City of the Month: Strasbourg for First Timers

How often do you look back to really really notice what you have: That’s why traveling around feels a bit like a beloved person in his / her life.

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When you find yourself somewhere else, you learn to miss your true friends. It’s the same for countries and cities I visited. Or in general places which are really good and with the something special. One example is the city of Strasbourg in the French region called Alsace, a place that was visited in November 2016. A place that is not far from the German-French border.

Years ago I gave France a wide berth. I know London, Sydney, Bangkok, but the city of love called Paris was never on my top bucket list until now. Unlike Lulu, I know Paris and many other places in France only from the atlas or the travelbook. One year ago, I ventured to cross the border into Strasbourg and entered France for the first time. This year, with Lille in the north of the country, I was even a few kilometers further inland. If I go on like this, I’ll be in Paris in 10 years’ time, but fun aside.

I know that it is hard to find more beautiful cathedrals anywhere else on the planet than in France, no country offers better bakery or better savory goods.

A trip to France is definitely an enrichment for the senses and an extension of the horizon. From Strasbourg I did not expect much on a weekend trip. I was just in Zurich where I was for a training session which opened a door for a job in Mexico.

My best friend wanted to visit me this weekend. First of all in Zurich and from there we started on a misty Saturday morning on the foggy, alpine month of November via Basel and Mulhouse to Strasbourg.

Due to our low budget travel fund we searched for a cheap accommodation in advance, anywhere based in the direction of the city exit. There was a more than simple hostel with a few rooms in a submarine style, but a solid service. Therefore, the stay for a night in the hostel with a permanently hinged window was not the wish of a pleasant stay, but made of necessity a virtue. After all, we just wanted to sleep there.

Anyway, the city itself was in focus.

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And this place has a lot to offer. The city is the seat of the European Parliament and various other institutions that rely on common European values. The reason for this is that France was a founding member of the former European Economic Community, which gradually developed into today’s European Union.

Also, of course, a visit to these buildings is advisable and almost mandatory if you stay at least for a couple of days. However, those who experience rather annoying boredom from state-of-the-art political buildings will also find very beautiful corners in cultural historical World Heritage City of Strasbourg.

Namely, the historic old town, situated between man-made canals, boasts many historic buildings. What you should absolutely experience and see, you will find here:

Currency

The Euro is the currency of Belgium as well as the entire western EU (with the exception of the British Isles).

Where to find cheap accomodation?

The city is not anonymous enough, so you cannot say that there are cheaper places in certain places. If yes, deals are most likely to be found on sites like www.booking.com or www.hostelworld.com.

What to see and what to experience in Strasbourg?

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Strasbourg Cathedral

As typical for a historically grown city, the centrally located church tower with surrounding church square dominates all other buildings in the city. In the time of the High Middle Ages, the Strasburger Münster (in German) or / the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Strasbourg (French) was also the highest church in the world. Even influential writers and poets caressed the mighty church, which is visible even on a clear day from the surrounding Black Forest and Vosges mountains. Therefore it is no longer disputed why Strasbourg Cathedral is the symbol of the Alsace. The Strasbourg Cathedral is considered the sixth highest cathedral in the world and a more detailed exploration of the interior of the building as well as the richly decorated façade with water reservoirs and Christian dignitaries fits perfectly into the surrounding old town. Although one sees the church building with awe, on the other hand one discovers the place also from its playful picturesque side. Because especially the comparatively tiny craft houses provide the greatest contrast and yet remind of a picturesque feature film or a perfect Disney movie. Something special is there, in this city. You have to and should experience it on your own. And especially in the current cold season you can spend very lovely hours – therefore just the perfect choice for our City of the Month November. An inside inspection of the building is worthwhile as well. From the top of the tower you can really realize the dimensions of a medieval city like Strasbourg. In addition, you will discover so near and distant even very interesting-looking buildings that you should explore afterwards.

For example the…

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Barrage Vauban with Petit France Panorama View

The Barrage itself rather captivates with a simple building, which however has a very interesting reason to visit. From here, the perfect ensemble of Petit France, which spreads on the water is visible. Behind the gate-like buildings, there are also many small half-timbered houses in the center, where tanner, fisherman etc. used to live and work. In this respect every house is more beautiful than the other, every street more dignified than the previous one and every little bakery with delicious Macarones and the local known Alsatian tarte flambée suitable for the travel magazines. Many small, often cheap restaurants can be found here, even on the main roads. These are so many arguments that surprise. Therefore: Do not miss and definitely make a detour to the westernmost tip of the old town where La Petit France is located.

European Parliament

Each of the six founding members of the EU has a European institution. Due to the European unification process, the city decided to place the European Parliament in Strasbourg due to its location at the border between Germany and France. Strasbourg and the European capital Brussels share the role. While the Belgian capital houses the European Commission, where the executive (government) of the entire EU is working, the European Parliament is the institution where politicians are discussing about the proposals made by the Commission in Brussels. Strasbourg also hosts most of the assemblies. There are also many tours available to give interested travelers a better understanding. If you have time and desire, an excursion of a political nature can be exciting for you.

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