Strasbourg beyond diplomacy

The French city of Strasbourg, located two miles from the German border, is no stranger to royal and presidential visits. A venue of diplomatic negotiations of global importance, Strasbourg is an oft-mentioned dateline.

It is considered one of the four capitals of the European Union — alongside Brussels, Luxembourg and Frankfurt — it being the base of several European organizations.

Half-timbered houses in the Old Town’s Petit France. | PHOTOGRAPH BY EDU JARQUE FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Strasbourg, two hours away from the capital Paris, is a walkable city with many overlooked destinations due to the focus on the consular dealings.

Here are the top five moments during our visit:

THE Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Most awesome: Cathedral of Notre-Dame

The apex of the Gothic architectural movement, it was the center point of its skyline through the 140-meter

140-meter-high steeple, unmatched until the 19th century. Let’s not forget the gilded main altar, intriguing naves, the butterfly-wings pulpit and the various stained

stained-glass windows that envelopes this house of prayer. A sight to behold is the astronomical clock, which keeps track of the time, day, week, month, year, current Sun sign, the phases of the moon and even the position of the different planets.


Most educational: The Strasbourg Historical Museum

The century-old showroom aims to showcase the political, social, cultural, historical, traditional and environmental backgrounds of how Strasbourg became the melting pot that it is today. Notable sights include chronicles of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his journeys, plus a plan-relief of the city in a 1:600 scale.

Most charming: Petit France

Strasbourg’s old town was the home of farmers, fishermen, millers and tanners by the Ill River during the Middle Ages. Today, this background reflects in the half-timbered homes that display the proud occupations of present-day residing family ancestors. These pastel-colored abodes laid upon cobblestoned streets, plus the various well-aged buildings of significance all contribute for it to be a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site proclamation.


Most talked-about:
The Kammerzell House

Many consider the Kammerzell House as the most ornate, due to its well-preserved Gothic influences, interspersed with Biblical, Greek and Roman themes. The interiors boast intricate frescoes by Alsatian painter Léo Schnug. At its restaurant, we likewise tried out local delicacies such as Tart Flambé, a pizza derivative, topped with cheese, onion and bacon.

The Alsatian Stork. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Marcelo Schlindwein/CREATIVE COMMONS

Most surprising: Alsatian storks

We would clearly notice the storied avian fly about the perimeter. We soon learned that they would set up their very own permanent nests in trees, towers and chimneys. Another tidbit: They have the same mate for life! Now considered as a symbol of good luck, we were reminded of childhood tales and cartoons wherein gigantic storks carried smiling babes wrapped in sheets on their signature beaks and ferry them to their mothers-in-waiting.

These are my five magical postcards. What’s yours?

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