Categories
Day trip

A day trip from Strasbourg: hiking in Le Hohwald

Starting from the village of Le Hohwald, enjoy a nice hike through forests and hillside landscapes. This round-trip hike is about 9 km long, taking around 2,5 to 3 hours along marked and well-maintained trails. 

Starting point: Le Hohwald. You will find several free, small parking lots around the village (by the post office, across from the Grand HĂ´tel, and another one a little further down the main road). 

Start the hike by walking up rue Herrenhaus, just beyond the public toilets. This climb is a little steep, but it will not get more difficult than this first climb. 

Something we enjoy about hiking is the “treasure hunt” aspect of it, meaning you have to spot the painted markings posted along the path in order to follow the itinerary. During the first leg of the hike, follow the red rectangles all the way to la cascade de l’Andlau (the Andlau waterfall).

The trail snakes its way through the forest, with its many species of trees, and passes moss-covered stones, stumps, and fallen tree trunks. You cross little wooden bridges over babbling brooks. In autumn, the track is carpeted with the hues of golden-brown leaves.

You can climb down to the waterfall from the track via a steep path. The (short) trip is more than worth it however, especially in the summertime, if you’d like a refreshing break. The waterfall has about a twenty-meter drop and is surrounded by lush greenery.

Once you are done admiring the falls, climb back up to the main trail and follow the red crosses.

Shortly after the waterfalls, towards la Chaume des Veaux, the woods make way for an open hillside landscape, where the trail is level with the treetops on the other side of the valley.

Walk along rolling fields of grass with peacefully grazing cows. The bench overlooking the ridge line of the Vosges mountains is the perfect place to stop for a picnic.

The final leg of the hike runs through another wooded area, which is quite different from the first. Alternating between several different kinds of forest and open spaces makes for a varied experience and guarantees that you’ll never be bored. 

After the red crosses, halfway through the second stretch of forest, start following the blue crosses to head back to Le Hohwald. The ringing of cowbells in the distance is a surefire sign that you’re approaching the village. 

As you exit the forest, take a right and follow the sidewalk all the way back down to your parking lot. 

This hike is such a lovely, calming, revitalizing experience. This might be because you spend a long time under the trees, enjoying the refreshing effects of “forest bathing”, which the Japanese call Shinrin-yoku.

To make sure you’re at ease on the trails, we recommend wearing a comfortable pair of hiking shoes.  This walk is accessible all year, even with children, as long as you bring the appropriate clothing, footwear, and equipment for the season, and adapt to the weather conditions.

Categories
Travel

A postcard from our trip to Paris 

“The Capital of fashion and culture”, “City of Lights”, “the city of love”… Paris has many nicknames.

The French capital has always been a source of inspiration for artists, whether they are authors, painters, photographers, or directors.  Jean-Pierre Jeunet for instance, spun his urban poetry from the neighborhood of Montmartre and made Paris one of the main characters in his movie Le Fabuleux Destin d’AmĂ©lie Poulain, better known to English-speaking audiences as AmĂ©lie

In a way, it was this pleasant, kindly, cozy atmosphere we went looking for, or at least tried to reproduce, during our recent trip to Paris.  However, we were also conscious of the fact that the city could bring on a case of “Paris Shokogun” (also known as Paris Syndrome), which is the feeling of disenchantment experienced by certain Japanese tourists when they first visit the city.  To our great pleasure, the city worked its magic (almost perfectly). 

There’s nothing quite like (re)discovering a city on foot to take in its atmosphere. We took the time to explore and walk the streets of the capital, as we love to do in Strasbourg, whenever we go on a Strafari.

Here is the postcard from our trip to Paris, with photos from our favorite spots and neighborhoods :

• The covered passages
• The Palais-Royal Garden and the Colonnes de Buren
• The Louvre, the Tuileries Garden and place de la Concorde
• Pont Alexandre III and the Seine
• Place Vendôme
• The Eiffel Tower
• Montmartre and the Sacré Cœur
• The Luxembourg Gardens
• Musée d’Orsay
• Rooftops and department stores
• The Marais
Continue your trip with a weekend in Strasbourg…

The covered passages

To get a taste of 19th-century Parisian charm, we recommend exploring the covered passages, which are pedestrian shopping arcades located near the grands boulevards and place de la Bourse. You can easily walk from one passage to the next, starting with Passage Verdeau (1847) with its antiques shops and old boutiques. Next, Passage Jouffroy (1836) stands out thanks to its marble flooring and arched glass roof. Most notably, this passage is home to the MusĂ©e GrĂ©vin. Passage des Panoramas (1799) is Paris’ very first covered passage. We decide to play a game: imagining our perfect meal by combining in our minds the suggested day’s specials on the different boards in front of the restaurants in the arcade. 

