As we settle into our new apartment in Strasbourg we realize that it is very different from our flat in Lyon. It’s nice, but smaller, and with not as much of a view … from the inside.
As soon as we walk out onto the pedestrian-only street we are in the bustling Petite-France old quarter. Medieval buildings of black and white timber-framed buildings line the streets and canals. Small alleys and side-streets lead to new places (plazas) filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants. So, we are beginning to get a feel for our neighborhood.
We are also dealing with a heat wave (highs 37-38+°C or 98-101°F) … and life without air conditioning. It seems to help that our apartment is in an old building. There is a stone in the wall with the date 1846. When we enter from the busy pedestrian street Grand rue, we walk through a long, dark, cool, narrow hallway, past an old well and hand-pump, up a flight of stairs, down a short hall to our front door.
The apartment stays pretty cool (relatively speaking) and quiet as there are no windows out to the street side, and the windows on the back of our U-shaped apartment face the half-timbered central courtyard. Our windows don’t get the direct sun, so we keep the shades closed, only open the windows at night (if it is cooler outside), close them in the morning, and keep moving our one little fan to whatever room we’re in.
Today we found one of the many open-air food markets. After two days of only eating restaurant food, it was time to plan some meals. In the last apartment we had a large kitchen, with good windows and a regular breeze (pre-heat wave). Now we have a petite kitchen and there is no way I’m turning on the oven in this heat! So our food purchases will require some assembly – like cleaning salad greens, cutting (pre-cooked) rotisserie chicken, slicing cheese, washing blueberries and cherries, oh, and opening the wine bottle (!), but nothing that really requires real cooking. Heck, I don’t even want to eat a warm meal sitting outside in the shade at a restaurant.
As we wandered and shopped this morning, we found a local cheese shop and made our first purchases. The woman who assisted us spoke a little English, so that is helpful. We told her we’ll be in Strasbourg for two months and will be frequent visitors to her shop. Across the street, is an Italian deli and we saw many types of fresh pastas and sauces so once we are ready to turn the stove on, we’ll be shopping there for quick simple meals.
Sadly, we’ve not yet seen a Picard, the gourmet frozen food store we found everywhere in Lyon. Very handy to have something in the freezer when we haven’t planned very well and most places are closed on Sunday and Monday. Guess I’ll need to find other alternatives … or plan better.
In spite of the heat, we have wandered our area quite a bit. We received a vast amount of materials from the tourist information center, and it looks like we will be able to stay very busy visiting new places near and just a little bit far while living in Strasbourg.
This is the 1000 year celebration (1015-2015)of the Strasbourg Cathedral, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, the second most-visited cathedral in France after Notre-Dame de Paris. It is an amazing structure with extensive, delicate carvings all over the exterior, and soaring, beautiful stained glass windows on the inside. At 142 metres (466 feet) in height, it was the world’s tallest building until 1874, and can be seen from far and wide. There are celebrations around the cathedral and throughout the city for the next month, which will provide Chris opportunities for more great photos to share.
So, for now let us share a few views in and around our new city…