Categories
Seasons

Strasbourg through the seasons: Pontonniers

Lycée des Pontonniers – a high school with over 1000 students ranging from first-years (age 15/16) to post-secondary preparatory classes – was built in 1902. Isn’t it a little reminiscent of Hogwarts?

With every season, Strasbourg reveals a new side to itself, a unique charm and atmosphere.

In exploring Strasbourg, we endeavor to capture the city in all the different lights and hues that the seasons have to offer throughout the year.

Wintery palettes give way to blossoms and nature’s awakening, to mild summer weather and outdoor activities, and finally to the chill of Autumn with its fiery colors.

(Re)discover Lycée des Pontonniers at different times of year:

Categories
Top

Top 10 best views of the Strasbourg Cathedral

Walking around Strasbourg will allow you to see the Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, from different angles.

Here is our selection of the 10 best vantage points from which to view the Strasbourg Cathedral: 

10. Pont d’Auvergne 

9. Place de la République 

8. Avenue de la Paix-Simone Veil 

7. Rue du Vieil Hôpital 

6. Place des Tripiers  

5. The platform of the Vauban Dam 

4. Ponts Couverts 

3. Quai des Bateliers and passerelle de l’Abreuvoir 

2. Place du Château and the courtyard of the Palais Rohan

1. Rue Mercière 

Categories
Blog

Imaginary Christmas market: a recipe from Norway

Since Strasbourg’s world-famous Christmas market is sadly cancelled in 2020, we wondered what it would be like if we simply imagined this year’s market. 

Every year, one country is the market’s guest of honor, and place Gutenberg is filled with stalls selling souvenirs and culinary specialties from that country. In previous years, the guests of honor have been Belgium, Lebanon, Iceland, and many others.

Since Stephanie is Norwegian, we’ve imagined a market with Norway as the guest of honor. On that occasion, we wanted to share a typically Norwegian Christmas tradition with you. Those of you who are familiar with Alsatian Christmas traditions will know the Mannele, or Mannala, which is essentially a little brioche-man (as opposed to a gingerbread-man) enjoyed all through the month of December, but particularly on December 6th, for the feast of Saint Nicholas.

In Norway (and throughout Scandinavia) there is a somewhat similar tradition for making “Lussekatter“, or saffron buns, for the feast of Saint Lucia on December 13th. These very tasty buns have a bright yellow color (from saffron or turmeric) and are traditionally shaped into swirls and spirals. This is done to symbolize light winning over darkness and the sun slowly returning after the gloom of winter.

Just imagine the Norwegian village at the market … the smell of fresh saffron buns, the spicy aroma of gløgg (Norwegian mulled wine), stalls selling risgrøt (rice porridge with cinnamon, sugar, and butter) or smoked salmon, others offering aquavit and Christmas ale, little decorations with gnomes and trolls, traditional wool sweaters and mittens …            

Let’s hope it comes true some day! See you in 2021, for next year’s market. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy this recipe! God Appetitt!

Recipe for LUSSEKATTER or saffron buns

Ingredients:

• 1 to 1,5 g of saffron

• 50 g of fresh yeast 

• 0,5 L of milk

• 150 to 200 g of butter or margarine

• 0,5 teaspoon of salt

• 1-3 dL of sugar

• 1 egg

• About 1,5 L of flour

• Raisins for decorating (optional)

+ 1 egg and a splash of milk for the egg wash

How to make lussekatter:

Grind the saffron to a fine powder.

Crumble the yeast into a large bowl and stir out into a few tablespoons of the milk.

Melt the butter, then add the milk. Gently heat the mixture until tepid (test a drop on your skin, it needs to be tepid to activate the yeast, but too much heat will kill it.). Add the saffron.

Pour the milk and butter over the yeast and stir in the salt, sugar and about half of the flour. Add the rest of the flour a little at a time (you might not need all of it) and knead it in by hand until the dough is nice and smooth. Sprinkle a little flour on top, cover with a tea towel and set to rise in a warm place with no cold draughts until it doubles in size.

Knead the dough in the bowl for a minute, then knead out on a smooth surface where you’ve sprinkled a little flour, until it is smooth and easy to work with.

Cut or rip the dough into smaller parts, then twist, roll or braid different buns. Just remember larger buns will take longer to cook through. Decorate with raisins (optional).

Put the shaped buns on a greased tray and let them rise under a tea towel for another half hour). Lightly paint them with an egg wash.