Galerie Colbert (1823), which is more centered on culture, has the distinctive feature of not containing a single shop.  It does however have a beautiful rotunda, crowned with a glass dome. 

The neighboring Galerie Vivienne (1823), which is bathed in light thanks to its glass skylight and has colorful mosaic flooring, is one of Paris’ most iconic passages. Looking for our next read among the leather-bound volumed with gilt lettering in the charming bookshop Librairie Jousseaume makes us feel like we’ve traveled back to the 19th century.

Stéphanie begins to daydream, imagining herself living in a beautiful home above a Parisian passage, where she can watch people stroll by under the glass below. She fully expects a man in a three-piece suit and top hat, accompanied by a woman in a full-skirted walking dress with delicate lace ruffles, to appear at any moment.

The Palais Royal Garden and the Colonnes de Buren

Created by the famous Cardinal de Richelieu in 1633, the Palais Royal was home to the royal families of France until the Palace of Versailles was completed. 

While searching for a bench where we can sit and enjoy our Parisien sandwich (the classic ham and butter, of course) in the garden, we realize there are philosophical quotes written on the back of several benches. We go from one bench to the next, choosing the most suitable one for our meal: “You eat your memories with the spoon of oblivion.” Or rather our vanilla Ă©clair with a recycled spoon…

Once we’ve eaten, we move on to the 260 octagonal black-and-white striped columns or different sized, made by French artist Daniel Buren. The magical atmosphere in the courtyard encourages everyone to make of the columns what they like. Children climb them like mountains, use them as stepping stones over an imaginary river, or transform them into giant slalom poles. Older generations tend to use the columns to take a seat, share a conversation, enjoy the sunshine, or as a background for their selfies.  We must admit, we hadn’t played leapfrog in a very long time. “All grown-ups were once children,” Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry once said. The Colonnes de Buren are a perfect illustration of that.

As we’re leaving the esplanade, we spot a young bride and groom with their photographer, looking for the perfect spot to immortalize their special day. The groom, elegantly dressed in black and white, stands stick straight as he poses, almost blending in with the monochrome columns.

The Louvre, the Tuileries Garden and place de la Concorde

The cour NapolĂ©on offers a striking architectural contrast between the historical palace, which is home to one of the world’s most famous museums, and the pyramid (composed of 603 glass rhombuses and 70 glass triangles), which was designed in the 1980s by Chinese American architect Ieoh Ming Pei.

Just a stone’s throw away, the Tuileries Garden is an invitation to take a relaxing stroll along the park’s ornamental pools. It was redesigned by Louis XIV’s landscape architect AndrĂ© Le NĂ´tre, who created its current jardin Ă  la française look.  The central walkway follows a perspective leading first to place de la Concorde, and then the Arc de Triomphe.  

On the side closest to the Seine, the terrasse du Bord de l’eau is a lovely part of the garden. This tree-lined raised terrace offers a different view of the Louvre palace on one end, and the place de la Concorde on the other. As you move away from the Louvre, the Seine appears to the left, and you can admire the garden below on the right.

Located at the East end of the Champs-ElysĂ©es and lined with high-end hotels, place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. Its main features are the Luxor Obelisk (which dates back to ancient Egypt) and the two monumental fountains (the Fountain of the Seas and the Fountain of the Rivers).

Pont Alexandre III and the Seine

The Pont Alexandre III, which spans the Seine between the Invalides and the Grand and Petit Palais, was inaugurated during the 1900 World’s Fair. It is recognizable by its massive decorative columns mounted with gilded bronze Pegasi. The bridge was named after Czar Alexander III, who formed the Franco-Russian alliance with French president Sadi Carnot (1891-1893).

From the middle of the bridge, over the head of a statue of a river nymph, we can enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower, veiled in a halo of autumn haze.  In an instant however, the sun peeks out and the fog lifts. 

Place VendĂ´me

Place VendĂ´me is the center for fine jewelry in Paris.  Towering in the middle of the square, the VendĂ´me column was erected by Napoleon I in commemoration of the battle of Austerlitz. It was cast in bronze from cannons taken from the Russian and Austrian armies.

While JĂ©rĂ´me tries to get some good shots of the column standing out against the blue sky, StĂ©phanie takes a walk along the jewelers’ shop windows, and falls in love with a pair of gold and blue sapphire earrings. 

