Our first Saturdays in Europe have been rather soggy. The second and third were both rainy days—not overwhelmingly stormy, batten-down-the-hatches-and-read-a-book days, but still rainy enough to make us favor some activities over others. If you’ve read my post on The Maginot Line, then you know how we spent one Saturday. Well, we woke up a week ago favoring a short jaunt out to either Trier, Germany or Metz, France. (Both are just over an hour from where we live.) When we woke to rain, Metz seemed the better choice, as part of the draw there was an indoor shopping excursion.
I’ll pause here to defend myself. Some people like to believe that American philosophy runs only so deep: “I shop, therefore I am. . .American.” A little unfair, and at least a little untrue. Many weeks ago I wrote a post, “Boxing Up My Life,” that explained my slightly quirky relationship with things: found items, antiques, artifacts of places I’ve been, or bits of history. I’m not an Olympic class shopper, but I am a magpie who collects shiny bits and baubles here and there, so the antique market in Metz is just my kind of place. A place where it’s as much about the stories and history as it is about the stuff.
So to Metz: Allons-y!
We woke fairly early and loaded the kids in the car. They were groggy, but pleasant. Until I let it slip that the day would include some antique shopping. That didn’t go over well. To say the least.
But once we arrived at the market, that all changed. My daughter was happy to find a small table with perfumes. She bought two small (think Stuart Little size) bottles: Chanel and Prada. They smell so good—next trip I’ll plan to follow her lead.
And my son was absolutely giddy to find old weapons. (All boy!) He bought a vintage pocket knife—a trinket that manages to be a perfect product of its region and an ingenious (but rather wicked) marketing ploy. It has a drawing of “Maison de Cure de Haslach Munster”—a hospital in Munster, Alsace which manages to sound both French and German at the same time (so typical of this region). And here’s the marketing ploy. . . consider the chain of events: Boy buys pocket knife; boys begins whittling wood, but ends up cutting off finger; parents panic and seek medical treatment; the image on the knife suggests just the hospital they run too. Ingenious.
Playing it a little safer, James and I bought a wine caddy—not old, but still charming enough. And, of course, we had to stop by the market on the way home and buy a few bottles of French and Spanish wine. Because if you give a mouse a cookie. . .
After the market, we made our way into the medieval town square of Metz. We arrived at said destination by weaving our way through winding streets lined with bakeries and konditories. No hardship there. We nibbled as we walked toward Place Saint Louis.
I posted a couple of photos from Metz this past week, so I won’t repost those here. Because it was a rainy day, I didn’t take too many photos—but it was a charming town. In the square, chess tables were set up for competition and a beautiful old carousel sat waiting for riders who were willing to dash out into the rain. We were tempted, but, owing to damp feet and hungry children, we ducked into a restaurant instead.
There is so very much to Metz to see and to learn—and we didn’t even scratch the surface. It was a short and soggy trip, but one that whetted our appetites for both the city and the market. We’ll definitely be returning soon to see more of the historic sites on a sunny day!
I found a great article on Metz in France Today; I’ll share the link here for anyone who is interested. http://www.francetoday.com/articles/2012/09/24/discovering_metz.html