Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Strasbourg: Continued

I visited Strasbourg way back in July, and I blogged 'Day 1' and then with the whole flatmare (see what I did there) I never actually got round to blogging the rest of my trip. Which is a shame, because I see this blog as much as a record for myself as a way to communicate with others. And, predictably, I've now forgotten a lot of the details of what I did and saw. Apart from the cathedral, which I blogged about already, I remember blazing hot weather, visiting a bunch of different museums, eating a lot of yummy Alsatian food (my chicken thigh and spaetzle on my last day in town were a real standout), and the fabulous painted church I went to also on my last day.

Reaching back through the mists of time, I think my weekend went something like this: Day 1, arrive about midday, eat choucroute, wander around Petit France a bit and see the cathedral. Day 2, visit la Musee de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame, which focuses particularly on medieval and Renaissance art, including the originals of sculptures and stained glass from the cathedral and other churches. I also went to the Fine Arts museum, and because you got a ticket for all the museums in the city, I ended up taking a quick look in the museum of the history of Strasbourg and in the museum of Alsatian life. I think I did some of these on the Sunday and some the next day. I don't really remember much about any of these museums, oops! The Alsatian one was mostly full of folk art and little bits and pieces from the lives of ordinary people, and was in a cool old house with a courtyard inside. The history museum was a bit disappointing since, bizarrely, it ended before the whole back-and-forth between France and Germany, which was really what I was interested in finding out about in the first place. Not sure if there were some rooms closed or that I just missed, because that seems like a very strange choice. On my last day, I got up bright and early and climbed to the top of the cathedral. I was lucky to get a great view and because I was up there first thing, I got the chance to take some photos by myself, before a group of annoying schoolkids came along. I also went to Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune Protestant church, built from 1250-1320, which is an absolute must-see for anyone going to Strasbourg. I had taken a few notes off the internet of stuff to see before I left, and then I think I left them at home, so I only had a vague idea that I had noted down to go to this church, but no idea why or if it really was especially worth seeing. So glad I did go, because it was absolutely glorious. Really wonderful polychrome painting everywhere (kind of ironic that it's the Protestant church), and almost bereft of tourists, so I was really able to enjoy it.

Thinking back on my trip and looking through my photos, I really did enjoy Strasbourg. Totally different from other areas of France, in terms of the architecture, food, culture etc. but a really lovely place which I would definitely recommend. At the time, I really needed the break as well, seeing that it came just days after finding out about G not paying the rent etc.

Views from the cathedral roof
You can really get a good sense of the distinctive Strasbourg architecture from on high

I think this is the Palais Rohan, which houses the fine arts museum

A statue of a king with money on his hat, for some reason

I love that this guy is looking up towards the top of the tower he's attached to/shading his eyes from the sun. I'll make the comment I always make about how human the Middle Ages were, contrary to the popular impression.

There was all sorts of carved graffiti left by visitors over the years on the cathedral roof. I liked this one from a Russian army officer, in the service of "All the Russias", as they say

What's the bet this "Pritish" officer got some German-speakers to carve this for him? Ha ha! I reckon his name was probably "Robertson", not "Ropertson" as well!

Inside the cathedral, the astronomical clock

A detail of the clock - it was Monday too, very impressive!

Out and about in Strasbourg

At first I wondered what this was meant to be a photo of. And then I saw the umbrella hats.

From memory, this sounded quite different on the menu, but it was quite nice. The central bit is a sort of soft pasta/dumpling rolled up with a meat-loaf type thing. I liked the small portion of choucroute as well, as opposed to my absolutely massive serving (choucroute garnie) for lunch the day before.

The caption says that in the Middle Ages, people sentenced to death by drowning, especially people who killed their fathers or committed infanticide (yeah, feminism at work) were shut in cages and thrown in the water on this spot. What was I just saying about the humanity of the Middle Ages?

Views of the canals and some buildings I liked


Why I oughta! The plague-ridden, demon-visited guy looks quite relaxed, by contrast. Nice insouciant ankle-cross.

Cute sign for the Musee alsacien. I wonder why it's not Musee alsacienne??

Aw, no idea what's going on here but these look like cute little doggies trying to help a brother out rather than ravenous beasts going for blood.

I can only imagine this was a moment of self-loathing, homophobic rage

A painting by Gustave Dore! I didn't even know he did real paintings. I just looked him up, and he was actually born in Strasbourg.

One of a series of four paintings of the seasons using fruit and veg. I wonder if it's by Giuseppe Arcimboldo or an imitator?

Eek! "Two deceased lovers" according to the caption. I wonder if they were lovers of the naughty kind, to receive this fate, or if it's just one of the usual "memento mori" type paintings. In case you can't see, the woman has a toad on her bits!

Saint Pierre le jeune church

My photos don't do justice to this place at all, it really is lovely!

The outside of the church reflected in a modern building

Fresco of the crucifixion, with the good thief on Jesus' right (from his perspective) getting his soul scooped up by an angel, whereas the bad thief gets his snatched by a devil

Detail of the bad thief

Chapel inside the church. I think that thing hanging from the ceiling is the top of the baptismal font

Interior of the church

Detail of a fresco on the back wall

A fresco representing different nations - here, Aragon and Castile plus another one I can't read

A fresco showing the whipping of Christ

The rood screen and organ. Fun fact, "rood" is the Old English word for cross :) Who said studying Old English (one class thereof) at university would be a wasted effort?


  1. Can't believe you got through this whole post about Alsatian life without doing a dog joke.

  2. Strasbourg is way prettier when it's not 4C and rainy all day! I'm so upset we didn't do any of the museums - they were always closed or we were too tired, but it looks like you had a fantastic trip. Happy New Years!

  3. Ha ha good call R.

    Yeah I had great weather! Oh well, excuse to go back maybe?


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