Thursday 26th September
Address: 16 Rue des Serruriers, Strasbourg
We made it Strasbourg without any hiccups. I’d been worried given our two train journeys had only 9 min between them for us to unload bags, find the next train and load up again. One lady on the train comforted me though by saying 9 minutes is luxury. A connection of hers earlier that morning only allowed 3 minutes!
There was a short tram trip after the train arrived at Strasbourg but even that went smoothly and we arrived to the apartment at 12.45 pm, our scheduled time. Strasbourg’s altstadt is very pretty and we are located right in the center, on the Grande Isle, and just a few minutes walk from the Cathedral. The map below shows the geography of the city and location of our apartment.
We didn’t waste any time though as I was aware there was a 2.30 pm walking tour so we headed straight out to have a quick lunch and pick up the tour. Our tour was to start from near the Cathedral and so we selected Au Vieux Strasbourg as this was just one of the many cafes nearby. This was a quaint dining venue with lots of charm and lovely food as well.
Our guide for the two walking tour was Gabrielle and he led our group around the key sites of the town center and gave a good overview of the history of Strasbourg, a city that has fluctuated between German and French occupation but is now clearly French.
Some key facts picked up from the tour are below:
- Strasbourg: is a word of Latin origin and translates roughly to Castle on crossroad.
- Strasbourg Cathedral: took 424 years to build.
- The 6 th century church was wood and burned down.
- The second was made of wood and burned down as well.
- The third Cathedral as made in stone. The wooden pier foundation was started in 1015 and finished 1028. The Cathdral was finished in 1439.
- The Cathedral colour is due to iron in the sandstone giving the pink hue.
- Brief history timeline:
- In 1262 got rid of their Bishop. Became a democracy. Wrote constitution. Became a republic.
- In 1618 Louis 14th, the Sun King, took over city and so they became French.
- The Franco Prussian war was in 1870 and the French lost, in 7 months, thus the city became German.
- Good points of German occupation: The German empire was wealthy and invested a lot of money in building. They created area ‘New Town’: Palace of emperor signal. Parliament. palace of university. Kaiserplatz.
- Bad points of German occupation: Change of language. French forbidden.
- WWI: German lost war in 1918 and so city became French again. Kaiserplatz is now called ‘Square of French Republic’.
- WW2 1939. Annexed and became German.
- End of WW2. Germans’s lost so city became French again.
- Gutenberg: inventor of printing press, lived in Strasbourg from 1439 to 1444. There is a monument dedicated to him just near our apartment.