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Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Honeymoon Series [vii] - Lorraine and Fontainebleau, France

After our Italian tour in the past few posts of The Honeymoon Series (review here), we arrived at Metz region in Lorraine, France.



Now, Metz is a charming provincial city in France's north-eastern Lorraine region, complete with beautiful gardens and lush leafy promenades along the Moselle and Seille rivers; it also boosts of a rich archeological past. Lorraine itself is a historical and cultural region of north-eastern France.

Fontainebleau, on the other hand, is a town southeast of Paris (around 3 hours' drive), known for opulent Fontainebleau Palace. Fontainebleau is also renowed for its scenic forest of Fontainebleau and being home to Insead.


PLACES OF INTEREST

Some of the prominent places of interest in Metz, Lorraine regions are the Catherdral St. Etienne (gothic fine cathedral with stained glass), Centre Pompidou Metz, The Cour d'Or Museum, The Opera Theatre, Temple Neuf, The Templars Chapel, Place St. Louis, and The Arsenal, The Station, the marinas etc.



METZ CITY CENTRE
Criss-crossing Central Metz are stunning historical streets and numerous hotel particuliers (bourgeois townhouses) dating from the 12th to 16th century, as well as grand edifices from the 18th century. Most of the Metz tourist attractions mentioned above are found in Metz City Centre and easily accessible by various modes of transportation.

In Fontainebleau, the attractions are is mainly the Palace / Chateau and forest. See more information below. What attracted me deeply is the fact that my favorite Queen Mary (Stuart) had a brief stay there before.




PALACE OF FONTAINEBLEAU / CHATEAU DE FONTAINEBLEAU
77300, Fontainebleau, France
Website: http://www.musee-chateau-fontainebleau.fr/spip.php?lang=en
Opening hours: Everyday except Tuesdays 9.30am to 5.00pm
Ticket price: 11 euros

Dubbed by Napoleon as "the true home of Kings, the house of ages" (Saint Helena, August 1816), The Palace of Fontainebleau dates back to the year 1100, housing generations of royalty, some of the more prominent ones being King Napoleon, King Philip III, King Francis I, King Charles VII, King Henry II, King Louis XII, Catherine de Medici etc.  This magnificent chateau has over 1,500 rooms and 130 acres of parklands and gardens.

The interior is richly adorned with various kinds of art, gilded carvings, frescoes, tapestries, intricate wood carvings, panelings and famous paintings. It is truly a beautiful building rich in arts and history.



SHOPPING
Small malls and shops are readily available within the city centre of Metz itself, being a trading centre for many years. Trendy boutiques, local crafts stores, shops selling collectors' items and decorative objects, lingerie and leather goods are widely available in the city's many neighbourhoods. The main shopping streets would be Rue Serpenoise and Rue des Clercs - which house big and international chain department stores such as Galeries Lafayette, FNAC, Printemps etc), as well as other branded boutiques.  Marques Avenue and Metz Flea Market (the latter in Metz Congress Hall) are 2 other avenues to consider as well.



MARCHE COUVERT
15 Rue d'Estrees, 57000, Metz, France

Known as the "Metz covered  market", this used to be a bishop's palace, now a historical with permanent stalls and shops in a large covered structure and home to fresh local produce and traditional local retailers.


RESTAURANTS

We stayed a night in Metz and a night in Fontainbleu - Metz' meal was arranged by the tour group while the latter was home-cooked. But rest assured there are plenty of good restaurants and bars around Metz and Fontainbleu regions, whether you are looking for traditional French meals or international cuisine



BRASSERIE FLO
2 Bis Rue Gambetta, 57000, Metz, France
Website: http://www.flo-metz.fr

A beautiful French restaurant complete with stone and glass decor as well as heavyset chandeliers. We enjoyed a 3-course meal consisting of Salad (lettuce, beetroot, radish and carrot), baked Salmon and a Creme Brulee dessert.




ACCOMMODATION
We stayed in Novotel Hotel in Metz, Lorraine. As for Fontainbleu, it is in the residence of a friend's, whose address is not convenience for us to disclose - but the views from the windows are gorgeous. Photos shall reveal more. What we loved about French hotels are that they are spacious and the toilet cubicles are separated from the bathrooms (hygiene!)


NOVOTEL METZ CENTRE HOTEL
Place des Paraiges, Centre Saint Jacques, 57000, Metz, France.
Website: http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-0589-novotel-metz-centre/index.shtml

This hotel is a stone's throw from Metz train station and in the heart of the old city, with spacious rooms and good facilities. This hotel is under the Accor Hotel group, and our room was about 100 euros a night.



FRIEND'S RESIDENCE
Resided in a friend's beautiful home in Fontainebleu region, and this was the window view.  Expect lots of nature, as well as grand French doors and windows in spacious, comfortable settings. Thank you for hosting us.


Herein concludes our out-of-city visits in France. Keep a close lookout for our visit to Paris, France, coming right up in The Honeymoon Series Part 9.



For backtracks:
(i) Honeymoon Series part 1 - selecting the destinations (click here)
(ii) Honeymoon Series part 2 - researching and booking (click here)
(iii) Honeymoon Series part 3 - preparing for the trip (click here)
(iv) Honeymoon Series part 4 - Rome, Italy (click here)
(v) Honeymoon Series part 5 - Siena, Florence & Pisa, Italy (click here)
(vi) Honeymoon Series part 6 - Venice and Milan, Italy (click here)






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