Best Western hotel in Strasbourg

By the end of the 5th day of our vacation we had reached Strasbourg. This was the first stop in the trip where we decided to stay two nights, with one day in-between fully dedicated to visiting the city. The hotel that we chose was the Best Western on 38 rue du fossé des Tanneurs – an old building from the 17th century, well renovated and brought up to all modern needs and amenities. It’s an ideal location for folks who plan to stay in the city at least one day, leaving here the car in the valet parking and taking the city by foot. This is exactly what we did.

Petite France

The touristic center of Strasbourg is all located on the Grande Ile between the river Ill and the Fosse du Faux Rempart a deep channel that constituted one more obstacle protecting the old city from the invaders. It has two principal areas, one around the Notre Dame Cathedral and the other in the area named Petite France, once the fishermen and tanners district. The Best Western is located close to the later.

channels and bridges

It’s an area of channels and bridges, with old buildings that combine French and German styles, and remind strongly the Netherlands because of the water landscape around. Restaurants can be found all over the place. The weather was beautiful (after the storms of the day before) and so it was to stay for the next few days, so that evening we had dinner on a street terrace. I will tell more about the restaurants and the food in one of the next episodes.

lurking through the window

We strolled in the streets that evening, enjoying the nice weather, and admiring the houses and even the interiors through the open windows.

place de la Cathedrale

Next day, the 6th of our vacation we took the streets of Strasbourg. I will write separately about the Cathedral and about the museums that we visited. Strasbourg is a beautiful city, one of the most beautiful in France. The combination of German and French styles in architecture, food, language and behavior of the locals works well. It is said to be a crowded city, invaded by tourists in summer and by European parliamentarians and bureaucrats the rest of the time, but we were lucky to catch it in between the two seasons. It was the end of the summer, peak vacations seasons was over and the politicians were not yet back. The city was all ours.

taking the boat trip

We love taking boat trips on city located on water. Paris, London, Bruges, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Berlin, all these cities revealed to us special angles when seen from the boat. We took confidently a trip boat on the Ill, the river that crosses Strasbourg and we were not disappointed.

Ponts Couverts - medieval Strasbourg seen from the Ill

Mentioned since the times of Julius Caesar, Strasbourg is located at the crossroads of Europe, close to the place where the German and French areas of political and cultural influence as well as the religious influences of Catholicism and Reform have clashed along the centuries and not far from the border with neutral Switzerland. All invaders one way or the other stumbled on Strasbourg, which had to build in time not only a resilient character but also a fabric of tolerance to changes of the dominant culture which helps her today to play the role of bridge in the new Europe.

old Strasbourg home

The streets are dominated by German architecture, at least the area built until the end of the 18th century, although the city was annexed by France since the times of Louis XIV. The city however kept a strong German influence and the Lutheran University founded in the 16th century continued to function until the Revolution, the only such institution in France.

19th century architecture

The French Revolution is the milestone that changed the fate of the city and made of it a bastion of French culture and identity. It is here that Rouget de Lisle composed La Marseillese. All 19th century architecture is of French inspiration, despite the fact that after 1871 Strasbourg fell under German rule until the end of the first world war.

Palais d'Europe

Today the city not only bridges between the two cultures, languages and styles so much impregnated in its history, but became the symbol of the new multinational Europe, co-capital of the European Union, and host to many of the principal institutions of Europe. The boat trip takes the visitors to the Palais d’Europe and the other modernistic buildings of the European government complex hosting the European ministries, court of justice and Parliament.

the ARTE TV station

Another symbol that I could not miss was the building of the European culture TV channel ARTE TV. Started 20 years ago the bilingual (French and German) station is building cultural bridges not only between Germany and France, but also between all nations of Europe, a symbol of the possibility of coexistence in a city that was that much in the past a symbol of hate and division.