Alsace started with a barbeque, of course; a barbeque of sausages. We had plenty, from the merguez (red, spicy from North Africa), a saucisse de fromage (stuffed with cheese), a saucisse du pays, saucisse traditionnel, and the saucisse de Strasbourg (a knackwurst, like a red-skinned hot dog). This was not my first time in Strasbourg and the region of Alsace, but the first time in Strasbourg was under entirely different circumstances. That time, last December, was freezing and snowy with a plethora of Christmas markets. This time was in the beginning of the warm and beautiful season. Both times, I found Strasbourg to be beautiful.
Strasbourg is occasionally refered to as the Capital of Europe as it is home to the European Parliament. It’s the economic capital of the Alsace region and has an internationally reputed university. But I like Strasbourg for its ancient charms, such as the area of La Petite France.
The Michelin Guide Vert says that La Petite France is one of the most curious and well-preserved corners of Old Strasbourg, what with its homes that reflect the water of the canal. I didn’t get to see this particular area last time I was in Strasbourg. As I walked along the canal I said to myself, “indeed, kind of adorable and charming. ”
The Cathedral was just as impressive this time around. In the winter, the Place around the cathedral is home to the largest Strasbourg Christmas market. The rest of the year, well, there’s still plenty of people around, but now everyone was focused on this Gothic Cathedral. You might notice that the external color is a rosey-grey color – the Cathedral de Strasbourg was built with stones from the nearby Vosges Mountains. Fun facts: construction started in 1015 and St. Bernard celebrated Mass there, but there was a fire that destroyed the whole thing, causing construction to start over in 1176. Construction continued until 1439.
Below you see an image of Place Kléber, Strasbourg’s largest and most “central” square. It was bustling with street performers and people who were shopping. In a way, it reminded me of the scenary back in December- place Kléber is home to the huge Strasbourg Christmas tree, and there were choruses singing. Not so very different, all things considered.
Actually, I will always think of Strasbourg as the city of celebratory markets. As we wandered around the alleyways of old Strasbourg, we came across two Easter markets. There could be more than two; I’m not really sure how many there were. Vendors were selling chocolates, Easter bunnies, pastries, and of course, “market food” such as the traditional Alsacian tarte flambée.