La vie en rose. A saying that expresses exactly how everyone feels in Strasbourg, a small city in Alsacia, France. Or you can say ‘la vie en rosé’. It would also describe perfectly every French person having lunch at a chic terrace on the narrow streets of the city. Because being relaxed and enjoying life is the state of mind that is dominating the town and it spreads to the tourists too.
The title of this post is not chosen randomly, it has a special meaning. Exactly one year ago, me and Victor said ‘I do’ and had our first dance on this song, just an acoustic english version of it (you can be mesmerised by it listening here). So we thought the celebration of our paper wedding couldn’t be in a better place than France, for a 3 day weekend in Strasbourg.
I’m afraid that whatever I will say or show about the city, it would not make it justice enough, as the feeling Strasbourg left upon us is one of pure joy and happiness. Almost not wanting to leave after the 3 days and making us think what it could be if we would move there. Either if we were just having a walk through the old part of the town, having a croissant along with a cappuccino at a small ‘boulangerie’ or just listening to French people speak in their cute language, we felt like smiling constantly. So I’m just going to show a few of our favourite places and convince you to go see it, because it is worthy.
La Petite France
La Petite France represents the historical part of the town and probably the heart of Strasbourg. Across the river Ill, the chic colourful houses resemble the German style because of the city being occupied either by Germany or France several times.
This part of Strasbourg is preserving the history through the facades and paintings on the houses walls, that almost all of them have a restaurant or pastry on the main floor. This area is the most crowded in the city at all times. We tried to sneak some pictures without many people around, but no matter the time we went there we were unlucky. So, photograph amateurs, I’m afraid that those picture perfect shots will have many people in them. Also, if you want to eat at one of the terraces near the water, a reservation would be needed as they were full at any hour.
Street 3 Ponts Courverts
This street also shows the exact atmosphere of Strasbourg, as it also hosts some of the most beautiful views. From the bridge on 3 Ponts Courverts you can see how the river goes through the Vauban dam on one side and on the other the emblematic (and the most Instagrammable) house covered in flowers in the city.
Near the street there is a park where not only university students but also older people like to sit by the water with a drink in their hands, with no worries in the world. Also in the same park, a few restaurants under the shadow of the trees can make of your lunch or dinner a very relaxing experience. With a creme brulee desert and a glass of bordeaux on the side, well that’s a good life. Did I paint the picture good? I’ll just let some show it.
Boat tour on the river Ill
We are the kind of travellers that don’t usually do touristy things when we are visiting a new place. Staying in long lines to visit museums or going to the most crowded places that require reservation in advance somehow makes us feel we are loosing the essence of the place. We like to explore a lot by just walking, even in the areas that are not popular, eating the local food, talking to local people and understanding how is the life lived there.
So, a boat trip in Strasbourg would not really match this description, due to the long lines and an online reservation, but we thought it would enable us see more of the city. We gave in and became true tourists. And I can say it was a really nice experience to have, as it was different than other boat tours in other cities (like Amsterdam). It took just an hour and 15 minutes and we got the chance to see both the old and the new parts of Strasbourg. We even got through La Petit France, where we used for the first time a boat lock. Also cool to see was the European Council, built in a very modern way, opposite style of the rest of the Alsatian buildings. I’ll let the pictures make the point.
If you want to book a boat tour, you can find tickets here.
Food and restaurants
Omg, I could eat and be tipsy all day long in Strasbourg. Pastry? Amazing. Local deserts? To lick your fingers. French wine? White, rose and even red if I’m courageous, bring it on. Well, only escargot I could not eat, but everyone has his own preferences, right?
Me and Victor like eating out. We like to try new food, to take as much time as we need, to make it a celebration and a chance for long talks almost every time. And it seems that the French people are the same because their terraces seem to be made around a romantic atmosphere. Sometimes, people singing to violins would be on the streets and other times the running river water would be heard as white noise. Nobody hurries you to finish fast or leave your table, everybody is smiling and makes wine recommendations (did I tell you I like wine?).
Since we arrived in France I had croissants in my mind, but I don’t know how I didn’t manage to find one until the second morning there, at breakfast. And up from that moment, I think I had croissants with every chance I had. Also bretzels, pan au chocolat, brioches, lemon meringue and macarons (did I also tell the pastry is to die for?). I didn’t even care if I get fat, it was all worthy. Magnifique.
From the savoury food, their tarte flambee is the French pizza. Less heavy, but same as tasty. The traditional one is basically a very thin focaccia along with ham, bacon and some cheese. Yum! Also very good are their perches, either with fish (mostly pike) or with few types of meat. We found that prices were a bit high from what we are used to in Europe, but we kind of knew that France is expensive. A meal would be 15-20 euros, a dessert around 7-8 euros and a small glass of wine around 3-4 euros. Count two people in and is not that cheap. I would not recommend a specific restaurant, as all that I saw seemed worthy, so if you are in Strasbourg, I think any restaurant will meet your needs.
Exploring the city
I tried to pin point a few places that are worth to see in Strasbourg, but I realised that there are so many showing the chic side of the city, that basically the whole town becomes an attraction. Every street you would go, something cute would pop up or a good place to relax by the water would make you stop at it. I cannot chose one favourite place. Strasbourg is my favourite place. So I will let you with some other shots from our exploring part of our weekend.
I hope our short trip and these pictures convinced you to go see Strasbourg at least once, because it truly shows what ‘la vie en rose’ really means. We came back from this trip with a changed perspective and a lot more happy and zen. So if this city did that for us, for sure it will do it for you too 🙂
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