Petite France is most charming area in Strasbourg located on the Grande Ile (Main Island). On the this spot river Ile splits up into a number of canals and cascades and because that it calls French Venice This part. is on UNESCO list because area of half-timbered houses. The Petite France is brimming with tourist restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops.
On the Quai de la Petite France old half-timbered houses reflect on the waters of a rather still arm of the Ill river. The Petite France was the district with millers and tanners. It is now a highly praised (and visited !) part of Strasbourg. It is an absolute must see!
The whole old city, standing between two arms of the Ill river has been inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage list in December 1988 under the title "Strasbourg, large island". It includes the Gothic Cathedral, Saint Thomas church (XIIth - XVth), Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux (XIIth - XIVth), Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune (XIIIth - XVth), Saint-Etienne (XIIIth), the Musée de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame, the Ponts Couverts, the Palais Rohan and the streets, alleys, quays, bridges, etc.
Rue du Bain aux Plantes (Plant Bath Street) bears a strange name that has actually nothing to do neither with plants nor with bath!. It was first called Glanzhof (something like shining yard), which was later miss-spelt into Pflanzhof (plants yard) and finally into Pflanzbad (plants bath). It seems that at one time there was a bath for women, which might explain why Pflanzhof became Pflanzbad. It is now the axis of the Petite France with several well-kept half-timbered houses
The Maison des Tanneurs is one of the most beautiful half-timbered houses of the Petite France district. One side is overlooking the Ill river (first and second photo) with an oriel (bow window); The other side is standing on the Rue du Bain aux Plantes. It has been a restaurant since 1572! They serve excellent "choucroute".
The Petite France, enclosed between the arms of the river Ill, is the eldest part of the Strasbourg.
The name comes from a XVI th century hospital where people suffering from the 'mal francais' (the syphilis) were treated (the hospital was thus nicknamed 'Petite France' )
Many of the typical multicoloured houses in this pedestrial area have a direct issue on the river. Made of cob, clay and timber, most of them are built on pilings.
The accented slopes of the roofs are a testimony of the harsh region's winters.
Petite France is an ancient district in Strasbourg with beautiful architecture and surroundings. Positioned around five arms of the River Ill, the construction of mills attracted tanners to the area, since their industry consumes high volumes of water. The area thrived, and the typical architecture of half-timbered houses can be seen widely around the district. An outbreak of patients contaminated with venereal diseases during the wars in Italy led to the construction of a hospital in the 16th century. Since the French where blamed for the spread of these diseases, the name Zum Französel was given to the area, today called Petite France.
Petite France offers one of the most dense, and largest collections of 16th and 17th century half-timbered houses you can see today. The area is truly beatiful, and well worth visiting.
Strasbourg’s historic city center is on an island and therefore is surrounded by water. Additionally, there are several canals in the Petite France area. These canals have locks to keep the control of the water flow as the water level near the Ponte Couverts is higher than the rest of the city canals.
As we were walking around Petite France, we had the opportunity to watch two of the locks in action – one with a canal tour boat in it and one without any boat in it. Each time we were able to stand on the bridge above the lock and watch the waters recede, which would allow a boat to continue on. One set of gates opens up, allowing the boat and water to enter the lock. The gate closes and openings at the other end of the lock open up, allowing the water to leave. When a boat is in the lock, it is easy to see the level of the boat going down. Once the water has reached the needed level, the second set of gates open up and the boat continues on its way into the canals. The whole process takes no more than five minutes from start to finish.
Interesting to watch – keep an eye on where the canal tour boats are; if you see one turning around near the Vauban Barrage and Ponte Couverts, then follow it to the lock to witness the locks in action.
Located on the southwest side of the island that makes up the city center of Strasbourg, the Petite France area is one of the most beautiful in the city. We were there on a clear summer day and the flower boxes along the pathways and the half-timbered buildings were in full bloom.
This area was created around the canals of the River Ill and is chock full of half-timbered houses that formerly belonged to tanners and slaughterers, which would use the water of the river to clean and prepare the hides of the animals, which would then be laid out to dry on the roofs of the houses.
While in Petite France, you can watch the workings of the canal locks, eat at a café, or simply just walk around and enjoy the scenery.
Interestingly, while researching this tip, I found the answer to a question I had pondered: why, if this is in France, is it called “Petite France” (little France). Apparently it was named (obviously by non-French persons) in the late 1400s when it a hospice for those suffering from syphilis was built on the island – the disease at that time being referred to as “French disease.” Still, no worries about all that now – simply go and enjoy this most beautiful of areas in Strasbourg!
The Maison des Tanneurs in Petite France is today actually a restaurant. On our visit to Petite France we didn`t dine here, nevertheless, the building is worth a visit, if only to see from the outside. The house is the former seat of the tanner's guild, and is a beautifully decorated half-timbered building in the heart of Petite France.
Being close to the border of France with Germany and Switzerland, Strasbourg has a very good tourist industry, welcoming nearly 3 milion tourist every year.
Petit France quarter in one of the attraction in Strasbourg. Situated in the center of the city, this is where the tanners, millers and fishermen had their houses. One can see here beautiful architecture from 16th and 17th century.
This famous quarter is a popular meeting place, with lots of great pubs and restaurants. One of France's most popular beer is made here Kronenbourg. The first barrel of this beer was produced in 1664 by Jerom Hatt. In 1850 the brewery was transferred to Cronenbourg, a Strasbourg suburb, which was safe from flooding.
Petite France in Strasbourg is full of old half-timbered buildings and narrow streets. As you wander through the area, be sure to look up. You will see wagon wheels on top of many buildings. These are to encourage storks to nest there and you will see the occasional stork nesting. That's when you will realize your zoom lens was worth every penny!
Wandering around the streets and waterways of 'La Petite France' is a lovely way to while away a few hours.We were there in August,gorgeous weather the whole weekend.We found the food and drink very reasonably priced,and good quality.Very similar to bruges in Belgium,laid back relaxed and very friendly.I spent a lovely weekend there with my partner Maria and thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful city.We will go again.....
We mostly wandered around the captivating historical neighborhood called Petite France, which is the "Old Town" area. Since Strasbourg (and all of the Alsace region) used to be part of Germany at one time, the architecture looked very similar to what's next door in Germany - plenty of picturesque, medieval half-timbered houses. The difference is they're on canals. Most of the people looked different, too - less stocky and more slender and delicate (a big generalization, of course!).
The center part of old Strasbourg is "Petit France". It's chock full of old buildings, historic locations, beautiful flowers, shops and restaurants. This building was the old tannery. All are situated on the charming canals which run through Petit France.