Visit Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace region in northeastern France, where you’ll discover La Petite France, the unique historic quarter, and stroll through the Old Town with its half-timbered houses and distinctive Alsatian winstubs (similar to a neighborhood pub or café).
Enjoy a private concert at the Baroque Palace of Rastatt, one of the most magnificent historic venues in the region. It’ll be an evening of grandeur unlike any other, and a rare chance to collect memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Located on the Rhine, the German town of Kehl, directly opposite the French city of Strasbourg was first mentioned in 1038. In 1338 the first permanent bridge between Kehl and Strasbourg was completed. In 1678 the city was taken over by France, as it was considered to be part of the defense system of Strasbourg. Hence the village was transformed into a fortress in 1683 by the French architect Vauban. Throughout its history it changed from French to German jurisdiction due to political and/or military events. After WWII it was a suburb of Strasbourg and only returned to Germany in 1953.
The old town of the Strasbourg’s and most of its famous buildings are located on the Grand Île, surrounded by the Ill River. Occupied since it was a Celtic village, by Celts, Romans, Franks, Germans and French, the island was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.
The Scenic Opal arrived in Kehl about 6:00 in the morning. After breakfast we prepared for the bus to take us to Strasbourg for the city tour. Overcast again today but not yet raining. No I did not take the ship’s umbrella! Our fingers were crossed that it wouldn’t rain until we returned. Didn’t quite work out for us. After the walk to the Cathedral and a tour inside, we were back outside and it started to spit a bit as we walked to Petit France. By the time we started walking back to the main square, our meeting point, it was pouring rain and we had 30 minutes before our guide arrived to take us back to the bus. We found a couple of souvenir stores and then almost lost Karen when she stopped at a health food shop to pick up some Kombucha for upset stomachs.
Back on board we had a light lunch before going for showers. It was an early Port Talk and Dinner and afterwards we were off for a tour and private concert at Rastatt Palace which was amazing.
Cour du Corbeau (Raven Court) – across the river, 5 minutes from the cathedral is a half-timbered inn built in 1580. In 1884 the premises became glass workshops until 1982 when it was taken over by the municipality. In 2007 it was sold to investors and restored as a prestigious hotel.
The Old Customs House originally built in 1358, was progressively rebuilt over the centuries until it was damaged in a WWII air raid. It wasn’t until 1962 that the city decided to rebuild it along the original design.
The former Renaissance slaughterhouse, ideally located on the banks of the river Ill now houses the Musee de Historique de la Ville de Strasbourg.
Notre Dame Cathedral – Built of red Vosges sandstone, Strasbourg’s 11th–15th-century Cathedral of Notre-Dame, damaged in 1870 and again in World War II, has been carefully restored. It has an asymmetrical facade (mainly 13th century) with sculptured portals and only one tower, which has a tall (455 feet,139 metres) 15th-century spire. The first astronomical clock was built in the Cathedral between 1352–1354. The second, late 16th century clock was replaced by the 3rd clock, which we see today, in 1843. The clock shares many of the features of its predecessors – a rotating display of the current positions of the sun and moon, a planetary calendar, and even a mechanical rooster. Each day at around 12:30 (the solar noon of Strasbourg) the bird crows and a conga line of apostles issues forth from the clockworks, and passes before Christ.
The La Petite District of the city has several well-preserved old streets with half-timbered framed houses, as well as some picturesque canals. This area was, in the Middle Ages, home to the city’s tanners, millers and fishermen.
Rastatt Palace – Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm of Baden-Baden started building Rastatt palace in 1700 on the site of his former hunting lodge. Built in the style of the Palace of Versailles, his wife spent 20 years completing Rastatt Palace after his death in 1707.