A Travellerspoint blog

December 2013

Metz Christmas Market

The original plan was to go to Cologne for the Christmas market, but as we didn't have winter tyres fitted we decided to go to France instead.

We were up about 0530 on Saturday and checked in at the Shuttle less than an hour later. It was alternating between drizzle and proper cold rain. The temp gauge in the CC showed about 8 °C!

We were lucky for once and were loaded onto the back of the earlier train and at 0721 set off for France.

The route options provided by TomTom were a dogleg south and east in France via Reims or a more straight line route through Belgium and Luxembourg. I chose the second as it meant avoiding France's toll motorways. "Plucky" Belgium has free motorways. TomTom said both were a similar time and distance.

By the time we had arrived at the A25 to Lille it had dried up and we didn't see any rain again that day.

Luxembourg has the cheapest petrol in western Europe at €1.28 a litre, and that is rip-off motorway prices. Hence the long queues at all the pumps. In both France and Belgium it was more like €1.55 and up for 95 unleaded. No sign of the creeping poison that is E10 ethanol added fuel.

Luxembourg Fuel Stop

Luxembourg Fuel Stop

Tabac!

Tabac!

We arrived in Metz and TomTom took us straight to the door and into the car-park under the Place de Gaulle in front of the main station.

We checked in and set off for our first excursion the mile or so to the first market location in Place St Louis. First order of the day was to buy something for late lunch; two bratwurst and rolls. We checked out the stalls and bought some chocolate in a slab before Claire had a second hot wine and I had a Grimbergen Bière de Nöel.

Bratwurst

Bratwurst

Grimbergen

Grimbergen

Then it was back to the hotel for a siesta until 1930 when we set off again to visit all four market locations. More purchases included artisan sausages!

Dinner was Pôellée de Noel, spicy pork in half a large roll with a token gesture salad at the bottom of a fragment of lettuce and a bit of tomato.

We found location 3, the Place St Jacques and the Christmas Shop. Baby Jesus for the nativity for €2 or with attached manger for €4?

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

We then found location 4 with the large coloured wheel and had dessert of a crèpe for me and a gauffre for Claire. Yes. We do seem to be eating a lot on this trip!

Day 2

We were up a little late for breakfast arriving when everyone else was there. Although the hotel was pretty quiet overnight there were lots others in the small restaurant.

Our walk took us ended by the Wheel a different way via ancient arch, the Porte Serpenoise. Destroyed in the 16th century and then rebuilt three hundred years later.

During the day and evening we took loads of photos.

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Metz Christmas Market

Station in the morning

Station in the morning

Metz nativity

Metz nativity

Gare Christmas tree

Gare Christmas tree

Gare small tree

Gare small tree

Market stalls

Market stalls

Claire and St Nick

Claire and St Nick

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Time for lunch.

Back to Place 1 to get a bratwurst and a beer!

After some shopping we ended up back at the hotel for a siesta.

Looking out of the window I saw a group of about ten scooters with their riders dressed as Santa. Before we could get down their they started to ride off and so I had to get a few shots from the hotel window!!

Scooter Santas

Scooter Santas

More Santas

More Santas

Even more Santas

Even more Santas

And then out to dinner! More bratwurst!

Then we went back to the hotel in the drizzle to read and get ready to head home tomorrow.

Day 3

My birthday.

Up early again to open my cards that Claire has brought with her, then breakfast

By 0920 we were on the road heading north along the same route as on the way down.

Again we dropped into a Luxembourg fuel station and I squeezed €12 in the tank. Topping right up the pipe to enjoy as much of the cheap fuel as possible.

The plan was to stop off in Bastogne. On the 21st December 1944 the town was encircled by German troops and the US 101st Airborne under General McAuliffe held the town until relieved some seven days later by elements of Patten's 3rd Army and 10th and 11th Armored Division.

McAuliffe

McAuliffe

Bastogne Tank

Bastogne Tank

Bastogne

Bastogne

The Airborne museum was closed today, I expect it was open on Saturday as it was the anniversary!

http://www.101airbornemuseumbastogne.com

We dropped in the tourist office and picked up a leaflet on the new museum opening in March to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge and the Siege of Bastogne.

I can feel a trip coming on!

From Bastogne the Tomtom route was via N4 towards Namur before we rejoined the A4. Tomtom also chose to return via Brussels rather than the way we got down there.

No real problems with traffic thus far.

As it was my birthday and the Shuttle wasn't booked until 8pm we tried to get into Gent and then Brugge before aborting due to excessive traffic and lack of parking.

In the end we stopped at a frituur on the way out of Brugge. So birthday lunch ended up as sausage and chips.

From then it was plain sailing back to the Shuttle and a £3 surcharge to travel two hours earlier........

With dire warnings of poor weather in the channel we were glad we were on the train. At the tunnel we found the wind had got up but it didn't affect the train.

The high winds and driving rain had caused flooding and damage from Canada all across the Atlantic and Southern England was being battered.

It was a really good weekend and I am glad I booked it. Metz is a nice city and we enjoyed the whole thing.

Posted by InvictaMoto 15:25 Archived in France Comments (0)