Coming into Strasbourg, we followed the canal around to les ponts couverts, the covered bridges. Having heard the name, I was surprised to discover that the bridges were in fact open to the air- with only a low railing suggesting any form of cover! The name came from the middle ages, when the bridges were passageways covered in wood. Many centuries later, the bridges’ wooden coverings are long gone, but the stone pathways remain. The bridges are punctuated by four fortified towers, vestiges of the previous defensive borders of the town.
From the other side of the canal, we took a walk along le barrage de Vauban , the Vauban weir. Unlike the ‘covered bridges’, this weir is actually a covered bridge! Previously important for loading and unloading shipping cargo, the passage across one of the larger canals contains a series of information displays (in French) on the history of Strasbourg and the development of the city throughout time. We also stumbled on some very interesting statues that once decorated the Cathedral. We then climbed the stairs to the open terrace on the top of the passageway. From here we had a stunning view of the ‘covered bridges’ , the city centre and the cathedral.
We then retraced our steps to explore the little islands of La Petite France, the medieval neighborhood. Much less colourful than Colmar, but just as intriguing, we were content to take our time to enjoy exploring the little alleyways that wound through this part of the town.
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