July 6 to July 7, 2018.
Strasbourg was an interesting little town, much different from Paris. Both towns had old charm, but Strasbourg bled it. No matter where we turned, there was an old church, old building, and really anything else you could imagine would be in an old European town. Again, most of the buildings were older than America itself, such as the Strasbourg Cathedral, completed in 1439.
Churches marked many of the streets, reminding visitors of the immense religious influence of the town. Some cathedrals, like the Strasbourg Cathedral, were Catholic, with incredible stained-glass windows and flying buttresses you only hear about in elementary school art class. Other cathedrals held darker elements inside, such as skulls strewn around and even a few buried bodies. There were not only Catholic churches, but Lutheran as well. The Lutheran churches were usually newer than the Catholic, as the Germans (Lutherans/Protestants) entered the area much later. The Germans even have their own area of the town, Neustadt, meaning “German area,” which was formed in the late 19th century.
Our hotel in Strasbourg was a pleasant change from the hotel in Paris. We stayed in the Lagrange Apart’Hotel Strasbourg, a nice hotel within walking distance to the historic district of the city. My husband and I both enjoyed staying in the room, which had a large bathroom and a kitchenette. If we were staying more than one night, this would have been such a blessing! Another plus: the price! We booked the hotel the night before our trip (we’re fantastic planners, obvi), and ended up paying only $100, with taxes and fees. We enjoyed the food in the city, as well.
Eating tends to be my favorite part of traveling and Strasbourg did not disappoint. We arrived in the city during what one might consider “late lunchtime” (2-3 p.m.), but what the French (and many other European countries) consider “breaktime.” Siesta, anyone? We walked around the city for close to an hour before finding a restaurant that was either not open or not packed due to France playing in the World Cup. Again, we are phenomenal at planning.
Nonetheless, we ended up with a delicious lunch at a spot a short distance from the Strasbourg Cathedral. My husband had a corned beef and veggie dish, while I chose to enjoy traditional sausage and delicious potato salad. I definitely chose the better dish. Later, we enjoyed another traditional Alsace (region of northeastern France) meal. I chose to give Flammenkuchen (Tarte flambée) a try. Resembling a flatbread pizza, the traditional flavor I tried was covered with cream cheese, cheese, bacon, and onions. I was pleasantly surprised. The region of Alsace is known for its wine, which I enjoyed with my flammenkuchen.
One of the most scenic parts of our trip was a visit to the Barrage Vauban or “Vauban Dam.” Also known as the “Great Lock,” the dam was built between 1686 and 1700. Today, a crosswalk is available for pedestrians to get across the River Ill. The crosswalk is incredible, providing panoramic views of the city. If you’re lucky, maybe you could snatch a kayak ride on the river and under the bridge.
Overall, I hope to visit Strasbourg again. There were many museums to visit, more food to try, and more churches to admire.
Fun Fact: When visiting any country playing in the World Cup, take note. Restaurants will be full, and the fans may be crazy. After France won the game, drivers of almost every car honked their horns for some time (seemed like forever), fans sounded blowhorns and I’m sure, partied into the night. Basically, the World Cup is no small deal!
Extra tip: When visiting Strasbourg, do not forget to pack your walking shoes. It is a walking city where many places can be reached in a short walk.
Until my next adventure,