Strasbourg is a surprisingly attractive small city. The sheer beauty and feel of this lovely place is intoxicating. When you see photographs of Strasbourg in the news it is always at the EU buildings which are modern tower blocks.
The centre of Strasbourg is a charming half timbered medieval city on an island. It is easy to get to as the airport has bus and tram links go direct to the old town. We went on a day trip. We caught the early morning flight arriving at 08.30am and took the late flight back. The flight was with a budget airline.
The main Christmas market is in front of the cathedral. The stalls are attractive and there is lots of space between them so you do not feel like you have to fight your way through the crowds. It is a Germanic style Christmas market with a French feel. The Architecture is also very Germanic. The Alsace region of France has changed hands a number of times over the Years. It has been a war zone between France and Germany right for over 600 years.
Le Petite France (little France) is the most picturesque district of old Strasbourg. Bizzarely, this part of Strasbourg got it's name from sexually transmitted disease VD, which at the time was known as 'The French Disease'. It was previously the fishing, milling and tannery district. As a working class area in the olden times it was also full of prostitutes. No prostitutes work these streets as the old houses belong to the rich. The alleys of the Petite France offer a succession of half-timbered houses of the 16th and 17th century, with vast interior courts, large sloped roofs, and open attic areas where the pelts were once dried. They have been painstakingly restored.
In the heart of the Petite France Quarter, the Covered-bridges with their three defensive towers offer the visitors a charming view on the river Ill and the Barrage Vauban. On its top, from the Terrasse panoramique, you can see the Petite France district with its old houses reflected in the still waters of the river Ill The Cathedral can bee seen in the background. The Barrage Vauban is a defensive dam built on the river Ill in the 17th century that could be used to suddenly flood the lowlands to hamper any attacking army.
The Barrage Vauban is a defensive dam built on the river Ill in the 17th century that could be used to suddenly flood the lowlands to hamper any attacking army. There is a walkway through Vauban's Dam, from one side of the river to the other. There is also a grassy terrace on top of the dam, giving views over the city but it is only accessible from one side of the dam. Because this was a covered bridge over the water I thought this was the Pont Couvert. I was wrong. The covered bridge is no longer covered as unfortunately, it burned down a long time ago, and all that remains are the towers.
The locals have pride in their city. They decorate the outside of their windows with special large Christmas decorations. They use waterproof materials to construct objects that look like Children's toys. If they had used normal soft toy teddy bears they would have gone rotten. The teddy bears you see at the windows are made of straw, but it is hard to tell the difference.