Cooking time:

Bake at about 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes or more, depending on your oven and the size of the buns. Just keep an eye on them and take them out of the oven when they are golden brown.

Categories
Food Restaurant

An Italian restaurant in Strasbourg: Il Felice

Il Felice, the new Italian restaurant in rue des Tonneliers, is a joy to the senses. Sit down beneath a lush canopy of greenery to savor their generous Italian cuisine with a twist. The interior is classy and modern without ever being austere.

The menu (consisting of antipasti, classic or gluten free pasta, secondi piatti, pizza and dolci) is small but very well rounded, thanks to the addition of seasonal specials on the blackboard. Those who love cocktails, prosecco, moscato, and italian wines and spirits will be able to indulge here, all in moderation.

We particularly enjoyed the lovely floral touch of the Saint-Germain spritz with a bucatini straw, the seasonal pumpkin pizza with walnuts, chestnuts, arugula and shaved parmesan, the Burrata d’Amore pizza (yellow tomatoes, datterini, pesto, preserved red tomatoes, burrata, slivered almonds) and their kids’ menu (all main courses are available in half portions at half price).

Il Felice
📍 2 rue du Poumon, Strasbourg
🔗 View website (in French)

Categories
Bar Food

A speakeasy in Strasbourg: Secret place AEDAEN

The entrance to this “secret” bar is in the pizzeria in rue des Aveugles. Go through the restaurant, past the kitchens, and pull on the little console table (shhh! you didn’t hear it from us).

Choose from a selection of cocktails (with or without alcohol), spirits (a large array of whisky, gin, vodka, rum, cognac, armagnac, pisco, grappa, schnapps, calvados, mezcal, tequila, absinth, vermouth, port …), beer, or soft drinks. You can also try a bespoke cocktail, according to your tastes, allergies, or simply what you feel like. Answer a series of questions from the bartender and let yourself be amazed. 

The selection of spirits is so large that the bartenders regularly have to climb a ladder all the way up to the ceiling to find the right bottle. 

The decor consists of a harmonious mix of raw concrete, red velvet and retro wallpaper. An enormous stuffed kudu head has found its place next to the bar, and the space is softly lit with shaded lamps, hanging metal lamps, as well as vintage chandeliers and wall lights.

We decided to put the bartender’s creativity to the test. She then prepared a tailor-made cocktail for each of us : one with blackcurrant liqueur, Greek vermouth and grapefruit syrup, the other with tequila, black sesame, and lemongrass. The result was delicious, subtle and perfectly balanced. Only once we tasted the drinks were the ingredients revealed to us. It’s a good thing to not always be in control, and rather sit back and rely on the skill and inspiration of an alchemist!

We particularly enjoyed the speakeasy-vibe, the wall of bottles, the bespoke cocktails and the creativity of the staff.

(Photos taken with the express permission of the bartenders.)

Secret place AEDAEN
📍 4 rue des Aveugles, Strasbourg

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: parc de Pourtalès

From the (free) parking lot by parc de Pourtalès, there are two paths, each leading to very different spaces and atmospheres.

On one side, the beautiful scenery around Château de Pourtalès opens on a large sculpture park and the château gardens.

On the other side of the parking lot, you’ll find the forêt de la Robertsau. This place means a lot to us because it offers a break, far away from the urban environment, although the city is only a few hundred meters away. It’s also important to us because we chose to have our wedding pictures taken there

As you walk along the asphalted path (for cyclists and pedestrians only), the trees start to form a tunnel of foliage. In the spring, the ditches are full of blooming wild garlic.


The tapping sound of woodpeckers resonates throughout the forest. If you’re very lucky, you might even spot a deer!
Old stone kilometer markers and bunkers from the war have been gradually covered in greenery – nature has taken over again.
The sound of horses’ hooves is muffled on the dirt tracks below the raised path.
Long-haired Highland cows graze in the surrounding fields. Frolicking dogs swim in the little ponds, under the watchful eye of their owners.

You can continue your walk along the dyke, past fields and farms until you reach the village of la Wantzenau.

In July 2020, the forêt de la Robertsau was made a national nature reserve.

Categories
Food Restaurant

A French restaurant in Strasbourg: Les Sales Gosses

Every six weeks, Les Sales Gosses offers a gastronomical getaway to explore a new French region or “terroir”.

