germany

Cruising the Waters: Barging through the canals of Strasbourg, France

Located near the border of Germany, the charming town of Strasbourg, France invites with its architecture, canals, and streetside cafés. According to TripAdvisor, the number one attraction is the cathedral. Victor Hugo referred to this 12th-century Gothic structure as a “light and delicate marvel.” It is breathtakingly beautiful and the views of the Rhine River from the top of Strasbourg Cathedral will linger in your heart forever. 
Find your favorite scenes casually jaunting through Strasbourg, canal to café on a private barge (captain included), or café to café, indulging in the region’s epicurean delights. 
Quickly becoming the ultimate way to explore, traveling the canals in your private hotel on the water, a luxury barge, is a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you are seeking wine, culinary delights, hot air-ballooning, or sight-seeing, your 6-star accommodations can transport you to where you need to go. 
Strasbourg is in the region of Alsace, and home to a lovely Crémant, a bubbly produced outside of the Champagne region of France. A private tour of the vineyards is highly recommended. The area is one of France’s exceptional wine regions, producing mostly white wines such as Riesling. Follow the Route des Vins, or Wine Route, through picturesque villages like Eguisheim and Ribeauvillé for a memorable journey.
I had the opportunity to explore the canals of Strasbourg on a privately-owned barge. Upon arriving in Strasbourg, I spent the first night at Régent Petite France, a five-star boutique hotel nestled between the banks of River III and cobblestone magic in the La Petite Historic District. We filled our senses with local food and wine, wandering through cobblestone streets and unsuspecting alleyways to dine and sip at quaint bistro tables, all while feeling transported to a simpler time. 
Afternoons across the canal locks come to life at the French café courtyards serving a selection of French cheeses, foie gras, and French wine. Regional dishes derive from German culture. In Alsace, the most famous dish, choucroute garnie, is a version of German sauerkraut—a fermented cabbage cooked in white wine, beer, or cider and seasoned with juniper berries and black peppercorns and garnished with boiled potatoes and a variety of meats. This is a traditional Sunday meal.
True to Strasbourg’s ambiance, pastries are a popular delight of the area. You will find many patisseries with beautiful éclairs, tarts, macaroons, as well as the traditional kougelhopf, a brioche-type cake, often made with dried fruits and nuts, and baked in a special round, fluted pan.  
Bretzel, a large, freshly baked soft pretzel, salted or unsalted, with options such as melted cheese or accompanying smoked salmon, or even dusted with sugar for something sweet. If you are visiting in the spring, I hear the local white asparagus are something to write about. And Foie Gras d’Alsace is a local delicacy that is often found on menus.
One of my personal favorite dining experiences was in the formal dining room of Buerehiesel, a 19th-century glass atrium. It feels as though you are dining in your own private garden with the comforts of the indoors and fine cuisine. 
Strasbourg is the perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy the moments of life. The influence of German traits remains, and the flowers of Parisian springtime bloom among the storied bridges and historical clock tower. 

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