TTalk to you soon and keep up the good content. Interrail Pass is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and its founding principle of sustainable travel and deep connection, connected by rail across Europe, is no longer in tune with the times. It also remains a great value – while people still think of “interrailing” as a student activity, passes have been available since 1998, regardless of age.
For Brits like me, mourning their EU passports, it is a wonder and a joy to discover that we are welcome to participate in this scheme. Not only are interrail passes available after Brexit, they also cover channel crossings from London to Eurostar by paying a reservation fee. That is why I have decided to celebrate the half century of Interrail with a grand tour of the 21st century.
I decided to amaze the traditional cultural headquarters of Paris, Florence and Vienna and use a month-long interrail pass to explore their 21st century counterparts – the undiscovered European cities where history is linked to contemporary urban life; Great places to celebrate the food, art and ideas of Europe today.
Over the next six weeks, I will provide a guide to some of the best European cities that can now be reached by train, starting from an inspiring location in eastern France.
Sticking to the eastern border of Alsace, Strasbourg stops the move of being both bizarre territories. And A publisher for post-national modernity. From the dreaded canals of medieval buildings to the wide, tree-lined streets of Newstad, from the Renaissance palaces to the European Court of Human Rights designed by Richard Rogers / Cloud Buche, this is a city whose architectural eclecticism tells the story. Has an optimistic view of the continent and its future.
At its heart is the Grande-eel, surrounded by river eels and canals, first to protect it and later to strengthen its industry. You can cross the island on foot in 15 minutes, if you don’t get lost in its narrow streets. For orientation, the dark gothic spiers of its 13th-century cathedral can often be seen above the sloping roofs – the exceptionally carved tower is 142 meters high, and can be climbed for an epic view into the city.
The history of Strasbourg emerges from its colorful center, and the street names given in the two languages remind us of how many times the land has changed hands between Germany (where it was originally part of the Holy Roman Empire) and France. Bridges of various designs connect Grande-il with the larger Neustad, where the German emperor Wilhelm I founded a new city that doubled its population during the Franco-Prussian War in the late 19th century. Yet, even here, in the midst of the university’s stone face, Saffron made his new people to help the “Germans”, the inability to choose and stick to Strasbourg’s style is remarkable, whether it’s the neo-classical library or the beautiful Jugendsteel face. Of nearby houses.
The student population here is the second largest in France, and their presence adds to the vibrant atmosphere – it’s a miracle that a city with so many wooden framed buildings never feels twain. Bars and restaurants with tables spread across sidewalks and squares, from gourmet burger joints to Michelin-starred gastronomy, while thin-nosed trams run through the main streets; Along with buses, they keep traffic light, and bicycle lanes often shade main roads. Grande-ele is a pedestrian paradise, with designer boutiques from Rue des Juif, from window-shopping to browsing stalls at Place Kleber, where regular markets run from farmers’ produce to second-hand books.
As the city expands north and east, its character extends beyond its French-German heritage to embrace the continent’s post-war, borderless philosophy. In the Wacken Quarter, the shining glass of the European Parliament shines on the shores of the Sweepstakes, surrounded by institutions and embassies that host thousands of government officials from its 27 member nations. Its less-than-attractive port area, meanwhile, has been reclaimed by eco-development and cooperatives, extending eastward towards the Rhine, where trams crossing the new bridge can take people to and from Kehl, Germany, in a few minutes.
Where to eat
Alsatians take pride in their cuisine, and are readily available in traditional cuisine. Profit subs – The cross between the wine bar and the family restaurant – the cluster in the center of the Grande-Elle, and the buildings on the canal banks of Petite France where tanners, millers and fishermen worked. There’s a particularly exciting atmosphere at Winstub Le Clou, where the wood-paneled walls are buzzing with din as diners enjoy their regional beef stew (baeckeoffe), Or cream cheese (bibeleskäs). Famous flammekuechen – One thing, onion and bacon (or vegetable) flatbread – is so popular that it has created a chain of fast-food restaurants, Flame.
