Strasbourg, France is the seat of the European Parliament and Court of Human Rights making in one of Europe’s capitols (with Brussels). The entire center city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the early middles ages on it has straddled the German and French regions, but since the end of World War II it has been the capital of the French region of Alsace (now part of Grand Est).
We docked in Kehl across the Rhine in Germany and took a bus across to Strasbourg where we boarded a tour boat for a ride along the canals of the city. The canal boat avoids the road traffic and noise of the city. But unfortunately every picture is tinted blue from the windows of the boat.
Our tour began south of the city where dozens of old barges were converted into houseboats as in Amsterdam. After circling to the eastern portion of the city we entered the area where the European government has it’s starkly modern buildings, such as legislature above. Following the southern edge of Grande Ile, the historic center, we entered a lock and were in Petit-France, a colorful neighborhood of half-timbered houses. From there we headed to the Pont Couverts on the outskirts of the center with its square guard towers and headed back into town where we disembarked for a short walk to the Cathedral Square.
The gothic sandstone Notre Dame cathedral was the world tallest building during much of the Renaissance and is the sixth tallest church in the world today. We did not go inside, but the main entrance amply demonstrates the wealth of the city during the Middle Ages.
On the Cathedral Square were several other late medieval and renaissance building such as the wooden Hammerzell House (left).
Strasbourg is a wealthy city that blends old and new, French and German and with its large University has a very young population. If cruises are the Whitman’s sampler of travel, then Strasbourg was a confection we didn’t get enough of.