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Friday, 13 September 2013

Place de la République, Place Kléber, L'Homme de Fer, et La Petite France!

I went on a scavenger hunt on my third day here in Strasbourg, France, but I was not in the best of moods. I was still getting used to France, and I was really struggling with not having a working phone. After the wine and cheese testing you saw, or can see, in my last post, I re-walked the tour around the city and took these photos!

Our first stop is the National Theatre of Strasbourg. Located at La Place de la République, I did not have a chance to go inside, but it was one of many beautiful buildings with a lot of history in Strasbourg.

Up next, a couple of photos outlining my poor attempts at capturing the Palace of Justice on film. It was a sunny day and I did my best to shelter my photos from it, but alas, I am not a skilled photographer. Also, I'm no architect, but I really enjoyed the exterior design of this building. It is a grand design, and you can see the detail and work put into it.

Next up, is the opera house, in which I hope to visit sometime soon, but who cares?

I am not sure what the buildings were across the street from the opera house, but I thought they looked very interesting.

Another view of the opera house, with 6 of the 9 muses watching over, no one seemed to know what happened to the other 3.

Up next, on your left, is the town hall.

Across from the town hall is a little restaurant, La Marseillaise, which commemorates the song by the same name. La Marseillaise is the national anthem of France, first written and performed right here in Strasbourg, at the town hall.

A typical Strasbourg street
The next few photos are of Kléber place, and I must say that I am a little disappointed in how they looked. While the place itself is a large square, full of bustling activity and beautifully non-uniform architecture, my pictures seem to convey nothing more than an empty lot. But, I hope you enjoy them, perhaps I am just overly critical here.
Besides, the history of the region more than makes up for it. The building above and below is the Aubette. Formerly, a military fort where orders were given ceremonially at dawn, it is now a shopping centre. Dawn in French is l'aube, so that's why it's called the Aubette or l'Aubette. I tried to take some photos inside but a very nice security guard asked that I not.

Perpetually overseeing Kléber place is Jean Baptiste Kléber, a French general from the Revolutionary Wars in the 18th century. Interestingly enough, his remains have moved back and forth a few times through history between Strasbourg and Marseille but now rest under the statue. (I didn't know this at the time, but it is interesting)

Due to the historical significance of the site, Kléber Place was actually named a UNESCO world heritage city in 1988.
 Showing you the mélange of architecture, along with the Cathedral sneaking a peek in the background.

Up next is, place de l'homme de fer, or Iron Man Place. Yeah, the name made me smile, but as I took a look around, I found this statue, of the man overseeing this place. It was not Robert Downey Jr., but still cool.

L'Homme de Fer is the central tram station of Strasbourg. There are 5 light trains, called trams, which cross all over the city, but the central station is here. L'Homme de Fer was the first station in Strasbourg, and it is named this because when the workers were clearing and preparing the area for the building of the station, they found the remains of a soldier, in his suit of iron. There are several such artifacts found all around Strasbourg.

This is a really great area for getting to know the more commercial side of Strasbourg. In every direction, there are shops, stores, and restaurants. I enjoy just walking along, taking a look at the various bookstores, and just enjoying the multitude of people running around.

Leaving the city centre, and taking a short walk, one finds themselves on the route de la Cathédrale (pronounced cat-a-dral for those interested). This route, actually heading away from the Cathedral, is still full of shops, but the buildings look a little more anachronistic as we journey to La Petite France.
Architectural features like this are everywhere, commonplace in Strasbourg, and I love that!
As you can tell by the prevalence of umbrellas in the last photo, it started to rain on my walk, so some of these next few photos may have lost some of their brilliance.

I know this and the next photo are dark, but I have no photo-editing software on my computer so I couldn't even brighten it. You may, and again, sorry that they're so dark.

Next week, we have a boat tour scheduled which will take us all around Strasbourg, including along this area.

This is one of the quietest, prettiest parts of the city. The artist there, didn't get his name last time I was there, but I'll go back, is really nice. When we did the scavenger hunt, he was really nice and spoke with us for some time about the local colour and history. When I went back on my own walkaround, he was still there, and I took a look at his paintings. They were very nice and captured the area exceptionally well.
I think everyone should take the chance to look down once in a while, you may see a rainbow on the ground!

Because of the rain, the restaurants in this area were closing up shop. Normally, they have a patio to the left and right, with menus displaying local, Alsatian cuisine. I want to go back and eat there as the food looks really good! Check out this webpage as it describes the food in mouth-watering detail!

Also, while walking here, I overheard a group of people behind me who had stopped and were talking in German. Turns out they were talking about the historical significance of this area. I don't know German, but I saw them looking and pointing at the same things pointed out to me on my tour so I stood there and absorbed the mix of French and German which is so inherent to this city.

 Crossing the St. Martin bridge...

That one restaurant looks really fancy and I think it would be neat to eat there, right on the water.

Anyway, that's about it, for now. I really enjoy this city. It's small, full of history, culture, and a nice mix of old and new. I look forward to many more adventures and I think this is a city with plenty to discover.

...this! (Stay tuned for this marvel, as I'll likely explore it next week)

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