Saturday, July 16, 2016

Au revoir, Strasbourg. C'était charmant!

I was immediately taken with this charming city. Today sealed the deal for me. We started the day by walking around the grande île, peaking at used books in the street market and window shopping along Grand Rue. The kids have been asking for crêpes, so we knew we had to follow through with that promise. We stopped at a couple of places that were cash only (I didn't know that was a thing still), before finding a lovely little restaurant that accepted credit.

We ordered a crêpe salé and a crêpe sucre each. We topped them off with a "ice ball" (read: ice cream), and it was simply one of the best things I've had in Strasbourg, which is saying a lot.

Today was all about hitting some parks, and we were determined to make our way across the River Rhine via Le Jardin des Deux Rives, which connects France and Germany.

This pretty much sums up how I felt after walking for hours in skinny jeans and my Astrals, which are not cushioned for those kinds of walks. I didn't say it was pretty, folks.

Geography lesson!

The Rhine splits Germany and France right to the east of Strasbourg. Kehl, Germany is the closest town to Strasbourg, right there across that river. Apparently, France had done a whole lot of things with that space prior to 1995, including a hippodrome, a public park with motel and pool, a hostel, and a waterpark. On the German side, the Rheinpromenade existed. 

In 1996, they came together to create a transfrontier park, with a rather impressive bridge connecting the two in complete harmony. The bridge has two walkways, on each side, that meet in the middle. The area has benches for relaxing and enjoying views of the Rhine. 

The walk was long from Petite France, and the walk home was a bit...shall we say, painful. My feet hurt, we hadn't brought water, and we were all tired, which means whining of epic proportions. When Google maps says it is an hour walk, believe them. And if you are traveling with the under ten set, add another 30 minutes just to be safe. 

From there, we came home, ate a light dinner and headed across the street to a delicious little tapas restaurant. We sat for hours, and I'm 95% sure the table next to us was at the very least talking about us (I heard the word American, and I know just enough French to decipher it) and the other 5% sure they were making fun of us. My kids are loud humans. So far, I've found both English and French folks are not loud. Don't get me wrong, there were, while we were in Paris, random men singing at 1am loud enough for me to hear with my windows open. And in large groups people are loud. But at dinner...or sitting in a park? Nah. 

My kids on the other hand...epically loud. Embarrassing loud. Sky has theories about Americans being louder because of wide open spaces and Europeans not needing to be as loud due to high density. Maybe? 

From there, we headed back to the Strasbourg Cathedral for the lumière intemporelle, or timeless light. Besides the 690 artificial candles that light up the building, the front face is illuminated in a soft purple color, with the inside staircases illuminated in red. Lights from inside lit up the stained glass. 

The 15 minutes show on the side was the real treat. Music and lights took us through a journey which included bells, deep sea creatures, rain, snow and fire. There are not words to describe the spectacle. If there is ever a video of it online, you should watch it.

Edited to add: I found a video online HERE (watch, you won't be sorry).

My pictures didn't even begin to capture the images that we saw during the show. I finally just put down my camera and took it in. We don't do that enough, ya know? Just staying present in that moment. Doesn't that last longer and mean more than a picture you may never look at again?

It was the perfect final memory as we close out our time in Strasbourg. We head back to Paris tomorrow (can you say seven hour bus ride?) before hanging out on the 18th and flying home on the 19th. 

This trip has been amazing and I have a final post in the planning stages, just a reflection of what I've experiences and learned. For now though, I'm just kind of ready to be home. For a little normalcy to my day and a little calm, and of course, a lot of river time.

For now, sleep. 


  1. I saw a light show in Brussels that this reminds me of. It was breathtaking! Glad you're having a wonderful time!!

  2. I saw a light show in Brussels that this reminds me of. It was breathtaking! Glad you're having a wonderful time!!