Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Awesome Gingerbreads and Beauty of Strasbourg

Ile River flowing through Strasbourg

Food lovers, I am sure you have tasted so many delicious things in life, but when it comes to Gingerbread, you have travel far literally to get the best bite! Frankly, I was not even aware that such a thing exists in Strasbourg, in France till I arrived there. Before we take a bite for an out of the world experience, I would like to tell about the beautiful place Strasbourg.
Gare Du Strasbourg- Station
Our generous host at Basel had arranged the Basel Pass for us that facilitated the travel within the city. On the previous evening, I had read that The Church of Notre Dame at Strasbourg has an Old Astronomical Clock which can be seen in action every morning at 12 O' clock by arranging a pass in advance from the Presbytere( Clergy) at the Church. So, I dropped in the mail before boarding the train from SBB station at Basel. The next halt about 10 minutes later was St Louis a border town between France and Switzerland. A pretty little station where another SNCF( French Railways) train awaited on the other side of the platform left sharp at 10:28 AM. It went past the gorgeous scenic views and small train stations of Mulhouse Ville, Colmar and Selestat before arriving at the sprawling station of Gare de Strasbourg. As we stepped outside, we were impressed by the glass dome that encapsulated the train station. The city is the official seat of European Parliament and an important town of the historic region of Alsace. It was a warm day as we strolled out in the direction of The Church of Notre Dame( or Cathedral of Our city of Strasbourg), following the signs from the station.
Cathedral of Our City of Strasbourg
The busy streets were crowded and overflowing with tourists, due to a long weekend. The aroma from coffee shops was overpowering and filled the air. We then sighted the huge Gothic structure of the cathedral also called as Strasbourg Munster. In the words of Victor Hugo, it is a 'gigantic and delicate marvel'. At 142m the bell tower surmounted with a spire was the tallest structure in the world for 227 years from 1647 to 1874. The milling crowds around the building and overflowing coffee and curio shops around the square were an indication of its popularity. As the doors opened, we made way inside the huge portal and were struck by its magnificence and beauty. The cathedral was struck with American and British bombs on 11 Aug 1944 as the WW2 drew to a close, inflicting heavy damage to it and close by structures. The stained glass windows, artistic work on pillars, tapestries ornate decor and the Astronomical Clock are spellbinding beauty.
The Astronomical Clock inside the Cathedral
The Astronomical Clock dates from 1843 and has a perpetual calendar, a planetary dial, that displays the positions of the Sun, the Moon and eclipses. The main attraction is the procession of 18 figures of the Christ and apostles every day at mid-noon.

The Palais Rohan, the former residence of the prince- bishops and cardinals is at a short distance from the cathedral. It reflects the long history of the place and is a cultural landmark.
Petite France
The city is strewn with delightful places, structures and churches. Petit France, also known as Tanner's Quarters (Quartier des Tanners) is a very popular World Heritage Site of the Old Town. It is situated on the Rue Grand Ile-a quaint picturesque neighbourhood with canals crisscrossing, narrow stone-cobbled streets, medieval buildings and cute charming bridges.
The beautiful canals in Petit France
It was once home to Tanners workshops, millers and fishermen. It smelled of dirt and grime and was an ugly place. Today, there are several swanky restaurants, that serve Alsatian cuisines. Two prominent churches in this area are Saint Thomas and Saint Pierre Le Vieux Church.
Pain 'D'Epices- Mirelle Oster- A world class bakery

Pain 'D'Epices- Mirelle Oster
Just as you come to Rue des Dentelles, the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread accosts you. Right in front is Pain'D'Epices, Mireille Oster, the famous bakery that is not to be missed. The gingerbread baked here takes to another level as the blended butter, anise, cinnamon, honey and other spices added in the gingerbread melt in the mouth leaving a lingering flavour of spices long after they are gone.
The beautiful city-Strasbourg
A walk past Grand Ile an island in the middle of the city centre, a world heritage site and Place Kleber the huge square filled with cafes and shops on way back to the station brought a very rewarding day to an end. It was interesting to find graffiti adorning the wall with  a caricature of Lord Ganesh
A Graffiti on the wall of Strasbourg
We boarded the train back for the return journey and enjoyed the French countryside as it flashed past till we could sight the twinkling lights of Basel. There was still so much more to see but the time run out, Sigh!!

PS: 1. All pictures were taken by me.
2. Next week I will continue with the Tour of Europe with a new destination


  1. Strasbourg does look very pretty - with those building and those rivers and canals. The cathedral looks very impressive too.

    Were you able to take back some gingerbread?

  2. Indeed a beautiful city it is,Divya. The Cathedral is bigger than the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris,that was unfortunately burnt in recent fire. I did take back gingerbreads from Strasbourg :)