Happy Easter/Ostern/Pâques! Almost appropriately, we were starting to see the sun peek through after a couple of gray days.
|Viking Gullveig breakfast centerpiece|
|On the breakfast buffet|
|It's hard to get the whole ship in the picture!|
We saw that our Viking motor coaches and drivers were the same ones from Breisach. These guys get to travel alongside the Rhine instead of on it.
Today we had the driver, Pavel, and our tour guide was a young woman, Cindy. We were to start with a 45-minute bus tour, then a 45-minute walking tour, before having 45 minutes of free time.
The motor coaches drove across the Pont de l'Europe/Bridge of Europe (1959-60) from Kehl, Germany into Strasbourg, France, passing through a section of the port before heading north on Rue du Général Picquart. Circled around to the west to pass the parc de l'Orangerie (established c. 1789), the oldest and largest park in Strasbourg with landscaped grounds and the rebuilt Josephine pavilion.
|Parc de l'Orangerie|
|Storks on nest (Viking)|
Strasbourg can claim to be the capital of Europe, because of the location of the administration of the European Union (EU). The EU actually has administration buildings in four cities, including Brussels, Luxembourg, and Frankfurt. However, Strabourg is the home of the Council of Europe. We passed the Palais d'Europe/Palace of Europe (1972-1977, designed by architect Henry Barnard), the seat of the Council of Europe (founded 1949 and separate from the EU), which promotes cooperation among the member countries in areas such as human rights and quality standards of pharmaceuticals. It once housed the EU European Parliament until its own building was established in the complex.
|Flags at the Council of Europe (Viking)|
|EU European Parliament building (KSS)|
We passed the grande synagogue de la Paix/Great Synagogue of Peace (1954-1958 by architect Claude Meyer-Levy) and arrived at Place de la République, surrounded by impressive buildings.
(1883-1889 in neo-Renaissance style)
formerly the Kaiserpalast/Imperial German
|Rear of L'Opéra national du Rhin/National Opera of the Rhine (1873)|
|Palais Rohan (1728- 1742) with the ubiquitous cathedral tower|
|Tour boat built for low bridges|
|Grande Boucherie/slaughterhouse (1586-1588)|
now the municipal museum
|Ancienne Douane/Old Custom House (dating to 1358)|
|La Petite France/Little France (KSS)|
|Two of three remaining defensive towers (KSS)|
|Vauban Barrage/dam (1686-1700) built for defensive purposes|
|Ponts couverts/covered bridges (KSS)|
|The covered bridges no longer have their wooden roofs|
|House between two canals (KSS)|
|Third tower and vine-covered building|
The area is called Petite France because it was the location of a 15th century hospital that treated syphilis, which the Germans called the "French disease." Now it is a neighborhood park.
|River Ill in the area of former mills|
|Fancy half-timber work (KSS)|
|Brynne & Paul at the Maison des Tanneurs/House of Tanners|
|Pedestrianized Rue des Drapiers (KSS)|
|Relief on Winter Patisserie/Confectionary on Rue du 22 Novembre|
|Kitschy shop (KSS)|
|Paris department store Galeries Lafayette|
(1838 by Philippe Grass)
|Aubette/Orderly Building (1765-1772 by Jacques-François Blondel)|
|Alstom Citadis 403 tram|
|Mercury as god of trade|
|The arcades indicate there were shops along this street|
|Former hôtel de ville/town hall (1582-1585)|
the finest Renaissance building in lower Alsace
|Easter fair at Place Gutenberg (KSS)|
|Statue of Johannes Gutenberg|
(1840 by David d'Angers)
Although Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the movable type printing press, was born in Mainz, it is said that he came up with the idea in Strasbourg.
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg/Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg (1176-1429) is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture, although it has touches of the Romanesque. The profusion of sculptural ornaments is awe-inspiring.
The cathedral has a single tower; the south tower never was built as they were afraid the weight of it would cause the entire building to collapse. In 1794 there was a movement to tear down the north tower to make the cathedral symmetrical, but the local citizens placed a giant Phrygian cap on top of the actual spire in protest.