The Eiffel Tower 

Built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower is Paris’ most legendary landmark by far.  It’s a veritable icon. In the daytime, all over town, people scan their surroundings hoping to spot its famous outline. At night, the tower is easily spotted thanks to its golden appearance, with a beacon at the top, sweeping its light over the horizon. Most beautiful of all is when it lights up and sparkles against the dark sky for five minutes every hour after nightfall.

We recommend two spots to get a good view of this 324-meter-tall iron lady: the Champ de Mars and TrocadĂ©ro, on the other bank of the Seine. 

The corner of rue de l’UniversitĂ© and avenue de la Bourdonnais is another popular spot for Instagrammers. 

When the weather is nice, take the stairs or elevators up to the middle or upper level and enjoy an incomparable view of the city. To make the most of your visit, you can even try the Eiffel tower’s different shops and restaurants. Don’t forget to book your ticket upfront.

If you want to admire the tower from a different angle, we recommend taking the metro. Line 6 runs overground as it crosses the Seine over the Bir-Hakeim bridge, creating an impressive tracking shot effect.

Montmartre and SacrĂ© CĹ“ur 

From the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, towering at the very top of Montmartre (the highest point in Paris), the panoramic view of the city is breathtaking. The basilica, built in the Romano-Byzantine style, is easily recognizable by its immaculate white travertine stone façade, a material which was chosen for its self-cleaning properties upon contact with water.

We stay up there for a long while, admiring the view and trying to point out the different landmarks on the skyline below us. Just as we are about to leave, the sky is set ablaze with a brilliant sunset in hues of pink and orange. Such beauty! It truly makes the effort to climb the dozens of stairs needed to reach the top of the hill, worth it.  That being said, you can also take the funicular railway to the top.

Place du Tertre, just nearby, is a hub for painters and portrait artists. 

Before them, great artists such as AndrĂ© de Toulouse-Lautrec, Juan Miro or even Vincent Van Gogh, lived in Montmartre. The Bateau-Lavoir is one of Paris’ most famous artist residences, where such illustrious names as Pablo Picasso, AndrĂ© Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Guillaume Apollinaire and Jean Cocteau had their ateliers.

Montmartre is also known as the cabaret district, with legendary places such as le Lapin-Agile, chez Michou, or the world-famous Moulin Rouge. The cabaret Patachou was the debut stage for the likes of Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, and Charles Aznavour. 

We walk back down the hill via the steep side-streets and stairways of the bustling Abbesses quarter.

The Luxembourg Gardens

Stretching over 25 hectares, the Luxembourg Gardens are the gardens of the Luxembourg Palace, which is home to the French Senate. The palace was commissioned by Maria de’ Medici and inspired by the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. 

Located at the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, it is greatly appreciated by the locals for their daily walks and weekend runs. The gardens offer a range of different activities for all ages and all seasons: a puppet theater, a kiosk renting out little sail boats, a merry-go-round, pony riding, tennis courts, exhibits, a bandstand, an apiary, an orchard…

Musée d’Orsay

The MusĂ©e d’Orsay moved into the former railway station Gare d’Orsay in 1986. The building had been designed for the 1900 World’s Fair, making the museum’s architecture a work of art in itself. 

The museum’s collection spans different forms of artistic expression in the Western world from 1848 to 1914: painting, architecture, sculpture, decorative arts, and photography. It is well-known throughout the world for its vast collection of impressionist works (Van Gogh, Manet, CĂ©zanne, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Caillebotte, Pissarro, Sisley, Morisot, Signac…).

On the top floor, before entering the rooms dedicated to impressionist art, visitors eagerly pose and take pictures in front of the monumental clock, with an incredible perspective of the rooftops of Paris and the SacrĂ©-CĹ“ur visible through the glass dial. The scene feels like taking a deep breath before an incredible experience. 

Every time he comes to Paris, Jérôme loves to visit the Musée d’Orsay and really observe the paintings, especially impressionist pieces – with Paul Signac as a firm favorite.  The beauty of these works of art is truly enhanced by the setting of this old railway station.

Being able to take the time to contemplate a painting in its entirety, approaching it to look at certain details and savoring the feeling for a moment before moving on to the next, is a form of meditation to him.

Rooftops and department stores

On boulevard Haussmann, the department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are worth a visit, and not just for shopping lovers:

• Galeries Lafayette: don’t miss the massive interior cupola and the panoramic rooftop terrace, which offers a view of the surrounding rooftops and main landmarks of the city. 

