A very nice mid sized museum featuring daily life’s items from the 18th and 19th centuries : furnitures, costumes, cooking gear, tools, religious items, toys…all very well presented.
The Musee Alsacien has been nicely renovated for it’s 100th birhday (end 2006) and occupies now 3 old (linked) pretty houses along the Ill.
Address : 23-25, quai Saint-Nicolas - 67000 Strasbourg
Open Wednesday to Monday, from 12h to 18h (10h to 18h on sundays)
Entrance : free
This whole area of France, Alsace and Lorraine, was occupied by Germany from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 to the end of the First World War in 1918.
The Germans built numerous buildings during this period, so it you are interested in German imperial architecture (also Jugendstil or Art Nouveau) you can find a lot of it in Strasbourg. They sometimes offer walking tours with explanations of the various buildings.
The one in the first photo is in Rue du General Rapp. It was built by a German architect and contractor named Franz Scheyder, whose name is still chiseled in stone at the front of the building.
Second photo: Buildings in the Rue Sellenick.
Third photo: There is still some evidence of Jewish life in this neighborhood, such as this Jewish butcher shop.
I was surprised to find stuck on a wall of the Quai de la Petite France, the sticker shown on the first photo and did not understand at first what it meant.
Later, close to the Ponts Couverts, I found what is shown on the second and third photos. Six containers of the type used for cargo transport were fitted together and used for a temporary décor with landscapes posters affixed on them. Why not? Anyway, that can be easily removed!
On one of our tramways trips, we arrived on the Place des Halles and we saw this amazing street climber. Clever, isn't it? Would you do it? Actually, it was not a real climber but a figure that had been fixed on the structure standing in the middle of the square!!
Modern translation in French
"Pour l'amour de Dieu et pour le salut peuple chrétien et notre salut à tous deux, à partir de ce jour dorénavant, autant que Dieu m'en donnera savoir et pouvoir, je secourrai ce mien frère, comme on doit selon l'équité secourir son frère, à condition qu'il en fasse autant pour moi, et je n'entrerai avec Lothaire en aucun arrangement qui, de ma volonté, puisse lui être dommageable."
Si Louis tient le serment qu’il a juré à son frère Charles, et que Charles, mon seigneur, de son côté n’observe pas le sien, au cas où je ne l’en pourrais détourner, je ne lui prêterai en cela aucun appui, ni moi ni nul que j’en pourrais détourner.
Modern translation in English
For the love of God and Christendom, and for our common safety, from this day forth, as much as God shall give me knowledge and power, I will protect my brother Charles, here present, and will aid him in everything, as a man in justice has to protect his brother, in which he would do the same for me; and I will make with Lothaire no comtract, which of my own free will can injure my brother Charles, here present.
If Louis abides the oath he sweared to his brother Charles, and that Charles, my Lord, on his side does not abides his own, if I cannot divert him, I will not give him any help, neither myself nor anybody that I might divert from it.
Original text in Roman
"Pro Deo amur et pro christian poblo et nostro commun salvament, d'ist di in avant, in quant Deus savir et podir me dunat, si salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo et in aiudha et in cadhuna cosa, si cum om per dreit son fradra salvar dift, in o quid il mi altresi fazet et ab Ludher nul plaid nunquam prindrai, qui, meon vol, cist meon fradre Karle in damno sit".
Si Lodhuuigs sagrament, que son fradre Karlo iurat, conseruat, et Karlus meos sendra de suo part non lo suon tanit, si io returnar non l’int pois, ne io ne neüls cui eo returnar int pois, in nulla aiudha conra Lodhuuig non li iu er.
Original text in Tudesc
"In Godes minna ind in thes christianes folches ind unser bedhero gehaltnissi, fon thesemo dage frammordes, so fram so mir Got geuuizci indi mahd furgibit, so haldih thesan minan bruodher, soss man mit rehtu sinan bruher scal, in thiu thaz er mig so sama duo, indi mit Ludheren in nohheiniu thing ne gegango, the, minan uuillon, imo ce scadhen uuerdhen".
"Oba Karl then eid then er sinemo bruodher Ludhuuuige gesuor geleistit, indi Ludhuuuig, min herro, then er imo gesuor forbrihchit, ob ih inan es iruuenden ne mag, noh ih noh thero nohhein, then ih es iruuenden mag, uuidhar Karle imo ce follusti ne uuirdhit".
Sorry, too lonng, I have to put the ttranslations in another tip!
There are three universities in Strasbourg, all in the same area around Rue de l'Université. Together they form the Pôle Universitaire Européen or European University Center, with more than 45,000 students including some 6000 foreigners.
Since all French universities are usually called by their initials, you will hear students in Strasbourg talking about the U.L.P., the U.M.B. and the U.R.S., and of course they will assume that you know what these initials stand for.
The U.L.P is the Université Louis Pasteur or Strasbourg I. This is a science and medical school which does a lot of advanced research.
The U.M.B. is the Université Marc Bloch or Strasbourg II, which has faculties for various Arts and Sciences, and offers courses in 25 foreign languages.
The U.R.S. is the Université Robert Schuman or Strasbourg III, which specializes in International and European Law.
It's an easy one-hour bicycle ride from Strasbourg to the museum "The Secrets of Chocolate" in Geispolsheim. There you can learn all about the history of chocolate and how it is made from cacao beans. Admission is EUR 8.00 for adults, which is perhaps a bit steep for such a small museum, but no true chocolate lover will be deterred by the price.
There is a short film at the beginning, in a choice of languages, and then as you walk through the museum there are numerous text panels in French, German and English.
