I waited three days for the rain to stop. And then, I decided to make a run for it. A run for the border, that is. Well, okay I didn’t actually run – I’ve already learned my lesson on that one. No, this run to the border had a lesson of a different kind.
When traveling with kids, timing is everything.
This was supposed to be one of those hey-look-isn’t-France-so-stinkin’-amazing-and-check-it-out-my-kids-think-so-too posts. But, that was before I realized T-Rex had bruised his heel while swimming the day before. The boy who could hike the tallest mountain in South Korea was not even interested in walking a hundred meters.
Big Foot developed an awful cough and was majorly grumpy. Turns out the poor thing had a touch of bronchitis. Nice one, mama.
And, Screech, well, he’s just a major sass these days since he’s going through the “impossible 3’s.” Don’t let anyone tell you the twos are terrible. They’re a cake walk compared with the threes.
So there we were, a band of aches, pains, and trantrums, stomping our way around Strasbourg. Below is a peek at our adventure.
The first thing I do when researching a new destination is to search for existing kid-friendly city guides. I mainly look for playgrounds, natural attractions, inexpensive places to eat, and shops hawking wares that my boys would like.
I found a few good tips here, including the suggestion to visit the largest and oldest park in Strasbourg, L’Orangerie.
Not only does L’Orangerie have an expansive playground, but it also has a small zoo (free).
My boys enjoyed seeing all sorts of creatures like this owl, as well as ostriches, goats, mountain lions, flamingos, tortoises..
Bonus – the park has restrooms at the west entrance (Allee de la Robertsau)..
and they’re also free!!
As we left the park, I noticed that it is located very close to the Council of Europe. Strasbourg also houses the EU Parliament. Unfortunately, my kids aren’t quite into government yet, so a visit to these institutions will have to wait.
We hopped a bus to take us to the city center, and passed the beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral on the way.
After stepping off the bus, we discovered this funky fountain (Fontaine de Janus). It would’ve been a nice place to tear into a baguette, but I was just plain ol’ too cold.
I should mention that Strasbourg has one of the best Christmas markets in all of France and it just happens to be open after Christmas as well.
But I have to be honest. I was not in search of winter trinkets. No siree, I wanted a burrito. Doc Sci was ready to order tacos for a month. To go. But La Cocina‘s owners decided to take a siesta… for two weeks.
Instead, we ate our sandwiches in the Petite France section of Strasbourg which is positively charming.
We discovered two playgrounds right on the canals (near Rue des Moulins).
We were totally bummed about the burritos, which killed our appetite for even the smallest bite of Alsatian cuisine. Should you be keen on downing a flammkuchen, do so at one of these funky little weinstubs.
Strasbourg seemed to be brimming with two kinds of shops: those offering sweets..
and those selling ridiculously cute but outrageously overpriced children’s clothes.
I’m sure you guessed that we went for the sweets. A great stop to make with the kiddos is La Cure Gourmande.
They get you in the door with the free cookie samples and keep you there with the mouth-watering caramels.
Right outside La Cure Gourmande is the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. It’s magnificent. And huge. I wanted to climb the tower, but all the injuries/attitudes/coughing shut that idea down right away.
So despite my plans for spending the day lollygagging around Strasbourg, France, we decided to fold and go home. All three boys dozed in the car while Doc Sci and I took in this amazing sky. Strasbourg, I’ll be back.
Visiting the Alsace region of France? Don’t miss Colmar or a trip to the three castles near Ribeauville.