• Our favorite: the view from the 7th-floor rooftop terrace of the Printemps department store, crowned by cut stone rotundas at every corner. This place is a gem that will take you back to Paris in its Art Nouveau heyday! The panoramic view of the OpĂ©ra Garnier, the PanthĂ©on, the Eiffel Tower, the dome of the Invalides and the rooftops of Paris, is unique. 

Another temple of shopping and French art de vivre, la Samaritaine, reopened this summer after 16 years of renovations. Do not skip a visit to this masterpiece Art Nouveau architecture.

The glass skylight, the Eiffel-style steel structure and the 115-meter-long peacock fresco are truly remarkable.

The Marais

The Marais district makes us feel like we’re in a village in the very heart of Paris. Despite attracting many tourists, it seems to have retained a vibrant local atmosphere. 

The Marais is known for its great diversity, long history, rich architectural and cultural heritage, and its bustling environment. It is home to a harmonious combination of cafĂ©s, bars, little shops, art galleries, paved side-streets, and world-famous landmarks. 

Here’s what you shouldn’t miss in the Marais:

• City Hall (HĂ´tel de Ville) with its Neo-Renaissance style architecture

• The Pompidou Center: this museum contains 6 floors of spaces dedicated entirely to art and culture. Its modern and contemporary art collection is the largest in Europe. 

• The Picasso Museum is dedicated to the life and work of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.

• Place des Vosges. This green haven surrounded by charming brick buildings is the oldest square in Paris. Such famous historical figures as Victor Hugo, Madame de SĂ©vignĂ© and Colette have lived here.

• The Jewish quarter and rue des Rosiers: a legendary street dotted with independent shops, falafel restaurants, and Jewish bakeries and grocer’s shops. 

• The 16th-century half-timbered houses on rue François Miron (like a piece of Alsace in Paris), and Nicolas Flamel’s house on rue de Montmorency. Built in 1407, it is the oldest house in the city. 

• The antiques shops in Village St Paul-Le Marais. If StĂ©phanie weren’t a translator, she would almost certainly have become an antiques dealer.

Continue your trip with a weekend in Strasbourg…

Why not extend your stay in France with a trip to Strasbourg? Strasbourg is a dynamic, European city, endowed with a rich cultural heritage (with several UNESCO World Heritage site), and has a great number of assets. The city is located only 1 hour and 50 minutes from Paris by train. By the time you’ve watched a movie or read a few chapters of the book that’s been lying on your bedside table for weeks, you’ve arrived. Discover our complete guide for your first visit to Strasbourg!

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Café Food Tea room

A sophisticated brunch in Strasbourg: Hotel Maison Rouge

Located between la Petite France and the Cathedral and a mere stone’s throw from place KlĂ©ber, the Hotel Maison Rouge is one of Strasbourg’s most iconic hotels. It recently reopened, looking like new after three years of renovations.

This 5-star establishment with 131 rooms offers a brunch menu to hotel clients and outside guests alike, every Sunday from 11:00 to 15:00.

After passing the hotel reception, we go up one floor to the Salons Mistinguett (named after the French cabaret entertainer, famous throughout the Belle Époque and Roaring Twenties). The staircase is decorated with stained-glass windows depicting scenes of Alsatian towns and villages.

The Salons Mistinguett have a particularly elegant interior, using a surprising yet harmonious blend of colors (antique pink, emerald green, with accents of yellow gold, black-and-white mosaic tiles, and greenery) and materials (marble surfaces, velvet seating, and clean-cut metal light fixtures). The choice of mixing Alsatian elements with Art Deco-style details works wonderfully well. The muted atmosphere, cushy velvet seats and calming jazzy playlist make a perfect combination for a cozy meal.

The hotel’s Sunday brunch allows you to sample both the breakfast buffet and Ă  la carte items, as well as cold and hot drinks, in an all-you-can eat combo at 48€ per person. 

The buffet offers a large variety of sweet treats (breakfast pastries, brioches, cakes, muffins, cookies, buns, fresh fruit salad, yogurt, desserts…), savory dishes (smoked salmon, cold cuts, shrimp, duck breast, hot dishes, cheese, marinated chicken, roasted vegetables…) and cold drinks (freshly squeezed juices, different kinds of water). 

Several sweet (pancakes, brioche French toast, Bircher muesli) and savory dishes (trout gravlax, avocado toast, any style of eggs) and hot drinks (a selection of coffee, tea, herbal tea, and hot chocolate) are made to order and served at the table. 

