Posts Tagged ‘Strasbourg’

Day trip to Strasbourg

Day 3 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

The Partner kindly agreed to produce the text for Strasbourg, after all, this being his honeymoon as well. I’ve added my own inputs, but you can tell when the paragraph exudes the Partner’s vibes, it’s where all the heavy history stuff appears….

Strasbourg is a lovely little city. We only had the afternoon to spend in Strasbourg after checking into our hotel, the Château de l’Ile, so we had to zoom to all the major tourist attractions in town. Did I mention that I love travelling in Spring? It only got dark around 9pm, so when I say afternoon, I really mean afternoon and evening, in the Singapore context. Smile

What to do in Strasbourg? Apart from Strasbourg being a pretty city at a comfortable size that doesn’t feel overwhelming, one good reason to visit Strasbourg is because Strasbourg is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. It sure sounds good to tell people you’ve been to such a powerful city.

Strasbourg (27)

If there’s nothing else that you see in Strasbourg, you must at least visit the Strasbourg Cathedral. The iconic Strasbourg Cathedral took nearly 300 years to complete, but once finished in 1439, it replaced the Great Pyramid of Giza to become the TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD at that time! It makes my hair stand to think of it even as I am typing this. I feel a sense of wonderment how a building of such great history can coexist with modern economic interests such as the European Union offices.

Strasbourg (20)

It’s times like these that I wonder what it would be like not to live in Singapore, which has such a short history of only 48 years of independence (about 200 years if you include our founding years), and despite our short history, we have already razed away a significant number of buildings that our parents would have been familiar with in their childhood.

Strasbourg (3)-tile

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Gourmet de l’Ile – Strasbourg

Day 3 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

Restaurant Gourmet de l'Ile - (2)

Day 3 – We were generously invited to dinner during our stay at Château de l’Ile & Spa in the Strasbourg/Ostwald region. Château de l’Ile has 2 restaurants. The Restaurant "Winstub de l’Ile " has all the charm of an Alsace brasserie with its typical welcoming decor: traditional benches, solid rustic chairs, decorated ceiling, and tinted windows. You can enjoy regional dishes at this restaurant.

The other restaurant, which we eventually chose as our dining venue for the evening was Restaurant "Gourmet de l’Ile". It is decked out to look like a 19th century bourgeoisie house and serves fine dining French cuisine.

We perused the menu and concluded that the Tasting menu at 74 Euros was the most value for money, yes even though 74 Euros doesn’t sound cheap on its own. The starters were already above 20 euros while the main courses were above 30 euros, so it made very good sense to get the Tasting menu, even if we had to take 3 hours to finish the meal!

Restaurant Gourmet de l'Ile - Lentil soup with bacon

Lentil soup with bacon

As with all fine dining, you always get more than what you’ve ordered! There will be “surprises”, more “surprises”, “mouth washers” literally, and chocolates after desserts! Don’t be planning to go home early when you dine at a fine dining restaurant! This here was the appetiser of lentil puree soup with a stick of bacon in it. It was an amazing starter as the graininess of the lentils and smokiness of the bacon really gelled together very well, kick starting the whole meal.

Restaurant Gourmet de l'Ile - Pan-Fried Foie Gras, butter muesli, apple compote & Caramel (2)

Pan-Fried Foie Gras, butter muesli, apple compote & Caramel 27 Euros

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Château de l’Ile & Spa – Strasbourg

Day 3 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

After our train arrived at Strasbourg, we went to the Hertz car rental company to collect the car we had rented for our trip through the Alsace region, Burgundy and Lyon. Driving in a foreign country is always a slightly jittery affair although it has become much better a few years ago after we acquired our own GPS. There’s no way I would drive around holding paper maps anymore, it’s just too cumbersome when you know that a GPS can make life so easy.

The most jittery part about driving in France of course is that people drive on the right side of the road, ie the wrong side. I’ll admit that the 1st half an hour was quite harrowing, not helped by the fact that the French roads are not marked clearly like in Singapore or New Zealand. But you do get used to driving on the right side after a while and we were like a duck to water the next day. Interestingly, it’s quite easy to remember that you have to drive on the right. You remind yourself before you start each journey, the GPS unit can be programmed to remind you too. When you reach a turning junction, repeat the mantra “Drive on the right”!

Even though it is not cheap to rent a car, I really wanted to drive in France because I wanted to be able to visit the countryside easily. With trains, you’re mostly stuck with cities and towns. Also, I wanted to be able to stay in the chateaus or countryside manors in France, and there’s just no way that the chateaus (chateaux) are going to be in the middle of town.

façade

Lovely blue sky day at Chateau de L’Ile… picture courtesy of the hotel

Was very happy with the decision I made when we arrived at our first Chateau of our holiday in France. This 19th Century castle is ideally situated within a tree-lined bend in the Ill River, only 5 kilometres from Strasbourg, and 6 kilometres from the airport. With its half-timbered style and flowery balconies, it reflects traditional Alsatian architecture and is ideally suited for leisure or business tourism. Strasbourg by the way, is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Strasbourg is definitely a must visit city when you are in the Alsace region! More pictures on Strasbourg in my next post.

Château de l'Ile - Strasbourg (7)

Before we even got into the hotel itself, we were already mesmerised by the pretty flowering trees in the carpark!

Château de l'Ile - Strasbourg (50)

Nice touches like this always perks me up. Thank you Mr Bernard Urbain, I did have a very pleasant stay in Alsace.

Château de l'Ile - Strasbourg (47)

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Train from Luxembourg to Strasbourg

Day 3 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

After 2 days in Luxembourg, we had to tear our thoughts away from Luxembourg and move ahead with the rest of our trip. How I wish we had more time to spend in Luxembourg. The city is so compact and pretty. Luxembourg city isn’t huge like London or Paris, and it certainly doesn’t have the grand imposing palatial buildings celebrating past glories, but Luxembourg exudes quiet charm in its own special way. I have a bad habit of dwelling too much on what has past. I feel melancholic that it’s over, and I need quite some effort to remind myself that the rest of the trip awaits me, and that it could actually quite possibly be even more exciting!

So, to get to my next destination, which was to be Strasbourg, we had to take the TGV again. Unlike the train from Paris to Luxembourg, this train reminded me very much of Harry Potter!

Train from Luxembourg to Strasbourg (3)

I’ve taken a few train rides during my travels in Europe, eg London to Bath and Bristol, Norway’s Flam to Oslo, but I’ve never actually been in a train where I have my own cabin! Tell me it’s not like how you envision the Famous Five from Enid Blyton to have travelled during their time?? I was so excited to be in a quaint cabin like this I took many photos, hopping in and out of the train as well!

Train from Luxembourg to Strasbourg (7)

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