Second photo: In some of the historical exhibits there are life-sized figures that move, slightly, with electric motors. This is perhaps a bit corny, but it does make them seem more alive than they might otherwise. This lady is supposed to be a Spanish aristocrat drinking hot chocolate in the 16th century. Her hand with the cup in it moves up and down as though she were drinking.
Third photo: These cupboards contain all sorts of historical items connected with chocolate, and in the next room there are text panels explaining that chocolate is good for you, reduces your cholesterol level, etc., and also that it might be an aphrodisiac, at least Casanova thought so, and he ought to know.
Fourth photo: At the end there is a live demonstration of how hollow Easter bunnies and other such hollow figures are made out of chocolate. I won't explain it here because it's a secret, but I must admit I didn't know it before.
Fifth photo: The best way to cycle to the museum (not the shortest way, but the easiest and most pleasant) is to follow along this cycling path by the Rhine-Rhone Canal for about six kilometers, then turn right on a street called Rue des Vignes, then left on Route de Lyon, cross the Toll Bridge (it isn't a toll bridge any more, it's just called that), and then right into the Street of the Toll Bridge, the Rue du Pont du Péage. It helps to have a good cycling map, such as the free ones you get when you rent a bike.
Anyone living in France or Germany can watch the television channel Arte in the local language. It tends to bring ambitious, cultural programming so it does not have huge viewing quotas, but it can be very good, and they often have theme evenings with several films or discussions about the same topic.
They also do live opera broadcasts sometimes.
The studios are located here because Strasbourg is in France but is very close to the German border, which at this point is formed by the Rhine River about ten kilometers away.
Johannes Gensfleisch, aka Gutenberg was born in Mayence (Germany) between 1394 and 1399 and came in Strasbourg around 1434.
It is here that he, in collaboration with the local goldsmith Andreas Dritzehn, did his firsts experiments with mobile characters printing : At this time, the existing technic was to engrave the complete page on a plate before printing, the new technique allowed to reuse the individual characters and thus to create a more economical solution to print books.
He went back to Mayence around 1448 where he got associated with Peter Schoeffer (who elaborated the precise kind of metal to use and perfected the way to create the characters) and Johannes Fust (the money lender)
Their fisrt production : the 42 lines Bible was printed between 1450 and 1456.
Gutenberg died in 1468 in Mayence. Despite being born and dead there, he is considered an honorary citizen in Strasbourg, beside the statue standing on a place named after him, one of the biggest high school in town perpetuates his name.
It is impossible to properly estimate Gutenberg influence in our world, but "enormous" seems correct.
The weblink below refers to a project he would certainly have suported : the Project Gutenberg aims to offer free electronic books (eBooks or etexts) on the Internet. The collection of more than 15.000 eBooks was produced by hundreds of volunteers. Most of the Project Gutenberg eBooks are older literary works that are in the public domain.
After the 1870/71 Franco-German war, Alsace became a Reichland (german province) with Strasbourg as a capital.
The Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered a new area to be built north/east of the existing city : this quarter sill exists, barely modified : the german quarter, with its typically 'prussian' architecture.
He wanted to impress the locals (and to have a "nice little coutryhouse" in his new domain) and so ordered this 'Palais du Rhin'.
From the eastethic point of view, it seems that he missed one fine point (or more) : the Strasburgers weren't impressed at all but found the building rather ridiculous and nicknamed it " die Elephantenstall" (the elephants' stable).
This large and pompous edifice, situated Place de la Republique, hosts now the Central Commission for the Navigation on the Rhine wich is in charge of ensuring the safety and the prosperity of the navigation on the Rhine.
It's wide vestibule is often used to showcase modern art exhibitions.
Address : Palais du Rhin
2, place de la République
67082 STRASBOURG Cedex
Situated in the middle of the Place de la Republique's square , the WW (1 & 2) memorial is dedicated to ALL who died.
Mother Alsace holds her dead sons : one of them looks at France, the other one at Germany.
During the last world wars, young Alsacians were enrolled in the German troups against their will, they were called "les malgre nous" and had to fight against their brothers .
Most of them were sent to the Russian front and died there or were made prisonner, some of them came back from Russia only in the late SEVENTIES.
Beside this, the monument has a signification that i completely encompass : the idea of the irrelevance of citizenship in front of death, loss and sorrow.
This strange, tin box looking, building situated on the Bassin de l'Ill (on the intersection of Quai Ernest Bevin and Allée des droits de l'homme) hosts the European Court for Human Rights (Cour Europeenne des Droits de l'Homme).
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was created with the Council of Europe, based on the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was signed in 1950 and became effective in 1953.
Any of the contracting states/countries (45 in 2005) or any individual claiming to be a victim of a violation of the convention by a contracting state may lodge an application directly with this court.
Guided tours are available for groups and individual visits can be authorised but the visits of the Court are aimed at an informed audience ( jurists, lawyers, law students, groups of schoolchildren motivated by a research work done on the Court.) and are to be booked in advance.
European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
Recently built, this bridge is the most modern link between the cities of Strasbourg and Kiel (in Germany), and represents, in a way, the link between France and Germany, pillars of the New Europe...
Strasburg is on the river Ill. There are also several canals across the city. This area is an elegant neighborhood and ideal for walking.
Another good option is to visit the building of the international institutions: Council of Europe and European Parliament. The city has built a modern complex in order to host the sessions of the latter. By doing this they try to keep this institution in the city, since many Members would prefer to move to the better communicated Brussels. Anyway, the new Parliament building is worth a visit.