Gare Centrale, Petite France and l’Artichaut in Strasbourg

Gare Centrale, Petite France and l’Artichaut in Strasbourg

Thursday of our week in Strasbourg, France was a mixed bag – part practical, part leisurely, part on my own, and part with Therese.  As for that last one, I hoped that Therese would spend the entire afternoon with me; but that was a matter of how quickly her business with her client (in nearby Haguenau).  We would keep in touch by text during the afternoon to figure out when and where we would meet.

Ah yes, roaming.  On many trips, I don’t activate my phone at all, but for this one, I decided that, since the two of us would be in different places, it would be important to both be in touch; therefore, I contacted Verizon and had them put me on a long distance plan.  It cost me $10 a day for every day I used it – they have other plans available, but this one sounded the best for me.

I began the day by taking the tram to our usual stop in the middle of the city, Homme de Fer, and then walking a few blocks northwest to the train station, or Gare Centrale.  I wanted to buy some tickets for the next day’s trip to the city of Colmar – there are lots of trains every day there, but I just wanted to be careful, to make sure we had a reserved seat and so forth.  I was delighted to make the trip, since the train station building is very interesting.  The inside is an old building, with stained glass windows, etc.; but the exterior is all polished glass and metal, very modern looking.

With tickets in hand, I proceeded to the leisurely balance of the day.  I began by exploring an area of Strasbourg known as Petite France (the reason why it is called that are complicated, but have something to do with the area once being occupied by a hospice).  It is a neighborhood that features some of the most medieval-looking half-timbered houses in Strasbourg, and also is known for its channels (with beautiful tall defensive towers) and bridges.

After spending a good deal walking through the Petite France area, drinking in the quaint atmosphere and admiring the views, I headed a bit northeast to see a small church, Eglise Saint-Jean de Strasbourg.  This one wasn’t on my list, but it came up on Google as a church that was near me, so I thought, why not?

The church is rather plain, but its white interior with minimal decoration and stained glass windows is rather charming.  One of the first things I saw when I walked in the door was a small window that depicts how the church was destroyed by bombing during World War II.  I gather that, while it took a couple decades for the church to be rebuilt, it has been recreated exactly as it was.

By now I was getting hungry, and the previous day’s walking had told me that there were many good food options on the Grand’Rue, so I went back there to find some lunch.  The first place to catch my eye was l’Artichaut, a cafe and bar that has an extensive beer list.  I ordered a lunch special of linguine bolognese which came with a free tea.  And the tea (I asked for mint, which they had) was accompanied by a complimentary Speculoos cookie, one of my favorites, so that was a fitting conclusion to a satisfying meal.

At this point, having enjoyed a lovely morning and a good lunch, I was hoping to meet Therese soon.  But in exchanging texts, I discovered that she was still tied up with her job, so I would have to entertain myself for a while yet.  In the next post I will tell you all about how the day concluded.  For now, I will leave you with a couple of wood carvings from the delightful half-timbered houses in Petite France, Strasbourg.

About Karl Peterson

Karl Peterson is an avid traveler, passionate about food and food-related entertainment, completely allergic to dairy. He is founder, owner and principle contributor to "The Dairy Free Traveler" blog. The Dairy Free Traveler perfectly dovetails two of his greatest areas of interest: traveling near and far, and searching for great cuisine (especially dairy free!) The Dairy Free Traveler publishes original material about the dairy free lifestyle, eating the best food in the most interesting destinations around the world. Karl's tours take him from thriving New York City, to exotic Marrakesh, to elegant Paris bistros -- (yes! even Parisians have gotten on the dairy free bandwagon.) The Dairy Free Traveler himself also engages with independent dairy free food producers, highlighting new dairy free product launches and events that support dairy free entrepreneurs. Peterson is among the top 7 most widely read TripAdvisor reviewers in New York City and is repeatedly cited as a Top Contributor at His reviews have garnered more than 542,000 readers -- half in the U.S., and half among the many countries he has visited around the world. Beyond writing this blog, Peterson is a published author, with contributions to "Savoring Gotham" edited by Andrew F. Smith (published 2015 by Oxford University) and the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese (a bit ironic, yes, but a professional is often asked to stretch beyond their comfort zone!).
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