Metz (pronounced ‘Mess’) is the capital of France's rural Lorraine region, which lies between Nancy and Luxembourg. Located on the River Moselle near the Autoroute de l’Est, which connects Paris to Strasbourg, this city was once part of a major trade route in Roman times. Today, Metz is known for its namesake cathedral—a marvelous display of stained glass—and its Pompidou-Metz Center, an offshoot of the Pompidou Center in Paris. With such a fast and easy rail service connecting the cities, a lot of people will head to Metz just to visit the art museum for a day. The historic and quiet city is an hour-and-a-half train ride from the bustling metropolis of Paris, but you can also cover the 331 kilometers (206 miles) by car or bus.
|Bus||3 hours, 30 minutes||from $5||Traveling on a budget|
|Train||1 hour, 30 minutes||from $20||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Car||3 hours||331 kilometers (206 miles)||Exploring the local area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Paris to Metz?
The cheapest way to get to Metz is by bus. Eurolines FR and FlixBus both make the trip several times per day and other bus lines like Karat-S run the route less frequently. Buses generally depart from Paris' Gallieni station and arrive at the Gare routière de Metz. Tickets can be found for as little as $5.
The biggest drawback of the bus is that it takes the longest. The fastest journey is three and a half hours (about 30 minutes more than it would take to drive), but some services can take seven hours or more.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Paris to Metz?
If you're in a time crunch, taking the TGV (France's intercity high-speed rail service) is your best bet. These trains travel at about 200 miles per hour, covering the distance in just an hour and a half. They depart from Paris' Gare de l’Est every three hours from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. and arrive at the Gare de Metz-Ville, a short walk from the city center. Tickets start at $20 and can be booked in advance via Rail Europe.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
It takes just over three hours to travel the 331 kilometers (206 miles) between Paris and Metz by car. Keep in mind, though, that traffic around Paris can be extremely heavy, especially during rush hour, which can add to that time. The most direct route is to take the A4 (autoroute de l'Est) all the way. This route goes through Reims—the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine-growing region—skirting the Montagne de Reims Natural Park. If you don't have a car, you can rent one from Paris for a minimum of $20 per day. You should also expect to pay about $28 in tolls.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Metz?
If saving money is a priority, then take the earliest or latest bus (departing around 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.) for about $5. The latter gets in after 3 a.m., but you'll save about 50 percent if you travel during these off-peak times instead of mid-day. These trips are the quickest, too.
If you plan to travel by rail, keep in mind that the trains in Paris also operate as commuter trains, so they become especially busy during rush hour—weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., according to Trainline—and therefore become more expensive. Travel during off-peak times and book your tickets as early as possible (up to six months) for the cheapest price. Weekends are, of course, the busiest, so if you're planning a day trip to Metz, a weekday might be best.
What Is There to Do in Metz?
Many people make the trip to Metz just to visit the futuristic Centre Pompidou-Metz, an outpost of Paris' famous contemporary and modern art museum. Boasting three galleries, a theatre, and an auditorium, this 5,000-square-meter museum is France's largest temporary exhibition space outside of Paris. It is easily recognizable by its unique roof design, inspired by a Chinese hat.
Metz is also home to a notable Gothic cathedral whose stained glass windows are alone worth the visit. Its Museum of La Cour d'Or is a labyrinth of art and architecture exhibitions, and the Porte des Allemands—a medieval bridge and castle dating back to the 14th century—is sure to impress any history buff. Otherwise, you could spend an entire afternoon just strolling through the streets and villas of Metz's Imperial Quarter, marveling at its neo-Renaissance, neo-Romanesque, and art deco styles.