Be aware that dishes in winstubs can be belly-busters, and are often meat-based. Les Chauveins, which opened in 2018, is the first restaurant to offer traditional rentals as a small-plate experience, and this is a revelation. Chef Quentin Bangratz, with his maître-d’son Yannick, offers gastronomic, tapas-style versions of this typical hearty fare that puts the delicacy into “local delicacies”, from tiny pieces. Fleischschnacka Rhino’s seasonal white asparagus-flavored cappuccino – pasta-roasted beef.
Meanwhile, the “bistronomic” restaurant La Hache offers the region’s famous black pudding (Black pudding) Mouthwatering sausage-and-mash, and its dining room in the old customs house is conveniently located within 10 meters of a good cocktail bar, if you need aperitif or digestive. Le Douanier is owned by Solomon Akbult, who runs a bartending school that has helped promote the city’s growing mixology scene. For the full speaking experience, head to Eden Place, hidden behind velvet beds and concrete walls behind the pizza parlor’s kitchen – or for good vibes, try the Drunky Stark Social Club, which opened its magnificent oval bar on two floors last year. A bank that has been abandoned for three decades.
The past and future of Strasbourg is an excellent example of how the barrage survives on the Wauban, a 17th-century dam built to flood the city if it ever came under attack. The tunnel at the base of the dam is a unique collection of discarded and broken statues – and on its far side, a monochrome manga-style mural announces the entrance to the 20-year-old Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (Mamcs). A recent revision of its permanent collection is an object lesson to make modern art accessible, a ground floor that works thematically (The Buddy, The Brass Stroke), and studios where visitors can experience Kandinsky’s colorful tiled music room, then create them. . Own audio-inspired composition.
Together, the city’s museums offer a detailed view of the complex history of the Roman era. The gallery, dedicated to Tomi Ungerer, pays tribute to an Alsatian illustrator and satirist who is beloved for his children’s books. Classical music plays a major role in the cultural life of the city, thanks to its Philharmonic Orchestra, its Opera National du Rin, and its world-class conservator, while La Latera features a wide range of gigs, festivals and club nights. , Kept in the former dairy. Performances at the Theater National de Strasbourg are largely in French, but some fringe venues, such as the Theater de la Choc, specialize in performances in the Alsatian language, with subtitles.
Outside / Neighbor
The Parc des L’Orangery has existed since the French Revolution, and its Josephine pavilion (named after Napoleon’s queen) was built to accommodate 140 orange trees confiscated by Republicans from some local elites. Northeast of Neustadt, this welcoming green space outside the crowded Grande-Ile can be easily reached by bus or bike; More roundabout e-line tram rides provide excellent views of the European Parliament building along the way. The park alone is worth a look for storks: when they arrive in September each year, they build their nests by the trees, where they care for their young and gracefully head over 2,600 hectares (6,425 acres) of parkland.
The road back to Neustadt passes through the consular district, with flags and placards in large residences showing all the countries represented in the European administration and in the botanical gardens of the university. Next to them is the unique sunken building (now abandoned) of the Department of Seismology, the first of its kind on the continent; Next to the university library – its roof adorned with figures of famous men teaching – are the newly restored Art Nouveau municipal baths.
Where to live
Opened at the end of 2021, Hotel Leonor (double the € 111 room only) is a stylish fusion of Strasbourg’s past and present. Only the beginning of the 19th century mask; Behind it is a secret courtyard overlooked by a more impressive building, the former mansion of Marshall Leonor, the governor of Alsace. With French interior design by French designer Jean-Philippe Neuel and two Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stam-Corby-inspected restaurants, Leonor has already become a place to drink and eat, an urban refuge under the shadow of Saint Pierre-le-Jean. The church, which dates back to early medieval times, and less than a minute from the canal.
Eurostar provided travel on an interrail pass from London St. Pancras to Paris; Prices start at € 185 (interrail.eu/en). The trip was provided by a visit to Strasbourg (visitstrasbourg.fr)