Petite France Strasbourg – it looks just like a picture postcard
Strasbourg in the French Alsace region sits on the border with Germany (with the River Rhine to its West), and transferred between France and German territory many times over the past Millennium. Consequently, influences from both cultures are evident throughout this medieval city.
Perhaps currently most famous as the official seat of the European Parliament, Strasbourg also contains a plethora of buildings showcasing architectural styles throughout the centuries, with the earliest dating back to the 1400s. Visitors are treated to many examples of the city's buildings and covered bridges on-board a 70 minute boat tour which features headphones in 12 languages describing Strasbourg's fascinating past. The river cruise even included a lock, which referring to Webster's dictionary is an enclosure (as in a canal) with gates at each end used in raising or lowering boats as they pass from level to level. It was interesting to see the water levels rise and fall as we passed through.
Petite France is a postcard picturesque area iconic for its brightly coloured half-timber dwellings. You could be mistaken for thinking Petite France was built for the city's noblemen and women, however this neighbourhood which housed tanners, millers and fishermen during the middle ages is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We would like to make special mention to the person who put a pin on google maps indicating Petite France's location as the middle of a construction site. Although we found it funny, they should be ashamed of themselves, and feel lucky that it wasn't too far away from the real thing.
We indulged on French wine, pastries and cheese that has to be smelled to be truly appreciated (it smells like old socks), before visiting yet another Notre Dame Catherdral.
After learning how to validate our tickets and noting some English spelling mistakes on the back, we found the metro easy to use. We hopped on-board and headed downtown to find a bar to watch the France/Belgium soccer game. Although not sports fans we expected the atmosphere for watching this semi-final game to be electric, and were disappointed to find empty streets and half full bars. We later guessed that people were at home waiting for the result before celebrating France's victory. The French really know how to party, and within 5 minutes of France winning, the streets were filled with smiling people, honking their car horns and singing French songs that we didn't understand. From their reactions you could assume they had already won the cup.