The menu is made up of six appetizers, six main courses (including one or two dishes that are typical for the chosen area), and six desserts.

This time, we went on a culinary trip to Cap Ferret and the Bassin d’Arcachon (on the coast near Bordeaux). We particularly enjoyed the homemade rabbit rillettes, the unilaterally seared sea bass with zucchini and thyme galette, and the nougat glacé with pistachio nougatine. Everything is presented with care and made fresh. The portions are very generous.

From the 29th of September, the menu will be changed entirely (for the 86th time), with dishes inspired by the Pays d’Auge in the heart of Normandy.

For lunch, you can pick from the set menu, with two new appetizers and two new mains every week. 

Reservations are recommended.

Les Sales Gosses
📍 56 Boulevard Clemenceau, Strasbourg
🔗 View website (in French)

Categories
Bar Food

A safari bar in Strasbourg: Le Douanier

Le Douanier defines itself as a “cocktail bar that takes you on a safari for your taste buds”. We were made to get along!

The cocktail menu (with and without alcohol) lets you travel to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The bar also offers other drinks (like draft beer, gin, rum …) and snacks.

All the cocktails are original house creations, and every one of them has its own specific drinking vessel.

We particularly loved the tropical and cozy interior, the Constantinople (which has a rosy roundness that reminds us of Turkish delight), the Grootz (a pisco sour with a twist, fresh and herby with a hint of bitterness) and the quirky humor of the menu.

Le Douanier
📍 5 rue de la Douane, Strasbourg 
🔗 View website (in French)

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: Presqu’île Malraux

Formerly an abandoned port site, Presqu’île Malraux/Rivetoile has turned into a bustling neighborhood, made up of apartment and office buildings, a shopping center (Rivetoile), cafés and restaurants, a multiplex movie theater and several cultural buildings (like the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse and the Médiathèque André Malraux).

We love walking along the docks from the Black Swan towers to the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse*. You can access the peninsula by starting at the towers, near Winston Churchill tram stop.

On the bridge between the movie theater and the refurbished Seegmuller warehouse, turn back to look at the outline of the three towers, which reminds us of a bar chart.

A little further on, the sky is beautifully reflected in the façade of the Médiathèque André Malraux.
Continue your walk towards the two massive Paindavoine cranes (they’re illuminated at night, and you can control the lights remotely!) and the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse.

After crossing the Braque footbridge, as you stroll under the trees along quai des Alpes and quai du Général Koenig, see if you can spot a coypu swimming in the canal.

In the summertime, if the weather allows it, enjoy the beachy vibes of “les Docks d’été”.

(*If you’re coming from the city center, the walk would start at the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse.)

Categories
Food Restaurant

A French brasserie in Strasbourg: Les Haras

La Brasserie des Haras offers a modern cuisine, conceived by Marc Haeberlin, chef at two-star Michelin restaurant l’Auberge de l’Ill.

After crossing the terrace paved with Rhine pebbles, which leads into the courtyard, you enter the characteristic decor of this meticulously renovated 18th-century stud farm. Steal a glance at the team of chefs moving around the open kitchen in a perfectly choreographed dance. The 32 steps of the monumental solid oak spiral staircase lead onto the second floor, below an impressive system of wooden roof trusses (also 18th-century), which makes a beautiful backdrop for a sophisticated meal.

The dishes are elegant and delicate, made with a harmonious blend of quality ingredients.

We particularly enjoyed the Thai-inspired shrimp broth (with lemongrass, coconut milk and cilantro), the swordfish steak, which was cooked to perfection, and the well-balanced freshness of the pistachio-passionfruit macaron, fresh fruit and pistachio ice cream.

Brasserie Les Haras
📍 23 rue des Glacières, Strasbourg
🔗 View the website

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: parc du Heyritz

Parc du Heyritz is a haven of tranquility tucked between the Hôpital Civil de Strasbourg and the hustle and bustle of place de l’Étoile.

As you approach the park, a weeping willow on the right-hand side seems to form a curtain through which you enter. A floating pontoon borders the bassin de l’Hôpital and runs the entire length of the park. You can spot a wide variety of animals: fish, birds, frogs, tortoises, lizards, and coypus. In the spring, you can also watch the ducks diving between the water plants with their ducklings.

The pontoon leads to the far side of the park, where you’ll find playgrounds and gym apparatus, a reflecting pool, allotment gardens and terraced lawns where you can relax. In the summer, the park is occasionally used as an open-air cinema.

