My husband and I are taking a quick trip to Europe at the end of the month and will be spending 3 days in Cologne, Germany and 3 days in Strasbourg, France -- we want to make the most of our trip! Do people have suggestions for the best attractions to visit or places to stay and restaurants to enjoy!
Don't skip Strasbourg! You'll really enjoy the contrast between the big city, more modern Germany and the old country style of the French Alsace region. Strasbourg has been both German and French and the influences there in both cuisine and architecture are quite obvious. Do go and explore some of the small towns around it.
Riquewihr is also very beautiful - a bit busier than Bergheim, but nice and they have a lot of wine tasting rooms and bakeries. The Alsace is a wine region, so you'll find many, many places to stop for tastings and many vineyards to choose from. The smaller, quieter
Hunawihr is close by. There are really nice butterfly gardens close to this and every where you go in the region, look for storks. They nest on chimney tops and platforms all over.
Ribeauville is a great place to look for storks and another wonderful little town. None of these places are far away. Stop at them all if you can. They are just so fun to see and taste your way though trying wines and cheeses.
As for Cologne, I'll just add that I really enjoy the loop across the river and back, walking from the
Kölner Dom to the Rhein and crossing the bridge there that's covered in locks left by romantic couples (add your own if you'd like), then walking along the waterfront north to the next bridge and crossing back over. At that place, you'll see the
Schokoladenmuseum which is absolutely a great place to stop, but a bit pricy to eat there. Instead, wind through the
Altstadt-Nord, the narrow streets of old town between the chocolate museum and the Dom and enjoy the food and ambience there. If you can rent a bike or have one with you, you can be truly authentic and bike along the Rhein from Cologne. It's a beautiful ride.
If you have time on your drive to drive through
Luxembourg and stop in
Luxembourg City, do go at least for lunch or an overnight. It's on your way (sort of) and it another great place to see in your travels.
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We moved to Cologne 3 years ago and always was looking for special places, not very popular and not very touristic cos that way you won't get real picture.
This place is very popular among natives since they got great brewery and awesome cooks. I remember once waiting in queue an our to get something to eat so you need to go there quite early in the evening.
This is great place to enjoy live jazz music and improvisations. Have been there 4-5 times and every time got new group/people playing/singing. Beer is verry expensive but it's worth. You don't need to pay entrance fee but have to appreciate artists work differently.
This is a small park with lots of most of the time modern sculptures and those guys keep changing sculptures periodically. Can't tell more about cos not quite in the art but what I can tell was excited to see.
Ehrenfeld is "hipster" district of cologne as my colleges used to call it. This club is quite nice, organisers are have good taste and not getting only heavy electronic/club music..
This place is especially nice when it's dark cos one can enjoy Cologne cathedral, metal train bridge and all other nice and beautify sites in cologne in near.
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Next to the famous Dom (Cathedral) of Cologne, I really appreciated the Roman-Germanic Museum, full of very interesting archaeological finds (glass artifacts, mosaics, bronze statues, jewellery...). You wouldn't a priori expect Roman vestiges in Germany, but the Roman Empire once had a capital (out of four) in Trier. The museum is very educative, with lots of interpretation boards. Too bad their website isn't translated in English...
If you go to Strasbourg which I strongly suggest you will not regret it. Strasbourg is a mix of French and German. Its landmark is the Gothic cathedral - don't miss at 12:30PM the show of the astrological clock dating from 1500's. Also you will love walking around the Old Town -- The district of La Petite France is very picturesque; there are be lot's of photo opp around town with geranium covered timber-frame houses . Food is great too -- german heartiness with French sophistication -- specialties include the Choucroute (sauerkraut with charcuterie); Tarte flambee. Winstubs'Kaechele are the alsatian bistros - great food and conviviality. You 'll have to try the local beer and wines that are produced from the vineyards grown right outside of Strasbourg. Speaking of wine you should visit the 600 year old cellars of Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg for wine tasting.
Lot's of art too-
Palais Rohan is a must. Here is a link to a recent post I wrote http://enchanted-france.blogspot.com/2013/12/five-reasons-to-visit-strasbourg.html . And if you need further advice and planning you may visit my site www.enchanted-france.com. I am a French travel specialist. Happy travels!
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When the weather's nice, go for a stroll or a picnic at
Parc de l'Orangerie in Strasbourg! You can walk there from the city center and pass through the beautiful Orangerie quarter!