It was difficult to get the whole of the cathedral in one picture!
We heard the legend of the wind that seems to always be blowing around the cathedral. One day the devil rode up to the cathedral on the wind. He saw his likeness carved on the façade. Very flattered that he was depicted as a handsome young man, he decided to enter the cathedral to see if there were any more such statues. Once inside the holy place, he was trapped. The wind continues to wait for the devil to appear, howling in impatience; while inside the devil causes currents of air to rise from the bottom of the cathedral.
Several of the group were confused, thinking that Notre-Dame was in Paris...
Place de la Cathédrale.
At this point our guided tour was done, and we had free time. First we entered the cathedral where a Mass was in progress. The tourists were herded down the left aisle, and what we wanted to see was on the right! But the Mass ended and the ropes were taken down so that we could walk across to the right transept. The massive Astronomical Clock (1539-1584 by Tobias Stimmer) took up the whole north wall, but it was in the dark. The mechanism is from 1834- 1842 and it is very accurate. It could figure the date of Easter long before computers. We admired all the stained glass windows in the left aisle showing the German emperors and kings.
We left the cathedral to the opposite side of the square.
We walked down to the River Ill past the Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait/Suckling Pig Market.
Walked along the River Ill.
A right turn on Rue Martin Luther brought us to l'église Saint-Thomas/Church of St Thomas, the only hall church in the Alsace, with a Romanesque west end (1230-1250) and a Gothic nave (c. 1330). The octagonal tower (1348) has a clock that strikes the hours four minutes early, to be heard before the cathedral clock strikes.
The other claim to fame for St Thomas is the Silbermann organ (1737-1740) that Albert Schweitzer frequently played.
There was a delightful little Easter market in Place St Thomas and we had samples of cheese and sausage, along with explanations which we did not understand!
We returned to the group meeting place in Place de la Cathédrale. The square had filled with artists doing portraits.
Our guide continued a narrative as she led us to where the motor coaches were parked. She knew the short cut by the Maison de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame, so that we could peek into the herb garden.
Again through the Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait/Suckling Pig Market.
Past the Grande Boucherie/Slaughterhouse cum museum, and Ancienne Douane/Old Custom House.
Crossed the River Ill and walked to Place d’Austerlitz.
Then to Place de l'Étoile where the motor coaches awaited. After a quick drive back to the Viking Gullveig in Kehl, Germany, we were presented with macarons, those light little almond-flavored meringue cookies, a regional specialty.
|Stand for crêpes, gauffres/waffles, and churros!|
|Churros and gauffres|
|#2 rue Mercière|
|View up rue Mercière of Cathédrale Notre-Dame|
de Strasbourg/Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg
|Central portal with rose window|
|Cathedral tower with a sign showing|
the spire crowned with a Phrygian cap
|Looking up at the tower (KSS)|
|The north tower (without a spire) is the one|
you can climb up for a view
|The devil disguised as the Tempter of Virgins|
(yet snakes and toads crawl out from his back)
Place de la Cathédrale.
|Pharmacie du Cerf/Hirsch Chemist/pharmacy (1567)|
(ground floor 1467, upper floors 1589)
finest old burgher house in Strasbourg
(note the bomb on the right edge near the hotel name)
|Hôtel Cathédrale bomb|
|Strasbourg Cathedral suspended organ (Viking)|
|Palais Roban (1728- 1742)|
now houses three museums
|Maison de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame/House of the Works of Our Lady|
(East wing 1347, west wing 1579-1585)
|Rue du Maroquin|
|Fountain ash tray|
|Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait/|
Suckling Pig Market
|River Ill with swans|
|Église Saint-Thomas/Church of St Thomas|
|What to do with your yogurt containers|
|Kugelhopf/Bundt cake and Tarte flambée,|
looks like some kind of sweet bread in front
|Portrait artist at work|
(note the different levels of quality available)
|Charlie Chaplin living statue|
|Ancienne Douane/Old Custom House sign|
|"Le point de convergence" (2012, relief model of Strasbourg)|
designed by artist Raymond Waydelich and Egbert Broerken