Saturday, June 21, 2008


This past weekend I spent in Strasbourg. It was about an hour and a half train ride away from Saarbrücken, in the region of Alsace. Strasbourg is a historically fascinating city. It has a well-preserved "old city" with many houses dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, and from there on you can really see the development of the city.

It became French in 1681 (under Louis XIV, the Sun King), and then slowly became more and more of a "French" city until the Germans annexed this region after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). So in the architecture you can see dramatically which buildings are "French" and which "German," i.e. which ones were built after 1870. There are honestly some streets I walked down that look exactly like streets in Saarbrücken. Really interesting. Then Strasbourg became French again after WWI, and was occupied by the Germans again during get the picture. And so today it's fitting that Strasbourg is one of the main symbols of Europe, and is also the site of the European Parliament.

And I have about 125 pictures, so this is very difficult to choose:
This was the house I stayed in. I stayed with the daughter of one of the teachers I work with. It was great to stay with someone who has been living here a long time (8 years), and I got to speak French all weekend!
Her house was old and really, really central (right on the river!). Below you can see the window in the room I stayed in. I couldn't get over princess-like!
This area is called "petite France" with some of the oldest houses in Strasbourg.
The street signs are all in two languages: the dialect (which is allemanish in origin, so closer to German), and French.
The impressive Cathedral, which was the tallest in Europe for 400 years, until the Cathedrals in Ulm and Cologne were finished.

cute, small little streets. (Dad, see the sign for foie gras on the left?)
I love the colors of the houses! So beautiful! My camera does not do it justice... This monument is to "nos morts", to those who died. The woman is holding two sons: one who died fighting for France, one who died fighting for Germany. In a region that changed nationalities three times within one lifetime, this was sadly a common occurance.
On Saturday I also rented a bike and biked to the Rhine and around the city a bit.

The European Parliament:

And you know I can't go to France without being amazed at their pastry capabilities:

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