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Despite the hotel’s high standing, the team is neither haughty nor sniveling. Quite the opposite. Friendly hospitality is ingrained in the very backbone of the house, which has a prestigious history going back all the way to 1387. This heritage is mastered to a T, as the whole team does their utmost to pamper the guests and ensure their comfort.

We particularly enjoyed the Art Deco-inspired decor, the very attentive service, the hot chocolate and cappuccino with a rich milk froth, the subtly scented Earl Grey tea, the eggs Benedict served on a dampfnudel with trout gravlax, and the brioche French toast, which was wonderfully fluffy and moist.

Sunday brunch at the Hotel Maison Rouge is a new experience in sophistication and refinement, ideal for a relaxing moment in Strasbourg.

Reservations are recommended.

Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection
đź“Ť 4 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Strasbourg


Categories
Food Restaurant

A Michelin-star restaurant in Alsace

L’Auberge de l’Ill is a two-star Michelin restaurant nestled in the heart of an Alsatian village near Colmar and the Route des Vins, less than an hour’s drive from Strasbourg. Trying to pronounce “Illhaeusern” (Illhoyzern) is a journey in itself.

As soon as we arrive, we are shown to our table in the elegant and subtly decorated pièce alsacienne (Alsatian room), where we eagerly await our four-course symphony. A full wall of marquetry work, depicting a landscape from the Ried area, with bulrushes, reeds, storks, and herons, echoes the scenery of the nearby river meadow.

The waitstaff are attentive and discreet, with everyone collaborating smoothly in a well-choreographed dance.

Everything is elegantly plated and presented. The restaurant’s delicate, generous, and flavorful cuisine is imbued with the culinary tradition carried by the Haeberlin family through 150 years. Our meal is balanced and subtle. We take the time to savor every mouthful, every note of flavor. The score is played to perfection by chef Marc Haeberlin and his team.

We particularly appreciated the many little kindnesses from the team and carefully planned details throughout the meal, the inspiration drawn from local delicacies, and the Haeberlin family history, which is their great pride. As for the food, we loved trying their beurre Bordier, the famous butter from Saint-Malo, as well as the freshly baked bread, the pan-seared seabass in a mussel nage (which made Stéphanie like bouchot mussels!), and the richness of the chocolate dessert with Piedmont hazelnuts and Tahitian vanilla ice cream.

L’Auberge de l’Ill
đź“Ť2 rue de Collonges au Mont d’Or, 68970 Illhaeusern

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Event

Strasbourg Christmas Market 2021

After Strasbourg’s famous Christmas market was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Capital of Christmas will once again be full of holiday cheer from November 26th to December 26th, 2021. This year marks the beginning of a new era in the city’s Christmas tradition, whose “Christ child market” (Christkindelsmärik in Alsatian) dates back to 1570.

As Christmas time approaches, Strasbourg dons its gay apparel. In the market squares around town, the enticing scents of mulled wine, baked sweet treats, and savory tarte flambée fill the alleys between the stalls.

This year, 314 stalls (that look like charming little wooden cabins) spread out over 13 squares in the city center (and set up further apart than previous years) proudly offer local handicrafts and culinary specialties. Place Broglie, place de la Cathédrale, the Carré d’Or and place Kléber are all must-see spots during the holiday season.

Place Broglie

Place Broglie is one of the Christmas market’s most historical areas. This year, in addition to the market stalls, a video mapping show called “L’HĂ´tel des Contes” (the fairytale hotel) will be projected on the façade of City Hall (l’HĂ´tel de Ville), presenting the legend of the Christkindel (the Christ child), as well as the story of Saint Nicholas.

When he was a little boy, JĂ©rĂ´me would always scarf down a waffle from the La Gaufre Lorraine stall. The waffles were made to order and served right out of the iron, still piping hot. He would bite into the perfectly fluffy and crunchy treat, eating it so quickly he barely had time to warm his hands. The thick layer of powdered sugar covering the little squares on the waffle would always end up on his clothes. Unfortunately, this stand has long since disappeared from place Broglie … but the pleasure of reliving lovely childhood memories remains.

Place de la Cathédrale & place du Château

Nestled at the foot of Strasbourg Cathedral, the place de la CathĂ©drale market is the most iconic in the city. This narrow square, with its little wooden cabins surrounded by charming houses and side streets, and with the Cathedral and the Maison Kammerzell in the background, feels like a bubble of holiday cheer in the middle of town. If you’re looking for the spirit of Christmas, here and in the CarrĂ© d’Or is where you’ll find it.

