gothic cathedral Saint Étienne against sky in french city Metz; Shutterstock ID 2220886635; your: Sloane Tucker; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI

Shutterstock / Jacqueline van Kerkhof

Cathédrale St-Étienne

Top choice in Metz

The lacy golden spires of this Gothic cathedral crown Metz’ skyline. Exquisitely lit by kaleidoscopic curtains of 13th- to 20th-century stained glass, the cathedral is nicknamed ‘God’s lantern’ and its sense of height is spiritually uplifting. Notice the flamboyant Chagall windows in startling jewel-coloured shades of ruby, gold, sapphire, topaz and amethyst in the ambulatory, which also harbours the treasury. A sculpture of the Graoully (‘grau-lee’), a dragon said to have terrified pre-Christian Metz, lurks in the 15th-century crypt.

The Gothic windows, on the north transept arm, contrast strikingly with the Renaissance windows on the south transept arm. The cathedral looks its most radiant on a bright day and when floodlit in the evening.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Metz attractions

1. Musée La Cour d’Or

0.13 MILES

Delve into the past at this trove of Gallo-Roman antiquities, hiding remnants of the city’s Roman baths and a statue of the Egyptian goddess Isis…

2. Place de la Comédie

0.14 MILES

Bounded by one of the channels of the Moselle, this neoclassical square is home to the city’s 18th-century Théâtre, France’s oldest theatre still in use…

3. Place St-Louis

0.31 MILES

On the eastern edge of the city centre, triangular place St-Louis is surrounded by medieval arcades and merchants’ houses dating from the 14th to 16th…

4. Esplanade

0.37 MILES

The formal flowerbeds of the Esplanade – and its statue of a gallant-looking Marshall Ney – are flanked by imposing buildings, including the Arsenal…

5. Metz Plage

0.39 MILES

You might not have packed your bucket and spade for a trip to Metz, but you can head to this makeshift 'beach' on the banks of the Moselle in summer…

6. Église St-Pierre-aux-Nonnains

0.46 MILES

Originally built around AD380 as part of a Gallo-Roman spa complex, Église St-Pierre-aux-Nonnains is a fine example of a pre-medieval basilica, tracing…

7. Chapelle des Templiers

0.48 MILES

Nearly always closed (enquire at the tourist office about guided tours that visit here), this octagonal, 13th-century chapel is the only one of its kind…

8. Riverside Park

0.49 MILES

In summer, pedal boats and rowboats can be rented on quai des Régates. The promenade leads through a leafy riverside park, with statues, ponds, swans and…