Tuesday, April 20, 2021 | Written by Kaitlyn
*Disclaimer: Kaitlyn was not paid to endorse any of the businesses mentioned in this article, nor does Georgia Tech endorse any of these businesses.*
This past weekend, INTA professor Dr. Birchfield took a few of my friends and I downtown to check out some of her personal favorite bakeries, delis, and fromageries in Metz!
We first met at the train station, right underneath the newly constructed statue of Charles de Gaulle. Being an expert on all things EU, Dr. Birchfield regaled us with a brief history lesson on de Gaulle and his prominence in this area of France, specifically due to his history of being a colonel while posted in Metz.
Across from the train station is Le Moy, a family owned shop specializing in chocolates and pastries. According to Dr. Birchfield, Le Moy has the best pain au chocolat in town, which is pretty high praise, considering we’re in France! My friends and I sampled the Paris-Metz, a cake that was created during a competition organized by the mayor to celebrate the opening of the TGV line from Metz to Paris. It’s a three-color macaron, filled with harlequin candy mousseline and raspberries. We all agreed that it was the most delicious pastry we had eaten in Metz. Le Moy is so close to the train station every Georgia Tech-Lorraine student should visit this exquisite shop, and try this classic Metz pastry.
Next up was Boulangerie Poulard, which was dubbed the “hottest new bakery in town”! This boulangerie has won several competitions for having the best croissants and baguettes in this region of France. In fact, it was a finalist in the competition for best bakery in France. The owner and chief baker, Seydou Diallo, has two shops: one on Rue du Grand Cerf, and one of Rue Perrat (just a block away from the train station). We picked up a classic, baguettes, from Boulangerie Poulard. It was pretty much everything a French baguette should be, so I can see why this bakery is one of the city’s favorites! Boulangerie Poulard is also a designated “Agriculture Biologique” boulangerie, meaning that it utilizes products from organic farming. This label identifies a bakery as being respectful of the environment, animal welfare, and biodiversity. Boulangerie Poulard has award winning baguettes and environmental conscientiousness; what more can you ask for in a bakery?
We took a shortcut through the city center to get to the other side of town, to a street called Rue du Grand Cerf. Dr. Birchfield informed us that this is “the best street for food shopping in Metz”. We first stopped by a deli, Au Veau D’or, also known as Maison Heitzman. They specialize in deli meats like sausages, but they also have charcuterie and roasted chicken for takeaway. They offer classic French cuisine in the form of a warm Plat du Jour for well under 10 euros.
Directly next to Maison Heitzman is a small shop, Prime Primeurs, that sells the regional products of Lorraine. Here, you can purchase things like fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as French jams and beverages.
Also along Rue du Grand Cerf is Dr. Birchfield’s second favorite patisserie, Boulangerie Fort (after Poulard). She recommends trying the pain tradition “la festive” and the quiche Lorraine from this bakery.
If you’re a cheese fan, you’re in luck. Also on this street (see how it’s living up to its reputation as the biggest street for food in Metz?) is La Fromagerie du Grand Cerf, a cheese shop run by a former pro footballer. He is passionate about sourcing his cheeses from smaller and more specialized producers. Not too far away, just off Place Saint Jacques is her other favorite fromagerie, Conrad, a very classic, family-run cheese shop with three locations in Metz that have been operating since 1920.
Our little food tour of Metz ended here, but it wasn’t the end of Dr. Birchfield’s recommendations. She suggests visiting the Marché de Saint Therese on a sunny Sunday. The market has stalls that sell warm meals (think roasted chicken, pizzas, calzones, and galettes), cheese, fruits, and vegetables. From there, on your way to the botanical garden, where you can enjoy your freshly prepared food at a picnic table, you can pick up baguettes and pastries from the fantastic L’Ecrin Gourmand.
Of course, this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of the amazing food options in Metz, but hopefully it inspires you to explore the iconic French cuisine that is practically in your backyard during your time at Georgia Tech-Lorraine!