After being greeted by the most romantic Strasbourg, we start a new day (with rain) full of desire to discover more about the city. The first destination will be the only must we had before coming: the European Parliament.
Although only three kilometres separate the old town from the European institutions and although it has stopped raining, we head to the Place de la République to take a Tram in order to avoid any weather surprise. At the destination stop we step down together with other tourists who also “have come to take the photo” and there we have it, the typical modern office building in a cylinder shape, in this case surrounded by a security wall inside which protrude the flags of the different countries of the Union.
The park of L’Orangerie located north-east of the city gives us the opportunity to meet the official mascot of the city: the stork. Many of these birds can be seen flying or standing on their nests throughout the airspace of the enclosure. And if they are not directly visible, their presence is easily recognizable by the crowing of their beaks. After walking around for a while it is time to go back to the old town and find somewhere to eat. On the way we will have the opportunity to see the botanical garden and the Lutheran Church of St. Paul.
After recovering forces we face the last afternoon in the city heading to the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Strasbourg. The building was declared a historical monument in 1862 and is home to the diocese of the city. Built between 1015 and 1439 is an outstanding example of late Gothic in which worked architects from Burgundy, Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire. The bell tower (142 m) was the highest architectural work of the world for over two centuries. However, it did not escape the bombings that took place during the various conflicts between France and Germany. From the interior we highlight especially the sixteenth century astronomical clock.
The surroundings of the cathedral are the ideal place to find the typical postcards and other souvenirs but also to find stores with more original gifts. During the weekend if the weather is nice the streets
fill with people sitting on the terraces or just walking so we join the flow until reaching the river bank. From there we head to La Petite France, the most tourist district of Strasbourg. Surrounded by canals that have baptised the quarter as the French Venice, La Petite France was traditionally the neighbourhood of fishermen, millers and tanners and small artisans in general. The buildings still show the typical architecture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with open roofs where animal skins were dried thus producing a strong characteristic odour that once kept away most city dwellers. During the Middle Ages it was a refuge for thieves, bandits and even became the red light district of the city during a period. The name of La Petite France has its origins in the former military hospital in the same neighbourhood, where the French soldiers came to be cured of syphilis (disease that later became known as the French illness). 
For lovers of weekend getaways Strasbourg is definitely a widely recommended destination, not only for its visual charm, but because it is a cultural hybrid that manages to combine the best of the Franco-German mix in all aspects.
Rosa M. Torrademé
Other articles by Rosa: