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True confessions of a girl who writes dirty books--and loves it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Strasblog


Strasbourg! The Gateway to Europe! Capital of the New European Union! And all around, the most memorable, gorgeous, livable, sophisticated city we visited.

I'm not kidding--Strasbourg is wonderful. It's a tiny city, with a famous university, numerous bridges over a gorgeous canal system, fabulously high end shopping (even the middle-brow, Gap-esque boutiques are timelessly stylish), and its very own Notre Dame Cathedral. It's like a miniature Paris, with all the character and charm that Paris has for everyone who isn't me.

Strasbourg is also the capital of Alsace, and it was the first time I'd ever been to that region of France. I didn't have much experience with the food prior to this trip, either, and let me tell you, I'm never going back. Alsatian food rocks. It's a mix of French and German food, and you wouldn't believe what those crafty French manage to do with a little sauerkraut and sausage! Choucroute garni, occasionally garnished with a sausage called 'mannershultz'--fifty points to anyone who can translate that little gem. I'd post a picture, but it would probably render this blog unsuitable for viewing in the workplace. They're famous for flammekeuche, or tarte flambe, which is essentially pizza with bacon and onions on a crust like a cracker. It's amazing. We had the best meal of our entire trip on a quaint little back street in Strasbourg, at a place called Chez Yvonne--the Alsations are also famous for foie gras, and Chez Yvonne served what was basically the Platonic ideal of foie gras. Simple and incredible.

I honestly can't recommend Strasbourg highly enough. Meg loved it so much, she was talking seriously about moving there--although the highly skilled and thoroughly charming Frenchman who hit on her at a bar our first night there may have had something to do with it. The nightlife was friendly and vibrant, without feeling overly hip or intimidating in any way, and the city is very walkable. There's tons to see and do--including the wonderful old carousel in Place Gutenberg. It's my favorite kind of carousel, with animals other than horses, all beautifully painted and crafted, including a giraffe, an elephant, a mule, and my personal favorite, a pig. Look at that tongue! Hmm, I seem to be a little preoccupied with tongues, lately. There's a book fair in that square twice a week, where I found several translated editions of familiar favorites.

It's a city of contrasts, the stolid German and the flamboyant French, the ancient Roman roots and the developing new European Union, the quaint small-town charm with all the appeal and opportunity of a big city. The people who live there are warm and open, and perfectly happy to speak French with non-natives--in fact, they seemed pleased when we made the effort. As for us, we were perfectly happy every second of our stay in Strasbourg. Part of me is praying my friend, Meg, will actually live the dream, and move to Strasbourg, even though it would mean she'd live hundreds of miles further from me than she does now, because damn. I would so love to visit her there.

8 Comments:

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Lillian Feisty said...

Yay! I've been waiting for these posts!

Have you considered a side-job as a travel writer? Seriously! These are great and I love the pics!

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Lillian Feisty said...

P.S. You look like Kate Winslet in that pic, damn you.

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger Louisa Edwards said...

Ooh, Kate Winslet! My favorite celebrity to be compared to! Thanks a bunch. I certainly prefer her to Princess Di, my most recent "compliment".

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

Great pics (again!). L's right, you would make a good travel-writer, plus look like Kate, whom I love too. :)

P.S. That pig is cool.

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Debra Parmley said...

I just love those old carousels.
You make me wish I could have gone with you. Sigh.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Kate Pearce said...

I've never been there but I've heard great things about it too!
One day when I can persuade the dog to let me out of his sight, me and Mr K will be off there touring Europe!

 
At 2:29 AM, Blogger MarlyMathews said...

Great post, Louisa! Now I want to go to France...:)

~Marly

 
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