Sunday, June 24, 2018

We're nearly Strasbourgeois

The Ill River encircles Strasbourg's Grand Île where the historical district is located.

Located near the tip of the northeast point of France's hexagone, Strasbourg is many things: the country's seventh largest city, capital of the Grand Est region, home to the European Union headquarters, industrial and cultural center, university town and traditional center of the Alsace region.

Strasbourg's Palais Rohan was built in the first half of the 18th century.
Once the residence of Napoléon, it now houses three museums.

Children seem to conquer this collection of relics in the plaza next to
Strasbourg's cathedral.

We received a lot of advice before our recent visit: "Don't miss the cathedral! You absolutely have to be there at 12:30 when the astronomical clock chimes!" "You must take a boat tour around the city!" "Eat in the Petite France neighborhood!" "Don't miss seeing the city lights at night!" "Eat choucroute, drink sweet Alsatian wine!"

Ken poses along one of the bridges in Strasbourg.

This accordion player in Strasbourg seems content with the
day's fine weather.

As is our wont, we end up doing only a fraction of what Strasbourg natives, guidebooks and tourism websites suggest. But during our week here we do a pretty thorough job of exploring, discovering and beginning to feel a bit like a couple of Strasbourgeois.

Strasbourg's 'wall bridge' and towers were built in the Middle Ages.
Originally, the bridges had tiled roofs; they are still called les ponts couverts

A small raft floats on the river in Strasbourg.

Kayakers paddle the Ill River near le Barrage Vauban (the Vauban Dam)
in Strasbourg.

We are up bright and early on Day 1 and I consult with Google Maps on how to find the Tourism Office. First up, we must master Strasbourg's transit system, a task that turns out to be pretty simple. A tram stop is close to our apartment, and our host had told us to buy our tickets by machine. Happily we can choose English instructions and the machine even accepts our credit card — something we can't always take for granted.

We find a pretty view along one of the five 'fingers' of the Ill River in Strasbourg.

The mausoleum of the Marshall of Saxony in Strasbourg's Église Saint-Thomas
was sculpted by Parisian artist Jean-Baptiste Pigalle in 1777.
Barrage Vauban was constructed as part of Strasbourg's
defenses. Along the corridor, we pass relics from the cathedral
and Palais Rohan.

A rooftop terrace atop Barrage Vauban in Strasbourg provides great photo ops. 

Once we're at the historic center of the Grande Île, we spend a couple of hours on a self-guided walking tour. On another day, we take that cruise on the Ill river, where it rains the moment we set out and stops as we disembark. On other days we eschew the crowds and find ourselves in gardens that we seem to share only with stroller-pushing mamans, and in the city of Kehl, where our bonne journeés and mercis are met with blank stares because we are in Germany. And although we try some Alsatian specialties, we prefer to take advantage of being in a big city and indulge our craving for good Indian food.

Family and friends in California will understand why we are tickled to
come across this bar in Strasbourg that serves Lagunitas Indian Pale Ale.

We find another California icon, a giant sequoia, in
Strasbourg's Jardin Botanique. 

We lose the crowds and find tranquility in Strasbourg's
Jardin Botanique.

L'Église Saint-Paul was built for the Lutheran members of the
German garrison stationed in Strasbourg in the late 19th century.

We aren't sure what to make of this fountain located in Strasbourg's
Imperial district.


A barrel of wine from 1472 can be found in the wine cellar of Hospices de
Strasbourg. The wine has been served only three times: in 1576 to a Swiss
delegation; in 1716 to celebrate the hospital's renovation; and in 1944 to toast
 the liberators of Strasbourg led by Gen. Leclerc.

Musée des Beaux-Arts is one of three museums located in
Palais Rohan in Strasbourg.

Musée des Arts Décoratifs is one of three museums located
in 
Palais Rohan in Strasbourg.

Musée Archéologique is one of three museums located
in 
Palais Rohan in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg was chosen as headquarters of the European Union in part because
of its history of being torn between France and Germany.

After a tram ride to Jardin des Deux Rives, we cross a
footbridge to Germany.

Who knew Woolworths were still around?  — at least this one in Kehl,
Germany, is.