the city a bit before it got dark and all the stores closed. First up: the Cathedral!
Honestly, I was a little disappointed in the chalets. I always think (hope!) there will be a million artisans selling Christmas ornaments and decorations, but really, it’s not that at all. For the most part they sell something you might what to get someone as a (crappy) Christmas present. Most things aren’t made by hand and you could probably get them anywhere in the world (ugly hats, weird pillows, fancy nail polish). There was one Christmas ornament shop, but everything looked straight out of Monoprix and was made in China. Boo….
My favorite part of Christmas markets (and what totally makes up for the lack of fun Christmas wares) is the food! Okay, fine: vin chaud. It’s sooo yummy! There’s nothing like walking/standing around a Christmas market with a plastic cup of sweet, fruity, spiced hot wine. They had various stands of real food (pizza, sandwiches, pretzels), but James and I stuck to eating the most sugar-filled things possible.
Once our toes were officially frozen, we decided it was time to find a place for dinner. Normally when we look something up on Tripadvisor, it just doesn’t work out. Closed, out-of-business, impossible to find – you name it, it’s happened. But this time we actually found it AND we got the last table of the night. A couple canceled their reservation, the only catch was that we had to be out by 9pm. Pas de problème!
So we had dinner at the lovely at Le Bistrot de G.
James’ entrée (starter) was a little interesting (what was that anyways…), but other than that, the food was really good. I still can’t get use to waiters/bus boys making a fuss when you don’t clean your plate. James left a bit of his entrée on his plate (I mean, who wouldn’t?) and was met with “so why didn’t you eat all of it?”. Uhhhh….
The next morning our train left around 1pm, so we grabbed breakfast at a little boulangerie and strolled around the city some more. Turns out shopping it so much nicer when there aren’t a million people pushing around the store (ahem, Paris). James found a couple pairs of pants (one red, one purple – how Parisian he’s becoming! :)) and I found a pair of boots (quel surprise!) that might actually work in the rain/snow and still be cute.
En gros, a wonderful, Christmas weekend!