I posted about the history and architecture of Notre Dame. It is part of Paris‘ cultural and religious lifeblood. It’s huge, historic, and imposing. I was surprised to find pockets of warmth, small details and intimacy when we visited during a mass.
I’m a huge fan of stopping by to see something while en route somewhere else. On our way from Colmar to Bad Kreuznach, we stopped by Strasbourg. While we only had an hour to walk around the town, we managed to catch some of the touristic highlights.
Strasbourg is known for its river. As we walked along the water, we studied the canals. Le Barrage Vauban (Vauban Dam) was built in 1681. The flood gates could be closed and the southern edge of the city flooded, in the event of an attack. They do boat tours that looked pretty cool. When we found the landing, a tour bus full of people moving none too quickly was boarding the boat. We didn’t wait around for the next one.
Le Petite France is an appealing neighborhood situated on islands. The half-timbered houses date from the 16th and 17th centuries. It was impossible to miss the flavor of German culture that permeated the area. This area gets decked out during the holidays for the annual Christmas Market.
Strasbourg’s gigantic gothic cathedral, Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg, was built in the 11th and 12th centuries (although the 142 meter high spire was not finished until 1439). It is the sixth-tallest church in the world! I felt ant-sized next to it.
It is impressive. Describing the exterior as ornate is an understatement. The stone is so elaborate that it is almost lace-like. Its stained glass windows (the Rose window in particular) are considered showstoppers. Aficionados of churches are impressed by the giant organ, Gothic pulpit and astronomical clock. We didn’t have time to climb the steps to the top of the bell tower to enjoy the view. Zut Alors!
Strasbourg has long been a capital of the region. It was bitterly fought over and changed hands between France and Germany five times between 1870 and 1945. The Council of Europe is also located here. For these reasons and its convenient central location) it was chosen as the location for the European Parliament. This is as close as we got. Again, sorry.