February 19, 2014

My Sunniest Strasbourg

This "winter" makes living in Western Europe look easy!


I spent the first day of my trip to Germany going back to France.

Today, the grand day of February 19, 2014, the sun smiled radiantly on the cobblestone paths and colorful half-timber homes of medieval Strasbourg.


Like people, cities charm best when warm and bright. 


I have always wanted to go to Strasbourg (and Lyon - more to come on that later!) since my 6th grade country report on France. While researching the "what-to-see-and-do," I began to understand there was not going to be a "wow factor." The sites are pretty basic for a French or European city; a few grand churches, pretty sidewalks, commemorative statues, and shopping.

I'm okay with not being "wowed," but I didn't expect Strasbourg to gently befriend me, leading me down quiet streets, across unique bridges, and through ivy-covered corridors. Strasbourg was a pleasant friend to wander with; never intimidating, always inviting. 


The tasteful blend of German and French cultures actually made for a weed-free version of Amsterdam: similarities of river canals, foot bridges, Germanic architecture, bicyclists everywhere, and the tram tracks underfoot and wires overhead.

The astronomical clock inside the grand Strasbourg cathedral had a most intriguing detail. The "time teller" figurine at the center of the clock was a skeleton! This is quite a distance from the typical jolly old man, cuckoo bird, jousting knights, dancing jesters, or whatever other icons of cuteness you can think of. It made me stand there an extra minute, wondering what the significance of that chosen symbol was - "Death controls our time?" "No one will escape death/time?" "Dead men tell no tales?"

I spent half an hour on a bench by the river, soaking in sunshine and fresh air. I ordered my lunch off of French chalkboards, trying the local tarte flambĂ©e and a white wine. The most beautiful building I saw all day was...a high school. 

Most awesome high school EVER.
Strasbourg is a perfect day trip from Paris, or a relaxing home base for exploring the Alsace region in France and/or the Rhineland in Germany. If you don't speak any French, it's probably better for you to sleep on the German side, and use the simple over-the-border trains to access the delightful river island that is Strasbourg.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting that you weren't "wowed" by Strasbourg. I was! Last Christmas I went to the market and loved the atmosphere, the canals, the houses, the mix of German and French culture, the Christmas decorations and mostly the cathedral. Perhaps the festive feel helped. Thanks for coming back to France again this month with #AllAboutFrance, how's it all going in Munich?

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    1. Hey Phoebe! Yeah, Strasbourg was just a really pleasant city for me! Christmas markets do tend to make everything mega-magical! :D Bavaria is treating us well, thanks for asking!

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  2. Oh Christy. You are a problem to me. When you write about "your places" I just SO want to go!! My bucket list is just getting longer and longer - even though I manage several places each year - and I'm "tapping on a bit now" and worried I won't get them all seen before I have to take to my bathchair and sit watching afternoon tv !! Hope you are enjoying Bavaria - I'm looking forward to a visit to Berlin in early October [my birthday trip!] - and a tour of Bavaria is on my list for 2016!!

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    1. Hi Lisa! Oh, you're welcome for being your problem! ;) Berlin in October will be AWESOME! I have yet to go, but my husband LOVES Berlin! Whenever you get to Bavaria, please let me know, and we can meet up!!! Keep up the fun travels :)

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  3. I didn't know about the skeleton in the clock, very interesting! The canals make it pretty and I remember seeing storks nesting in the park by the Council of Europe which was pretty cool!

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