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Why did we go to Strasbourg? Well, we had never visited the Northeastern part of France and anyone we talked to about Strasbourg had nothing but rave reviews. They were spot on. We spent nine nights in Strasbourg, touring the city and taking day trips to some of the towns on the Alsace Wine Route. We still have more towns to visit on the Alsace side and never made it just across the border to the German side.
Ray and I took the train on Oct 10 to Strasbourg and stayed in a one bedroom apartment between the train station and town for 9 nights. I bought a 3 day Strasbourg pass online which included free or half-price admission for several museums and a half day bike rental. The apartment was convenient and comfortable. We bought food at a local small grocery store for breakfast and a salad supper. Our main meal was lunch at a restaurant offering Menu du Jour. We sampled all the local delicacies and found the food uniformly excellent.
We spent a lot of time in the Cathedral snapping photos of the stained glass window, carved pulpit, side chapels and decorated ceiling. The famous astronomical clock was fascinating. A movie told us about the history and illustrated several of the carved and painted decoration. At noon, the cock crowed and the figures made their rounds, much like the Glockenspeil in Munich. It was very well done. Next to the clock was one of my favourite sculptures in the church. The Angel Pillar has 12 sculptures, supposedly climbing the pillar to reach the Christ figure perched on the top. Another reason to visit the cathedral is to climb the 300 steps to a terrace under the bell tower to get the view of the city from the roof of the cathedral. Visitors several centuries ago carved their names and place of birth on the sides of the terrace walls.
The Palais Rohan, next to the Cathedral now houses three museums. We toured the interesting history museum to learn about the difficulties of living on the border with warring principalities. As a result, Strasbourg has had its language and allegiance changed between France and Germany multiple times over the centuries.
Petite France, with its many half-timbered buildings, most decorated with overflowing flower baskets, made an interesting walk along the canal, part of the River L’Ill. We took a boat tour on the River, and rented bikes for an afternoon to go farther north where the EU Parliament, Council of Europe and Human Rights buildings are found.
Our last night in Strasbourg we had a treat. Earlier in the week we saw a poster advertising the last in a series of classical concerts. Mozart’s Requiem was to be performed in a church near our apartment by National Opera orchestra and choir plus four soloists. We had general seating tickets, still expensive, but well worth the money. We found great seats on the side right near the front with perfect acoustics and upfront views of the musicians.
Read about our visit to the Alsace Wine Region
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