Categories
Café Food Tea room

A tea room in Strasbourg: Tonton Gâteau

You come into Tonton Gâteau as in a little garden. The wood details, rattan chairs, lanterns and hanging lights blend in perfectly with the plant-heavy decor.

This “gourmet café” offers a menu for breakfast and lunch, as well as a Saturday brunch. Brunch consists of two drinks, a sweet course, a savory course, and a pastry of your choosing. There’s something for the kids, too, with le P’tit brunch, for children up to the age of 12.

The plates and the elegant presentation make the dishes pop, while the food is wonderfully fresh and made with seasonal, quality ingredients. The flavors are traditional, but skillfully used with a modern twist.

The atmosphere is welcoming, pleasant, and family friendly. The perfect definition of koselig, as Stéphanie would say in Norwegian, and the staff are affable and bubbly. 

We particularly liked the salted caramel waffle, the salmon blini, the cheesecake (one of the best in town!), the hazelnut, passionfruit and praline cream puff, and the lemon, bergamot and violet iced tea. In short, we liked everything!

Tonton Gâteau
📍11 rue des Bouchers, Strasbourg
🔗 View the website (in French)

Categories
Café Food

A neo-African café in Strasbourg: Hey Mama

Located in a former confectionery shop, Hey Mama is a café and restaurant offering a modern, African-inspired cuisine. 

The interior is bright, natural and tropical. The food is fresh, colorful and copious, the presentation is neat, and the flavors are well-balanced.

The brunch menu includes an array of interesting and original flavor combinations. The fresh juice is house made “bissap” (hibiscus); the hot dish is an Afro Bowl with jollof rice, teranga sauce, roast chicken, fried plantain, avocado, and sweet potato; the sides include plantain chips, granola with mango coulis, and guava panna cotta. 

Hey Mama is open every day for breakfast, lunch (with their signatures bowls and hot dishes, salads, open-faced sandwiches and desserts) and afternoon coffee. The menu is color-coded, indicating which dishes are available in a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free version.

We particularly enjoyed the Afro Bowl, the mango granola and the guava panna cotta. Every bite made us want to come back.

Hey Mama
📍3 rue des Pucelles, Strasbourg

Categories
Food Restaurant

Japanese bento in Strasbourg: Niko Niko

Niko Niko is a Japanese bistro with a European twist. The interior is minimalist, with rice paper lanterns as colorful accents.


Menu-wise, Niko Niko specializes in bento boxes (traditional Japananese meal boxes). Choose between a vegetarian option, meat or fish, or a sushi or tapas style bento. They also offer takoyaki, gyoza, ramen, and poke bowls.

The staff are thoughtful and attentive. 


We particularly enjoyed the vegetable and sake broth we were served before the main course, the chef’s bento (with duck breast), and the matcha tiramisu (very rich and creamy!).

Niko Niko
📍72 avenue des Vosges, Strasbourg

Categories
Café Food Tea room

A tea room in Strasbourg: Ôjourdhui

Ôjourdhui, a café and tearoom that has recently opened in Strasbourg, is the perfect place to treat yourself and relax for a while.

They offer a wide selections of danishes, pastries, sweet and savory brunch menus (on Saturdays), freshly squeezed juices and house-made iced teas, hot beverages, savory toasts, sweet pies and tarts, brioches, macarons … everything is made in-house with quality local ingredients, and you can clearly tell it’s made with skill and love.

Every detail has been carefully thought out: the simplicity of the interior (which has the clean-cut look of an art studio, with tall windows facing place de la Bourse, and bookshelves with green cascading plants), the quality of the ingredients, the fresh and floral esthetic of the house-made dishes, the wonderfully jazzy playlist, and the choice of furniture and tableware.

We particularly enjoyed the avocado toast (with rocket, avocado, smoked salmon, and a soft-boiled egg), the “tarte au fromage” (an Alsatian cheesecake), the lemon tartelette, and the freshly squeezed apple, lime and mint juice.

The staff are friendly, cheerful and accommodating.

We were blown away by the great food, as well as the charming and peaceful atmosphere. Let’s go back tomorrow!

Ôjourdhui
📍11 rue de la Brigade Alsace-Lorraine, Strasbourg

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: quai des Bateliers

Quai des Bateliers runs along the Ill between pont Saint-Guillaume and pont du Corbeau.

