I'm back in France, at least for a little while. I arrived here in the middle of the afternoon by train from Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. There are several of hotels rights across the street from the train station in Strasbourg, so it wasn't hard to find accommodations. Once I got settled into my hotel I spent a few hours finalized my plans for the next couple days.
Some of the places I want to visit are out in the country, so I will be renting a car for that. Most of the auto rental places have nothing available for tomorrow, but one company may have something first thing in the morning. If I can't get a car tomorrow, I will defer my visit to the country until Friday and I'll spend the day doing a bit of site seeing locally.
The two main things I want to see near Strasbourg are the town of Saint Die and parts of the Maginot Line.
The town of Saint Die is about 60 km south west of Strasbourg. It is where my ancestors on my father's side were from before they moved to Canada in the 1600's.
The Maginot Line was one of the most spectacular blunders of WWII. It was an elaborate mostly subterranean defence network built by France between 1930 and 1940 to stop the Germans. The problem was that it wasn't long enough and the German's just attacked France via Belgium and their unprotected border to the north. Portions of the Maginot Line about 50 km north east of Strasbourg are well preserved and open to visitors.
I also want to visit an area near Luxembourg where the Mondor name may have originated. I contemplated driving there from here, but it's just a little too far so I'll take the train that way later.
Before dinner I had a quick look at a few sites in Strasbourg, the Barrage Vauban, Petite France, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
This is the Barrage Vauban. It's a dam built to prevent river-borne attacks on the city back around the 13th century. You can walk across it (through the inside) and go up on the top during the day.
This is the walk way through the Barrage Vauban.
This is another smaller passage that goes across, but it's closed to the public.
Along the first passage way mentioned above there were all kinds of old statues apparently in storage. Here's a few.
This is the east end of the dam.
This is the view from the top looking towards the center of Strasbourg. Petite France is in the foreground.
This is one of several canals near the Barrage Vauban. The center of Strasbourg is actually an island surrounded by water from the Ill River which is actually split into several canals on the west part of the city center.
This is the Notre Dame Cathedral. It's a little hard to photograph because it's so big and the surrounding buildings are quite close.
The inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral.
This is just a shot of the street next to where I had dinner. I'm showing it because it's symbolic for what was going on in Strasbourg tonight. In the first picture of the Cathedral notice that there are lots of people in the street. Well, by the time I was done dinner all the streets in the city center were packed with people taking in a music festival. There were bands on almost every block, some of them may actually have been good, but there were so many of them playing at the same time it mostly just sounded like noise. That is, all that music fit together about as good as these buildings do.