Fountains and Lights in Strasbourg
Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
182Trip End Aug 02, 2013
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We headed in to town and got off at the tram stop near the cathedral. We went in for a quick visit, but they were closing shortly afterwards so we decided to go back for a longer stop later. Our pass gave us entry in to the Astrological Clock showing at 12:30 in the cathedral so we waited by the gates until they let us in. The clock is 18 m tall and was built between 1838 and 1843.
We followed the recommendation in Let’s Go which is always good for more budget options for eating out and wandered down a cute street right beside the cathedral. We liked the "plats du jour" at "Le vieux Strasbourg" and sat down at one of the tables outside. For lunch, Anoop had “choucroute garni”, hot sauerkraut with different cuts of meat on top and potatoes which is a specialty of the region. I had the “bouchées de la reine” which were small pieces of chicken in a mushroom cream sauce with noodles and a flaky butter pastry.
We then headed back to the cathedral to take photos and admire the stained glass and amazing organ. It was also a bit emptier so we were able to get some more photos of the clock. Afterwards, we walked down along the river bank to “Petite France” which was a very cute area with lots of half-timbered houses.
The next day, we headed back in to town so that we could take advantage of the other things in our pass booklet. We headed to the Batorama pier first because we got a free 1 ¼ hour tour down the river on the boat with an audioguide to explain what we were seeing. Normally we wouldn’t head to this sort of thing, but since it was included, we decided to check it out. We arrived at lunch time for the 12:30 trip and had the whole aisle to ourselves as well as no one in front or behind us for several rows. It was definitely a good time to go for a tour! One commentary that particularly stuck in our mind as we passed a building was that there had been a fire and everyone had to climb out the window and leap to safety below. Unfortunately, a monk got stuck climbing out and about 25 others were left stuck in the building. We quite enjoyed the ride and felt it was a nice relaxing way to start the day. Afterwards, we headed up the cathedral tower for an incredible view from the top.
Also as part of our pass, we got free admission to one of Strasbourg’s museums. We were deciding between two of them and Anoop went with the Lonely Planet recommendation for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art rather than the Palais Rohan display of rich furnishings and decorative pieces. We were lured by the description of Picasso, Monet and Renoir and since we quite enjoy their work, thought that it might be interesting to visit. The top floor reminded us of why we don’t like contemporary art. As we were baffled by many of the items on display, including a large wall size canvas that was painted entirely the same shade of brown, we finished the top floor in no time flat. Deciding that we did have time for a café after all, we headed out to the rooftop terrace for a great view of the tower bridge and the Vauban dam from the other side (this time not covered up) as well as the cathedral in the background. We enjoyed a café au lait in the sun and admired the view.
We headed back to “Petite France” to look for a tarte flambée since Anoop had only sampled mine the other day. Instead, we were pleased to find our first “menu” for a reasonable price. Our “menu” was a 3 course dinner with lots of choice for each course. Since the restaurant wasn’t open yet, we headed over to take some more photos and to call Anne to say hi. Once it opened, we sat in the lower part in a glassed in terrace on the water. It was on the back part of the water, not the touristy part, so the prices seemed more reasonable than across the street. First we had ½ tarte flambée each which was delicious. It was followed by “confit de canard” which is a leg of duck which has been left in a salted brine and then cooked. It was served with a stuffed tomato, side salad, potatoes with a mild sour cream and sauerkraut on the side. For dessert, Anoop had a “fondant au chocolat”, a soft-centered brownie with a runny custard sauce and two huge helpings of whipped cream.
We finished up around 8:30 and decided to walk over to the “Place des étoiles” where there was a light, fountain & musical show at 10:00. Apparently, Strasbourg does this every year and it is much anticipated. This year, they had done a history theme with Strasbourg over time, all done through different genres of music. We found a spot along the riverbank and sat along the stone wall to wait. It definitely got more crowded as 10:00 approached. We had no idea what to expect and were definitely wowed once it started. The display was incredible – I’ve never seen anything like it. They projected various images up on to the side of the building as they progressed through the history. As this is being projected, music is playing and the fountains are spurting up in time to the music, along with various lights. They would also make a fine mist and project scenes on to that which was really amazing to watch. There were fireworks and everything. The whole show was 25 minutes long and we couldn’t believe how fabulous it was – definitely a highlight so far!
We then walked back to the cathedral because they were having a sound and light show there as well. It was about 15 minutes long and they projected different coloured lights on to the side of the cathedral in time to music. Everyone stood in the street in front of the cathedral to watch. The colours were quite impressive and it was great when they lit the stained glass window from behind because they colours really stood out.