The Nativity scenes inside the Cathedral are truly remarkable. The Strasbourg crèche from 1907 is 18 meters long and presents 5 scenes, from the Annunciation to the presentation of Jesus at the Temple (open until January 10th, 2022).

Place du Château offers a view of the cathedral from a different angle.

Place Kléber

Place KlĂ©ber is where you’ll find the Great Christmas Tree and the “Solidarity Village” (with stalls for 90 different non-profit organizations).

This year, the decorations on the massive Christmas tree (30 meters tall, 12 meters wide, and weighing 7 tons) are inspired by local ancestral traditions: carved wooden shapes, red and white baubles (a nod to the old tradition of using apples to decorate the tree), and cookie-cutter-like silhouettes reminiscent of Alsatian bredele (little Christmas cookies prepared in large quantities throughout December).

A city of lights

As night falls in Strasbourg, the Christmas lights start to twinkle. 33 kilometers of garlands and hundreds of lights illuminate the city and immerse you in the magic of Christmas.

• The starlit promenade follows this year’s theme, “Allumons les Ă©toiles” (let’s light the stars) and shows off the city’s cultural heritage. The itinerary, which is lined with over 600 stars, runs from Square Louise-Weiss (Petite France) and pont Sainte-Madeleine, stopping by place du MarchĂ© aux Poissons and quai des Bateliers on the way.

• Thanks to decorations created by the city and local business owners, Strasbourg is transformed into a city of lights.

The main decorated route runs from rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons all the way to the Great Christmas Tree in place Kléber.

In rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, the Porte des Lumières (gate of lights) marks the entrance to the Capital of Christmas.

In rue Mercière, angels with golden trumpets will encourage you to stop by place de la Cathédrale.

The streets of the Carré d’Or (rue des Orfèvres, rue du Sanglier, rue du Chaudron) show themselves in all their splendor. All aglow with warm yellow lights, shimmering garlands, red stars, and golden baubles, this neighborhood brings the enchantment of the season to life in a handful of narrow side streets around the Cathedral.

In rue des Grandes Arcades, alternating glittering baubles and red curtains will lead you to place Kléber and its massive Christmas tree.

In rue des Hallebardes, a row of giant mannele (Alsatian brioche men) light the way to the cathedral and place Gutenberg.

In rue des Tonneliers, you’ll find 22 bright barrel-shaped decorations, in reference to the street’s barrel-making history.

In rue du Maroquin, the decorated restaurant façades are also worth a detour.

Wait, there’s more!

• In Square Louise-Weiss (Petite France), the “Village de l’Avent” (Advent village) workshops invite participants to make Christmas decorations and greeting cards (limited room) from November 27th to December 26th. From December 27th to January 2nd, this space will become the “Village de l’après” (the After village), giving out advice to start the new year off right.

• The marchĂ© Off, or Off market (place Grimmeisen in la Petite France) offers a different approach to the Christmas celebrations, by “giving meaning to your Christmas shopping”. This ethical, fair, and eco-conscious market showcases organic products from either fair-trade networks, co-ops, or independent craftspeople. Here, the wooden cabins have been replaced by industrial containers and a market hall, making for 2 different spaces: one for workshops, activities, and conferences, the other equipped with a bar and a stage for shows.

• Various other events will take place throughout the month: the performance “1,2,3,4… Allumons les Ă©toiles” near the Vauban Dam (every Saturday at 18:00), a flea market (in the Great Hall in l’Aubette), around the world in Christmas traditions (cour Saint-Nicolas), DIY workshops (5e lieu), guided tours, conferences, and concerts.

Explore the full program of festivities and find more information on health and safety measures on the “Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas” website

If you want to experience more of the magic of Christmas, several other Alsatian towns also have a Christmas market: Haguenau, Wissembourg, Saverne, Obernai, Barr, Molsheim, Sélestat, Colmar, Riquewihr…

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Food Restaurant

A culinary gem in Strasbourg: Honesty

As soon as we enter the restaurant, the tone is set – elegance and character.

We climb a narrow staircase to reach the understated and intimate upstairs room, where the interior is centered on quality materials and soft, warm lighting.

Honesty’s menu consists of 2 starters, 3 mains, and 2 desserts at lunchtime, 3 starters, 5 mains, and 3 desserts for dinner and on weekends. You can choose between a main alone, and a 2-course or 3-course combination.

