The One with Strasbourg, France


Monday, May 11, 2015

Chris has been suggesting we drive just across the German border into the Alsace region of France for some time now. When I kept seeing pictures of Colmar on Pintrest I finally gave in, so we decided this would be the trip we'd take my brother and his wife on while they were here. Our plan was to drive to Strasbourg, sightsee there, then explore Colmar and some towns along the Route du Vin.

How we roll while driving. Fox being such a good sport waaaaay in the back. 
We found an airbnb apartment for only 60 euros a night out in the French countryside about an hour south of Strasbourg and 25 minutes north of Colmar. It was a nice quiet village that was a relaxing stop after our days of sightseeing.
The apartment itself was outstanding. Absolutely perfect for families with children. They had everything you could need for kids from toys to a crib to gates blocking off the stairs, high chairs, kid friendly plates, and more. We highly recommend this place if you are looking for a nice home base to explore the Alsace region of France. Plus, all of the colorful rooms? Totally my thing.
It rained on us the whole four hour drive and it didn't stop when we arrived in Strasbourg. We parked in a garage in the center of town and trudged out into the precipitation.
The Evans Family in Strasbourg, France on Friday May 1, 2015. 
Strasbourg is urban Alsace at its best - it feels like a giant Colmar with rivers and streetcars. It's a livable city with generous space devoted to bicycles, pedestrians, trams, and meandering waterways. Situated just west of the Rhine River, Strasbourg provides the ultimate blend of Franco-Germanic culture, architecture, and ambiance. A living symbol of hope for perpetual peace between France and Germany, Strasbourg was selected as home to the European Parliament, the European Council, and the European Court of Human Rights. 
The Strasbourg Cathedral of Notre Dame. This church wows visitors today so I can only imagine the impact its cloud-piercing spire and pink sandstone color had on medieval pilgrims. The delicate Gothic style of the church begun in 1176, but not finished until 1429, is another Franco-Germanic mix that somehow survived the French Revolution, the Franco-Prussian War, WWI, and WWII. 
The dark-red stone that differentiates this cathedral from other great Gothic churches in France is quarried from the northern part of the Vosges Mountains.
I love stained glass. These windows depict various rulers of Strasbourg.
The church also has a 15th century astronomical clock and an exquisite gold-leafed organ.
Back out into the rain we surveyed the square near the church. It was a Roman square 2,000 years ago. Then, as it is now, it was the center of activity.
The little architectural pops were the highlight of this trip. So cool.

Pineapples are so hot right now.
We meandered down the Rue du 22 Novembre aimlessly. 
A"door"able.
Big pink church. Big green tree.
Eventually we wound up at La Petite France, the historic home to the city's tanners, millers, and fishermen. This charming area is laced with canals, crowned with magnificent half-timbered homes, and carpeted with cobblestones.
I'm a sucker for vine-covered buildings.
Strasbourg was like a warm-up for the rest of our Alsace vacation. It gave us glimpses of the half-timbered charm that Colmar, then Eguisheim, would bowl us over with.
Are you kidding me?! Look at this place! So gorgeous.
Sigh.
Eric and Tanya navigating Strasbourg.
Mint? check. Half-timbered? check. Flower boxes? check. Jackpot.
Those vines, though.
Cute courtyard with pops of purple.
The province of Alsace stands like a referee between Germany and France. Bounded by the Rhine River on the east, and the Vosges Mountains on the west, this is a green region of Hansel and Gretel villages, vineyards, and vibrant cities. Alsace has changed hands between Germany and France several times because of its location, natural wealth, vulnerability, and the fact that Germany considered the mountains the natural border and France saw the Rhine as the dividing line. As a result, Alsace has a hybrid culture that is so unique and cool. Baguettes and bratwursts. Shutters and half-timbers. Très gut!
Vibrant graffiti.
Quaint club.
Be still my heart with these pastels!
Back near our parking garage was a gorgeous early 1900s carousel. The kids begged to go on and we obliged.
Rather than choosing one of the beautiful horses, Jane opted to sit in a little carriage.
Lovely France.
I love this picture. It sums up our day in Strasbourg - wet! But, we came prepared with umbrellas, our totally waterproof stroller cover, and rain-proof coats. We weren't going to let a little rain stop us!
We loaded back into the car and drove to our apartment (with a rained-out and closed only two days of the year and of course we were there one of those two days stop at the Château du Haut-Kœnigsburg) and dried out. 

Next stop: Colmar!

3 comments

  1. Absolutely GORGEOUS! LOVING all the photos!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Somehow I missed this blog post. I'm glad I scrolled through and found it 'cause these photos are fantastic!! Good thing you grew up in Washington and love the rain. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Somehow I missed this blog post. I'm glad I scrolled through and found it 'cause these photos are fantastic!! Good thing you grew up in Washington and love the rain. Right?

    ReplyDelete

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