We have reached that time in the semester of the season that keeps on giving, and Metz surely knows how to give to its locals the Christmas spirit. Everywhere you walk in Metz in places like coffee shops, grocery stores, and the city itself is decked out in decorations and Christmas cheer is spreading. I have heard from faculty and even some friends of mine that have been to France before that some of the best Christmas markets and festivities from around the world are located in France, one of those happens to be in Metz! I experienced first hand some of the Christmas festivities that Metz has to offer.
I went to the Christmas markets in downtown Metz near the Metz Cathedral. The night air was chilly in the alleyways as other GTL students and I walked along the streets of Metz to the Christmas markets with glee. Once we reached the markets, I was immediately hit with a mixture of wonderful scents filling the air such as apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Walking through the markets I could see couples walking around arm in arm comforting each other for warmth, kids running around getting on amusement rides, and people ice skating holding onto rails to keep themselves from falling on the slippery ice. I felt as if I was in one of those cliché Hallmark Christmas movies! As I continued walking through the market, I decided to try some of the traditional Christmas pastries and drinks. I was able to try a hollow cone-like pastry covered in sugar, and one of the many traditional drinks served warm and ladled from big pots containing the drinks. After all the GTL students and myself got our food and drinks, we ended up trying some of each other’s pastries and enjoying the festivities.
In the Christmas markets, there are many pastry and food vendors selling a whole variety of food like crepes, beignets, the sugary cone I mentioned, dried fruit, roasted chestnuts, fondue, fish and chips, and cheesy potatoes. Also in the market were little vendors sprinkled throughout selling Santa Claus hats, kids toys, scarves, and handmade gifts for family and friends. This was my first time experiencing a traditional Christmas market, and I really enjoyed it! Some of the other activities that are available in Metz during the Christmas time is the Saint Nicholas Parade, the trail of lanterns, a large Ferris wheel ride which is one of the largest Ferris wheels in Europe, the gourmet market, and the traditions market on Place Saint-Louis.
Being a person that absolutely loves Christmas, I start counting down before Thanksgiving, watch at least one Christmas movie each day during the weekends, and love spreading Christmas cheer – so I thoroughly enjoyed the festivities. Being able to experience the Christmas markets were like a small dream come true because I feel like I finally made it to a Hallmark movie. While GTL is challenging at times with school, travels, and feeling a little homesick during the holiday times, the small community we have formed among ourselves and things such as the Christmas markets help you to feel a bit more at home. As my time at GTL is comes to a close, I hope to experience a Christmas market in another French city – or even when I return back to the United States.