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Strasbourg

sunny 30 °C

Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region. As it lies on the border with Germany, the German and French cultural influences are very evident. It is also the seat of several European institutions, such as the European Parliament and the International Institute of Human Rights.

Our visit was one of our last adventures for the holiday. After a 40 minute train trip, and a short walk, we were in the historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island). This is a small area ... my rough calculation is 1km x 700m.

We only had one day, so we planned to visit the main tourist area, and use the open-air river boats to see as much as possible. As we walked into the main area of the island I felt excited. I don't know why, but I knew I would love Strasbourg. When it was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988 (the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre) it was stated that it is "an old quarter that exemplifies medieval cities". Maybe that is it .. it just has a lovely 'feel' to it.

Early morning coffee at Petite France before 'hitting the pavement'

Early morning coffee at Petite France before 'hitting the pavement'


Another amazing shop front display

Another amazing shop front display

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The attraction which we did not want to miss was the impressive Strasbourg Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg). (1176–1439). Visible from across the plains of Alsace, it is impressive. The intricate details of the cathedral, sculptured from sandstone (which give the pink hue), are astounding. The cathedral looks unbalanced with only one spire (142m high). Apparently originally planned to have two spires, the second was never built. However, the single spire does give the cathedral a unique look.

There is so much to be impressed with, I think one would need a full day to explore and appreciate the many wonders of the cathedral ... for example, the astronomical clock which, at 18m high, is one of the largest in the world. The clock shows the official time, indicates solar time, the day of the week, the month, the year, the sign of the zodiac, the phase of the moon and the position of several planets. It also has animated characters which move at different times of the day.

An amazing structure

An amazing structure


Rising up 142 metres

Rising up 142 metres


Awesome detail

Awesome detail


Beautiful intricate detail on facade

Beautiful intricate detail on facade


Detail of the entrance to Strasbourg Cathedral

Detail of the entrance to Strasbourg Cathedral


Beautiful

Beautiful


Rose window

Rose window


Stained glass inside cathedral

Stained glass inside cathedral


Stained glass window

Stained glass window


Side view of the cathedral

Side view of the cathedral


18-metre astronomical clock

18-metre astronomical clock

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Our 1-hour long boat tour, commenced just after lunch (on a very hot day) took us around the island, and then continued up the canals to the area which houses the European Parliament, the headquarters of the Council of Europe, and the International Institute of Human Rights. Obviously there are many bridges to navigate which are, in themselves, a symbol of Strasbourg. The area of Petite France is very picturesque, as is the beautiful architecture of the houses along the canal.

Ready for a great tour on the water on a very hot day

Ready for a great tour on the water on a very hot day


Covered bridge

Covered bridge


One of the many bridges crossing the canal

One of the many bridges crossing the canal


Tour boat negotiating the loch to raise the water to allow the boat to proceed to the next level

Tour boat negotiating the loch to raise the water to allow the boat to proceed to the next level


St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church


European Parliament building

European Parliament building


European Parliament Building

European Parliament Building


Petite France .. where we had our morning coffee

Petite France .. where we had our morning coffee


Vibrant floral display

Vibrant floral display


Beautiful

Beautiful


Beautiful architecture along the canal

Beautiful architecture along the canal


Look Daddy!!

Look Daddy!!

This view provides an excellent image of the beauty of Strasbourg
Strasbourg_-_Ponts_Couverts_vus_de_la_terrasse_panoramique

Strasbourg_-_Ponts_Couverts_vus_de_la_terrasse_panoramique

(Attribution: By Didier B (Sam67fr) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons)

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One can while away the time ambling through the many narrow streets, checking out the souvenir shops, french bakeries, and the different stores offering enticing goods which are unaffordable, but fun to look at.

Fun checking out the souvenir shops

Fun checking out the souvenir shops

The Statue of Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the printing press around 1440, was of interested to me as, I studied at uni a little about the impact his invention had on the dissemination of knowledge by the mass production of books.

Statue of Johannes Gutenberg

Statue of Johannes Gutenberg


Enjoying a ride on this lovely carousel

Enjoying a ride on this lovely carousel

It was a long, but interesting day, topped off with a lovely relaxed dins in Petite France, and a well deserved dessert.

Dinner before heading home

Dinner before heading home


Dessert after a big day ..

Dessert after a big day ..

I think I will have to organise a home exchange in Strasbourg sometime soon so I can return to explore this interesting city more thoroughly.

..

Posted by patsaunder 11:58 Archived in France

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