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Petit France

Strasbourg, France: I begged DT for a rest day. He went out for a jog while I slept-in, then we decided to explore the Petit France islands in Strasbourg. This section of three small islands in the Ill River running through Strasbourg hold some of the oldest buildings in the city and are called Petit France because French soldiers who arrived here after the Campaign of Italy had syphilis so they were quarantined on the islands. (At this time - 15th century - Strasbourg was not part of France or Germany, but a sovereign state of the Roman Empire.) (PS: I have no idea why syphilitic French soldiers were here at this time.)

Today we walked along the south side of the rivers because it was in the shade and - more important - the sidewalks were not cobblestone. My feet were happy. To reach Petit France we had a view to several University buildings, including this well-loved student dining hall:

Dining Hall - not like your college cafeteria?
Same building; different view
So many pretty half-timbered homes
Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg, France
Students enjoying a day-off along the Ill River

As we crossed over the bridge to Petit France, we spent quite a bit of time exploring the Ponts Couvert (covered bridges). At one point there were 18 of these towers between bridges in Strasbourg, and they were covered to protect the guards from weather. Today, only four towers remain and the wooden covers on the bridges were dismantled in 1685. The towers, no longer needed by guards, were used for storage, and sometimes as prisons.

Ponts Couverts
Ponts Couverts

Just upriver from the once-covered bridges is the Barrage Vauban bridge. This bridge spans the river and does act as a bridge, but it also housed soldiers. Gates were installed to close-off the river to flood the area outside of town to make it inaccessible to attackers. Clever!

Barrage Vauban
Inside the city view of Barrage Vauban
Barrage Vauban
View of the back side of the bridge where the gates would drop down
Barrage Vauban
We climbed to the top of the Barrage Vauban bridge
View to the covered bridges from Barrage Vauban
The tunnel under the Barrage Vauban

The three island of Petit France were once storage areas for building materials and many leather tanneries. After WWII these industries moved to the outskirts of town, the old storage buildings and tanneries were destroyed and the main island was made into a nice park. So many families were picnicking here today.

Park in Petit France
Another canal view

After exploring the three islands (and taking too many photos), we crossed back to retrace our route to our hotel. As we crossed the Saint Martin Bridge, we saw another very famous American tourist!

Strasbourg Mouse

Mickey Mouse was posing for coins with tourists, but then lost his head and was asking passers-by for a light for his cigarette. Classy. Nice footwear choice as well.

We noticed the most picturesque restaurant at the bridge:

Pont Saint Martin Restaurant
We were soon seated, bottom right terrace - right on the river!

It was nearly 90 degrees today, so being seated basically on the water, in the shade, with a little breeze, was as close as we were going to get to air conditioned comfort. (Our hotel is air conditioned.) Since it was well past two o'clock, this would be our main meal of the day here at Au Saint Martin restaurant. When in Alsace have the tarte flambee!

Happy in Strasbourg

We ordered a carafe of the house white. The carafe of Edelzwicker Faller was massive, very good, very cold, and 12 euros! (Just in case you are worried about me drowning, please notice the life preserver ring.) We have yet to be steered wrong with the house wine in Europe. After our big lunch, we still had a mile trek back to our hotel, where we had nice long naps.

Europe is all abuzz with the Rugby World Cup that has just started in Paris. Matches are on televisions everywhere and many people are sporting their team jerseys. Which reminds me to mention Dave wore a Duck baseball cap for college game day and it seems the Ducks are undefeated this season. GO DUCKS!

Dave had found a nice-looking Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel on his jog this morning, so we went out quite late for more vegetables, Lisa!

Until my next update, I remain your "I'm so over tarte flambee" correspondent.

Pedometer: 13,000. So much for my rest day.

One thought

  1. Just curious, what shoes do you wear walking all these steps? Same pair or do you have more than one pair? I have enjoyed all of your pictures and stories!

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