Petite France: Our unplanned day trip

Spontaneous ideas sometimes can become great ideas!

Let me go back a little. My parents used to travel a lot ( I guess my love for travel was passed by them through genes) so they always share stories, anecdotes and useful tips with us. During one of our visits we started talking about destinations through Europe, mainly France and Spain. My father went on talking about a trip they did once to a region in France called Alsace. How they loved the colorful towns and villages, specially its largest city and capital, Strasbourg. He then continued talking about a part of Strasbourg called Petite France and how he thought it was something worth visiting.

Soon after leaving my parents house I researched and fell in love! Alsace region was now on my to do list, but not in a near future.

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During our stay in Cochem we had planned an extra day to go visit a nearby town or city. We had already toured Köln so we were thinking something around the Rhineland area.

That morning during breakfast, out of the blue, Dad said, “We can go to Strasbourg. How far is it?” While I took my phone and checked in Google maps the km from our location to Strasbourg, our three kids immediately shouted, “Petite France!” Of course the reason for their excitement was that they had heard so many times the Petite France stories from their grandfather that the possibility of going got on to them.

Approximately 300 km, that was the distance from Strasbourg to where we were. “Well, is not that far. I can drive without a problem. Let’s go!” were his words. The decision was taken, we were off to our next day trip adventure.

More than 3 hours took us to arrive, but the road was full of gorgeous landscapes so that helped. Once we got there we were captivated by the city’s beautiful layout. It’s colors made it so cheerful! The whole ambience is very inviting and since everything is so close together the city is great for walking.

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We parked the car and our first visit was to Notre Dame Cathedral.

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This cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals in Europe. A pink stone facade, gargoyles, high ceilings, stained glass windows dating from the 12th to the 14th century, a suspended pipe organ and an astronomical clock are an overall description of this man-made spectacle.

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For me, what catched my eye and made me stay for a long time observing… praying… was Jesus Christ on a cross that was suspended before one of the stained glass windows.

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After Notre Dame we walked to a plaza nearby and saw a little doner restaurant. We stopped there to have lunch. I have to say the girl at the cash register treated us very disrespectfully. But we love doners, we were hungry and most importantly we were on vacation, so we let it pass by 😉

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While walking, the children saw some fun fair rides and immediately E and P begged to ride the cars. I don’t know who enjoyed the most, them riding or us watching them have so much fun! I think the latter.

Enjoying simple things, collecting great memories!!

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We knew we didn’t have too much time to see and experience all Strasbourg. So we headed to the one thing that made us go on the first place: Petite France Quarter.

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Petite France is located on the west end side of the Grande Ile. This area was home of millers, fishermen and tanners in the Middle Ages. Its various water canals, half-timbered houses and stone paved streets make this historic center a charming place to roam around.

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Every street and corner in Petite France has a charming personality. Shops, cafes, street performers, we were loving it all!

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While A and I were lured into the stores, Dad took photos of E and P watching some street performers. Hours passed by without notice.

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The day was coming to an end. We had to leave since we had ahead of us a three-hour ride back to Cochem.

Strasbourg did its job and conquered our hearts. The children fell asleep in the car due to a long and seized day. We returned happy from our unplanned visit! Dad and I thanked God for that amazing day.

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