Most visitors to Metz probably will not explore the Sainte-Croix area, up a small hill beyond the Musee de la Cour d'Or...but I would suggest you find time for that detour if you possibly can.
Around 3000 years ago, the very first inhabitants of what is now Metz lived on the hill. They were followed by the Medimatriques, a Gallo-Belgian tribe and then the Romans, whose thermal baths lie underneath the Musee. Neither made the hill the centrepoint of their settlement.
It wasn't until the Middle Ages that the town's rapid development led to building on the hill of Sainte-Croix and you can still see glimpses of that construction remaining. The Lombard bankers who came to Metz lived in the area too, bringing an Italianate influence to its architecture. I'm sure one of the houses was, originally, built in the style of the Italian 'tower-houses', structures whose height was an indication of the owner's wealth and status.
You have to look closely to see the Medieval origins of these buildings: they have undergone much restoration and change over the intervening centuries. But you'll see the stone windows, and the decorative arches (a Moorish influence).
The Hotel du Bulette, on Place de la Fontaine, dates from the 1300s although you would hardly know it nowadays. It has, of course, been much enlarged over the centuries and is now a maternity hospital, having previously been a private house, the town prison and a girls' school.
It's well worth wandering Sainte-Croix. Although small in area, I found it perhaps the most historically-atmospheric areas of Metz.
To find it from the Musee, walk up the Rue du Haut Poirier.
- Historical Travel
Surprisingly enough, just a 20 minute drive to the north can get you to another country from Metz! Luxembourg is just a stone's throw away, and definitely worth a visit. Besides that, the whole country can be seen in just a day! The capital, Luxembourg City, is just a great town built up on huge stone cliffs that drop to another city neighborhood below. Another great thing to see in Luxembourg is the castle in Vianden, about 25 mins north of Lux. City. It has been restored by the government and provides a great look into the medievil history in the area. It's also a stunning castle to see, also perched on cliffs above a small village.
My trip consisted of just visiting the historical cemetarys, museums, and viewing the battlefields...One monument is an entire French Battalion ( about 900 soldiers) who were killed in one battle in one of the defensive trenches..the site is memorialized and the rifles of the fallen soldiers are still visibly sticking out of the ground after all of these years..
People keen on history like me must have special attention to Roman and Medieval ruins. Another thing is the vital place of Metz during battles between France and Germany.