Anyone who knows Strasbourg and particularly te Petite France area will know that it has become a bit of a honeypot for tourists and the tourism hub of the region, providing plenty of income for the Alsace. The local economy must benefit hugely from the immense number of wandering tourists who seem to end up in the profusion of trinket/souvenir shops lining the quaint streets of the central city. All of the shops seem to offer their own take on how to take home your own white stork memorabilia, the animal symbol of the Region Alsace. Furthermore, ensure you DO NOT enter a shop on the hour as you will be pecked to oblivion by walls covered in 'local' cuckoo clocks... Basically, once you've seen one of these retail outlets, you've seen them all and it really isn't worth bothering exploring them further.
Unique Suggestions: Whilst in the area, make sure you take time away from the unbearably samey shops to visit the amazing cathedral. I truly is an awe-inspiring feat of art and architecture, and the front facade is just breath-taking. I urge you to look inside- I didn't have time, and have regretted it ever since.
Fun Alternatives: An alternative to the shopping area is to take a walk down by the charming banks of the River Ill. I was surprised by how few people were about down there, having been crushed by the crowds earlier around the cathedral and shops. On a hot day it is refreshing to wander along the clear waters of the river, under the many bridges and past ancient historical buildings, especially with one of the city's delicious ice creams- my favourite flavour there was myrtille!
As usual at crowded places - the shops around the cathedral (Place de la Cathedrale and Rue Merciere) are tourist traps in its original meaning. Outrageous prices guaranteed.
Unique Suggestions: Do just window shopping! Don't buy!
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