France: Strasbourg, An Epic Tour

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Strasbourg is famous for its magical aura which makes you feel like wandering in the Wonderland with Alice due to the romantic views on its canals and candy-bar like colorful houses. It is located close to the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace and the capital city of the Grand Est region of France that is also known politically as the official seat of the European Parliament. Strasbourg’s historic city center was classified as World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988 and it was the first time such an honor was placed on an entire city center.

Strasbourg has its own airport (Strasbourg International Airport) but this is rather small and ticket prices are usually quite high. It is located south-west of the city at Entzheim, with domestic as well as international flights, mostly operated by Air France. Alternatively you can take the high-speed train connection, changing at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (€62, travel time approx. 2h). However, we preferred by far the cheapest option which was Flixbus from Frankfurt central train station to Strasbourg (€11, travel time approx. 3h10). It was comfortable and if you select an early departure option, you can even save that day for a nice city tour.

During our stay in Frankfurt, we preferred Charming Central Flat Strasbourg which was really close both to the main train station (Gare) and Petite France district shown above, at the left side of the map with dark blue circles.


Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

 

In my opinion Cathédrale Notre-Dame is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. Today it is the sixth-tallest church in the world and the highest extant structure built entirely in the Middle Ages. It can be seen from out of Strasbourg even top of the Vosges mountain (a.k.a. Black Forest) outside of the city. It has an astronomical clock inside but it is a smaller one compared to Prague Astronomical Clock, you should check my previous post here.

Anyways, whenever I visit a church, I light a candle and make a wish on it. I should admit that, at Cathedrale Notre-Dame, it was the first time one of my wishes came true ♥ According to the saying, if your wish came true, the very same church should be visited one more time to show your gratefulness. I am glad that Strasbourg totally worth visiting twice.

On the other hand, there are lots of shops, local cafes and souvenirs around the cathedral square. You may come across a boutique French Fromagerie named Maison Lorho. In case you are interested in cheese or local tastes, you can click on its name to find out its exact location. I strictly recommend you to taste as much of those delicious cheese from all around France as you can. Especially, the ones I choose out of millions of them;

∴ Tete de Moine

∴ Brebis

∴ Beaufort

∴ Gougabinelle Poivrè

∴ Brun de Noix


Petite France

 

Petite France (“Little France”) is the most picturesque district of old Strasbourg and it is located at the western end of the city. In the Middle Ages, it was home to the city’s tanners, millers and fisherman, but is now one of the Strasbourg’s main tourist attractions. The quarter stands along four channels and these channels flow through the Petite France quarter before reuniting in the main channel of the river. They were spanned for the defensive reasons in early ages with a structure of three bridges and four towers that, despite its name, has not been covered since the 18th century. You may walk around the narrow streets in the Petite France and enjoy its aesthetic view of the historical local houses.

There are many local restaurants at the center of Petite France at which you can taste Alsatian cuisine and famous white wines. We tasted traditional Tarte Flambée with cheese, onion and mushroom. It can be written as “Forestière” (with mushrooms) or “Munster” (with munster cheese). Tarte Flambée is a really testy, mostly homemade local dish and can be good choice for a quick lunch. Wine choice is, of course,  up to your taste but I met Sylvaner at the Alsace region for the first time and suddenly it became my favorite.


Mont Sainte-Odile

 

Mont Sainte-Odile is a 760 mt. high peak in the Vosges Mountains in Alsace France. It is about 35 minutes far from Strasbourg city center by car and at the south-west of Obernai. The mountain is named after Sainte Odile who was the blind daughter of Etichon, Duke of Alsace. She was considered as the Saint of good eyesight. The mountain’s peak is home to a famous monastery which dates back to Celtic times. In 1992, it was the site of an Airbus crash. Today, Mont Saint Odile remains a popular stop for locals and tourists from around the world. It has a fascinating view up on the hills and an impressive site of a Pagan Wall. It is more than 6 miles long and is comprised of some 300,000 stone blocks. The origin and age of the wall are still not known completely.


The Black Forest

 

You may pass from the little town of Obernai, and up to the mountain, visit the tomb of St Odile, the Chapel of Tears, the Chapel of Angels, the terrace of Monastery (recently used as a Hotel) and its panoramic views. While you are going up to the Monastery, you will have the chance to see the ‘mystic’ Black Forest by which the Brothers Grimm were inspired for their fairy tales and wrote such as Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood. So, beware of the hungry wolves hiding into the woods and no matter how hungry you are, stay out of the candy-covered houses along the way 😛

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