The cuisine is modern, creative, and feminine. Everything is prepared with fresh, quality products, creating as little waste as possible. Every dish is born out of a pursuit to achieve harmony and balance in flavors, and the ingredients are cooked to perfection. Little appetizers (mouthfuls, consommés, pre-desserts) are served between each course, thus skillfully punctuating every highlight of the meal, and reappropriating practices from gourmet restaurants.

The team’s attention to detail is obvious on every level, from the meticulous presentation of the dishes and sides to the choice of seating (the chairs are exceptionally comfortable) and tableware.

The menu changes monthly, following what’s in season and the chef’s inspiration.

Honesty is the perfect balance between fine dining and a brasserie feel. The atmosphere of this tiny restaurant is welcoming and relaxed – it’s a place where you can really take the time to enjoy a delicious meal. A wonderful time, whether for a night out with friends or a romantic evening with your partner.

The dynamic duo running the restaurant, Tiffany in the kitchen and Chloé front of house, clearly complement each other well. The cheerful and attentive Chloé makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

This restaurant perfectly illustrates the importance of honesty and sincerity in good food.  A lovely little gem in Strasbourg.

Honesty
đź“Ť 2 quai Finkwiller, Strasbourg

Categories
Food Restaurant

A cheese lover’s paradise in Strasbourg: La Cloche Ă  Fromage

La Cloche Ă  Fromage is an absolute must for any cheese lover visiting Strasbourg.

As soon as we enter the restaurant, an enticing cheesy scent – similar to the fragrance filling a fine cheesemonger’s – tickles our nostrils. A sign of a wonderful experience to come …

Our eyes are immediately drawn to the giant transparent cheese dome, which can hold up to 90 varieties of cheese.  When the restaurant first opened in 1988, this massive piece was named the world’s largest cheese dome by the Guinness Book of Records. The original dome was replaced in 2016, by an equally large, but more high-performance model that would also work with current storage standards.

The menu offers an array of themed cheese boards, different kinds of fondue (all-you-can-eat), half-wheel raclette served under a traditional grill, and other cheese-based specialties. A selection of seasonal dishes, with or without cheese, is also on the menu.

The tastefully decorated interior resembles an urban mountain inn, with a few industrial touches here and there, and the atmosphere is welcoming and friendly. The manager plays his role as cheese emcee to perfection, entertaining and delighting the guests at every turn. The team of servers is very attentive, answering questions and explaining the menu in at least three languages (French, German and English).

The cheeses are ripened in the restaurant’s in-house maturing cellar. The cheesemonger prepares each cheese board with great care, right next to the giant dome.  Like a painter with his colors, he arranges the flavors of the cheese boards by using the dome as a taste palette.

We particularly enjoyed the traditional fondue (with gruyère, emmental, comtĂ© and white wine, flambeed with kirsch) and the cheesemonger’s explanations. An inexhaustible source of knowledge about the different terroirs, designations, and varieties of cheese, he eloquently and passionately tells us about the impressive array of cheese on the board – which must be eaten in order, from mildest to strongest.

We recommend you make your reservation well in advance.

La Cloche Ă  Fromage
đź“Ť 27 rue des Tonneliers, Strasbourg

Categories
Café Food Restaurant

Eating healthy in Strasbourg: le CafĂ© potager

Le CafĂ© potager is a “fast good” cafĂ© in the center of Strasbourg.

Savory dishes, both hot and cold (salads, bowls, quiches) are displayed all around the the counter, and there are several vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free options. When you pick a lunch or brunch menu, you can choose to have an appetizer or dessert (pie, cheesecake, fruit salad, cookies, panna cotta…) with your main as well.

Their coffee, from various origins, is all roasted in Strasbourg and offered in a wide selection of forms (americano, cold brew, espresso, moccacino, latte macchiato…), while their tea, hot or iced, comes from Thé des Muses just around the corner. You could also go for a freshly squeeed juice, soda, or lemonade.

All the dishes are tasty, fresh and house-made, and the baristas are cheerful and friendly.

You can enjoy your meal inside, on the terrace on rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the summertime, or take it to go.

We love the verdant interior with details of light wood, metal and light bulbs.

For digital nomads: the café offers free wifi gratuit and power outlets to charge your phone or laptop.

Le Café potager
đź“Ť 5 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Strasbourg

Categories
Food Restaurant

An Italian restaurant in Strasbourg: La Vetta

La Vetta is a family-run Italian ristorante with an intimate atmosphere, located in a small side street near Strasbourg Cathedral.

