This past weekend was Easter, which left me with some free time as my family was headed to Normandy. I decided to celebrate in Strasbourg, the beautiful capital city of the Alsace region of eastern France. My friend, Erin, joined me as we booked week-of train tickets and headed off to the charming french town.
Strasbourg is less than 2 hours from Paris by speed train. Erin and I took early trains Saturday morning which put us in Strasbourg by 9:00 am. We dropped our bags at our hotel and set off to explore. I had a list of recommendations from a blogger who lives in Strasbourg and whom I had met once before in Paris. (Check out her blog here! Thanks again, Molly!)
Our first stop was to Christian for pastries and tea. They have a hidden tea room if you make your way through the shop, around the back, and up a flight of stairs! After an early morning of traveling, the caffeine was greatly appreciated. We shared a brioche shaped like an Easter bunny.
The pastry shop is located directly next to the most stunning landmark in Strasbourg, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. It’s hard to even express how impressive and incredible this church is. The height of it is astonishing and its distinctive sandstone gives it an almost pink hue which is beautiful. Pictures cannot do it justice- or even capture it all at once!
From there, we wandered along the river to La Petite France. This has to be the most recognizable quarter of Strasbourg. Filled with half-timbered buildings from the 16th and 17th century, this area was my favorite. Something about it felt not-quite French and not-quite German; it was a beautiful blend of cultures. We wandered the streets and bridges for a while, taking in the architecture and feel. The flowers were just beginning to bloom and I can imagine in the late spring and summer it is simply breath-taking. I recommend going to the top of the covered bridge to take in a beautiful view of Petite France.
From there we had lunch at Bloom. The entrees were all health food focused and absolutely delicious. This restaurant was recommended to us and did not disappoint. Also, I was obsessed with the aesthetic of all white, terrazzo counters, and hints of pink. I was in love.
After some more exploring of the town that afternoon, we freshened up at our hotel, and then enjoyed a bottle of wine by the river at sunset. The golden hour light was so beautiful against the buildings and reflections on the water. Strasbourg was full of families, seemingly enjoying the Easter vacation, which kept people-watching interesting, and adorable! The city had such a warm and welcoming vibe, making it a perfect quick getaway spot for friends and families alike.
The famous dish of the region is flammekueche, or tarte flambée. Essentially, its a very, very thin crust pizza toped with crème fraîche, onion, and lardon (thin strips of bacon). When we were getting wine, our waiter suggested a local spot, just around the corner, to check it out. The tarte flambée was incredible; the salad we had ordered on the side was another story. It came topped with cold hotdogs and so much cheese! We had to ask for extra lettuce because there was only enough for each of us to have 3 pieces! We were dying laughing and decided just to stick with the tarte.
Side note: I enjoyed the tarte flambée so much that I made it for the kids on Tuesday night and it was a big hit! I’ll link the recipe I used here but there are many recipes and variations out there to find. I added Emmental cheese to mine. It was simple to make- even with making my own dough- and everyone loved it.
On Easter Sunday, we stopped by a patisserie (I got a lemon tarte, Erin got a quiche) on our way to an English church service we found online. We had a little trouble locating the church, but managed to find it just as the service was starting. As we had seen most of the town the day before, went to a pub for lunch and enjoyed some local beer and another tarte flambée.
From there we strolled back to Petite France one last time and enjoyed the sunshine. We stopped for pastries and tea in the area. We couldn’t resist a lamb-shaped bread we saw in every shop window that Easter weekend.
While we were picking up our bags from our hotel, we received an email letting us know our train for that afternoon had been canceled! Our original train was not a speed train and was going to be 4 hours and 40 minutes, in second-class. In an Easter-miracle twist, our new train was a speed train, put us in Paris 2 hours earlier than expected, and we got to sit first-class! We were so thankful.
Strasbourg was a beautiful eastern french town. It’s quaint and quiet compared to the big city I call home. I would highly recommend this as a day trip from Paris- just make sure you book a speed train!
I’m working on posts from my recent trips to Norway and Copenhagen, so look out for those in the coming week!