Recently pedestrianized, quai des Bateliers is like a little green haven in the middle of the city. A space where you can breathe, take a walk along the water with your family, your friends, or your partner. The atmosphere is cool and calm, flowing with the river and the boats gliding past. 

Stop for a moment under the lush trees, relax for a while on one on the pontoons directly above the Ill, or on the large floating pontoon (by pont du Corbeau). The crooked houses between n°22 and n°26 seem to lean against each other, as though they had their own definition of balance.

The quay is lined with cafés, galleries, shops and independent bookstores. We particularly enjoy the Librairie du Tigre (n°36), which specializes in comic books. 

In the springtime, you can see wisteria cascading down a few of the façades along the opposite riverbank. 

As you walk along the quay, the Cathedral appears in the background. The view from the footbridge passerelle de l’Abreuvoir is particularly appreciated by photographers.

A little further down, the Cathedral seems to play hide and seek behind the Palais Rohan (vestige of the 18th century aristocracy’s way of life, and now home to three museums) and the Historical Museum (which presents the history of Strasbourg from the Middle Ages to the founding of the European institutions).

Quai des Bateliers ends by pont du Corbeau, where you can continue towards: 

  • rue d’Austerlitz and the neighborhood of la Krutenau to your left 
  • quai Saint-Nicolas and la Petite France if you follow the river 
  • rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, the Historical Museum, the Cathedral and the Palais Rohan to your right.

Alternatively, you can choose to walk level with the water along the banks of the Ill, which you can access either from pont Saint-Guillaume or from the Palais Rohan.

Categories
Food Restaurant

A dim sum restaurant in Strasbourg: Dim Sum Sam

Dim Sum Sam, which specializes in steamed dumplings, has an array of delicious dim sum, banh bao (stuffed buns) and a number of vegetarian and gluten free options on offer.

We particularly enjoyed the banh cuon (a vietnamese rice pancake) with pork, black Chinese mushrooms, fresh herbs and peanuts, the pork and shrimp dumplings, the fresh touch brought by the mango salad (made as hot as you like).

The staff is welcoming, thoughtful and cheerful. Reservations recommended!

Dim Sum Sam
📍 9 rue de l’Abreuvoir, Strasbourg

Categories
Café Food Restaurant

Eat healthy in Strasbourg: Pur etc

Pur etc. defines itself as a “Fast Good” restaurant, as opposed to fast food ones. They serve hot or cold, savory or sweet dishes in glass jars, made with locally sourced seasonal ingredients. The concepts advocates for: Good taste (real food), Good sense (clean food), Good heart (fair food). Pur etc. have several restaurants in Strasbourg, Mulhouse and the Paris region.

At the café in place St. Étienne, we particularly enjoyed the freshly squeezed apple-carrot-ginger juice, the savory-sweet vegetarian lasagna, the well-balanced acidity of the lemon-basil cheesecake, and the ceiling decorations made from kitchen utensils.

PUR etc
📍 15 place Saint-Etienne, Strasbourg
🔗 View the website (in French)

Categories
Café Food

A coworking café in Strasbourg: Anticafé

Anticafé stands out thanks to its original concept, never before seen in Strasbourg. Enjoy as many drinks (hot or cold) or snacks (sweet or savory) as you like, and use all the amenities you want (wi-fi, printers, flip charts, projectors …). You only pay for the time you spend there. The concept, which was first launched in Paris, has since popped up in Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Lyon, Rome…

The interior is fun and colorful, with a cozy atmosphere – or koselig, as Stephanie would say – and the staff is welcoming.

We loved the friendly, homey vibe, and the cross between café and workspace.

Anticafé
📍 1 rue de la Division Leclerc, Strasbourg
🔗 View the website (in French)

Categories
Café Food Tea room

Eat gluten-free in Strasbourg: L’Eden libre de gluten

L’Eden libre de gluten‘s menu is based on classic recipes, all made 100% gluten free without compromising on taste. This bakery and tea room offers a large selection of simple dishes (quiches, sandwiches, foccacia, salads, savory cakes), sweet treats, breads and pastries to eat in or take away. All ingredients are local and organic.

We particularly enjoyed the friendly and attentive service, as well as their 100% gluten free menu, which is both healthy and indulgent. The ideal spot for lunch or a tasty summer snack.

L’Eden libre de gluten
📍 15 place du Temple Neuf, Strasbourg
🔗 View the website (in French)