Filomena greets her customers like old friends, and takes care of every table with enthusiasm and generosity. Her husband Antonio – bandana tied around his head – works hard in the kitchen with his sous-chef. Italian pop streams out of the speakers, immediately immersing you in the feeling of Neapolitan dolce vita.


The minimal menu is completed by a board of seasonal specials (like truffles, mozzarella di bufala, linguine alle vongole…). The selection is wide enough to satisfy every taste and preference.

For instance, you could start with a glass of prosecco or spritz accompanied with a Parma ham bruschetta, before continuing with a pizza La Vetta (with Parma ham and arugula) or a meat dish (like saltimbocca alla Romana), fish (grilled squid), pasta, risotto, or a vegetarian dish, and end on a sweet note with a tiramisĂş.

The dishes are house-made, tasty, well-balanced, and cooked to perfection. In the course of a meal, you’re transported to the heart of Italy. Don’t forget to order the tiramisú, which is among our top 3 best tiramisús in town.


La Vetta is one of our favorite places in Strasbourg. One of the reasons for that is the fact that we had our very first date here, when an unexpected serenade from a mandolin player made us feel like we were in Lady and the Tramp. O sole mio… !

Reservations recommended.
(These photos were taken at the beginning of dinner service. When we left, the restaurant was full.)

Ristorante La Vetta 
đź“Ť 16B rue du Sanglier, Strasbourg

Categories
Food Restaurant

An urban cheesemaker in Strasbourg: Pour de Bon

Pour de Bon (“For good”) is a fairytale come true: the story of the designer who became a cheesemaker. A bold new career choice, but such a fitting one. 

Camille welcomes curious and hungry cheese lovers into her world, for breakfast, brunch (Saturdays and Sundays), lunch or dinner.

Having trained with a « Meilleur Ouvrier de France » cheesemaker, she then went on to work in several Alsatian farms and delicatessens. She’s also drawn inspiration from her encounters and travels, all the way to Australia. 

This pocket-sized restaurant really manages to recreate the atmosphere of an Alsatian farmstead inn, but in the city. The decor mixes modern and traditional elements, while the ingredients are fresh, seasonal, house-made or sourced locally. 

Camille, the bubbly, friendly and cheerful owner, makes her cheeses in-house from cow’s milk or goat milk, in Europe’s smallest cheese factory. She prepares her dishes with love and care, and welcomes her clients as though they were friends.

The brunch menu is simple, but creative and well-balanced, generous, fresh, and light.

We enjoyed the selection of house-made cheeses (cow’s milk, goat cheese and “quaimembert”), made on quai des PĂŞcheurs. Camille also performed the remarkable feat of making StĂ©phanie like Camembert and goat cheese! 

We also enjoyed the toasted brioche with apples, roasted beetroot, bacon chips and fromage frais, as well as the pancakes with fromage frais and popcorn.

Camille’s passion and care for her work clearly shine through in her cheeses and in the balance of flavors. 

Sometimes talent really makes it worth while to start your own business “for good”! 

We tested Pour de Bon for the first time while restaurants were still open in France. Since then, we’ve also tried out the take-away brunch, and found it just as fresh and delicious as ever. We doubly recommend this place. Camille is a flavor magician! At the moment, in addition to brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, you can order a selection of treats to go: “apĂ©ro” boxes and house-made cheeses, as well as tasty dishes and desserts for both lunch and dinner.

Pour de Bon
📍19 quai des Pêcheurs, Strasbourg 

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
đź“Ť 2 rue du Poumon, Strasbourg

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
đź“Ť 4 rue des Aveugles, Strasbourg

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 

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 cafĂ©” 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 StĂ©phanie 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
đź“Ť11 rue des Bouchers, Strasbourg

Categories
Café Food

A neo-African cafĂ© in Strasbourg: Hey Mama

Located in a former confectionery shop, Hey Mama is a cafĂ© 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
đź“Ť3 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
đź“Ť72 avenue des Vosges, Strasbourg

Categories
Café Food Tea room

A tea room in Strasbourg: Ă”jourdhui

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
đź“Ť11 rue de la Brigade Alsace-Lorraine, Strasbourg

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
đź“Ť 15 place Saint-Etienne, Strasbourg
đź”— View the website (in French)

Categories
Café Food

A coworking cafĂ© in Strasbourg: AnticafĂ©

AnticafĂ© 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
đź“Ť 1 rue de la Division Leclerc, Strasbourg
đź”— View the website (in French)