La Petite France
The Petit France district is a charming part of Strasbourg divided in two by the canal. It is an old haunt of fishermen where the picturesque wooden houses have been well preserved and take visitors back to times gone by. Wonderful walks are to be had along the canals, locks and flower-decked-bridges.
The area is very popular among tourists, who come to enjoy a stroll through the peaceful streets and to eat at the numerous establishments and restaurants with canalside terraces.
Picture by Rémi LEBLOND
Somewhere well worth discovering! Check out our flights here.
Hunting For the Best Oysters in France
Just 50 kilometres from one of France’s most widely visited landmarks, Mont Saint-Michel, and very near another de rigueur tourist resort, Saint-Malo, lies Cancale, which guards a very special culinary secret. This small town in Brittany boasts what are considered to be the best oysters in France. Some even dare to claim they are the best in the world. Whatever their actual rating, the oysters of Cancale are clearly world famous and it is worth making a stopover just to try them.
The Romans are said to have been the first to discover the fine quality of the oysters here, while centuries later, Louis XIV and Napoleon counted them among their favourites, and no wonder! Just as wine is a reflection of the earth that nurtures the grapes it is made from, the quality of this prized mollusc is determined by the place where it is found. It transpires that this stretch of coastline in Brittany is endowed with excellent nutrients, which would account for their special flavour.
Cancale, where fishing has been the major source of income for centuries, has now been given over to oyster cultivation. Your visit will take you to see the oyster rafts and, even more impressively, the ritual of harvesting. A word of warning, though – the success of this display will depend on the state of the tides, so take this into account when planning your trip. Should this not be enough for you, and assuming you would like to gain expertise in the matter, be sure to visit the Ferme Marine de Cancale, an exhibition area where you can boost your knowledge of these prized molluscs and learn about the “Gardeners of the Sea”.
However, Cancale is not only a place to learn about oyster culture, but to taste their exquisite huîtres (oysters), too. In the harbour, next to the Pointe des Crolles lighthouse, you will find a number of stalls where you can get your hands on a good helping of these small delicacies and savour them right there on the beach. There are many prices and types – flat oysters are the most highly valued – and, optionally, you can also squeeze lemon juice on them and ask for them to opened.
If you prefer to eat the oysters or other sea delights more comfortably seated, there are several restaurants along the esplanade where you can indulge in this pleasure, and a generous helping of seafood is reasonably priced. A classic to order is mussels and chips, a traditional dish in the area.
For those seeking quite another gastronomic experience and who have a sizeable current account, this is the land of the acclaimed chef, Olivier Roellinger. Very near Cancale, the Château Richeux houses Le Coquillage, a magnificent restaurant which bears out, day after day, just why it was awarded three Michelin stars – which Roellinger turned down, incidentally – and why his cuisine continues to be exquisite. And – you guessed it – the splendid oysters of Cancale are on the menu.
So, now that you have scoped the spot where the best oysters in France (and the world) are said to be cultivated, it’s time to book your Vueling to Rennes – less than an hour’s drive from Cancale – and treat yourself to that exquisite delicacy.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Mulhouse la gran desconocida de Alsacia
In this part of France two cities hog most of the visitors – Strasbourg, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in France, and Colmar, capital of the wine-producing region. However, the little known jewel in the newly created region of the Great East is Mulhouse, once an independent republic, located where three counties meet – France, Germany and Switzerland. Possibly on account of that privileged position, Mulhouse is now one of France’s most active cities in terms of creativity and culture, also partly driven by its importance in the 19th century as a textile centre, which has endowed the city with an interesting industrial heritage.
Mulhouse is the City of Art and History, the first city in the Alsace to be awarded this distinction. One of its major reference points is the Place de la Réunion, the heart of its historic centre, where the easily recognisable standout feature is the pink-coloured old Town Hall. Another landmark in the square is the Protestant Church of Saint-Étienne, with a campanile affording stunning views of the city. Permission is required to go up it.
Mulhouse was one of the first major centres of the textile industry in France. This is attested in the Museum of Printed Textiles, which each year hosts a thematic exhibition linked to some well-known designer. Likewise, the Wesserling Park - Textile Ecomuseum which offers dramatized tours and fashion shows. Other major draws include the examples of industrial architecture (reconditioned former brickwork factories), and the street art and contemporary art to be had in the city centre.
Another venue worth visiting is the Cité de l’Automobile (featuring the Schlumpf Collection), situated just five minutes from downtown Mulhouse. Considered one of the leading automobile museums in the world, it showcases over 400 vehicles, prominent among which is a large collection of Bugattis. The Automobile City, divided into five distinct areas, is a truly interactive museum. Interesting audiovisuals about the automobile industry are screened, while a number of simulators enable visitors to experience what it feels like to drive a racing car.
On the outskirts of Mulhouse, the town of Ungersheim is home to the Alsace Ecomuseum, the largest of its kind in France. Here you can learn about the traditional divisions of the Alsace, what their schools used to be like and what the leading trades were. The most important craftsmen were blacksmiths, cartwrights and potters. It is also amazing to see how they used to cook in earlier times, and how they distilled local spirits. Additionally, you can taste some authentic, traditional dishes like celery gelatine, potatoes with nettles and basil sorbet.
Lastly, if you want to try Alsatian cuisine, we recommend you head for a winstub, the equivalent of a pub in the Alsace – the Restaurant Le Cellier is an ideal example. There you can taste such local specialities as fleischschnakas, an exquisite dish of noodle dough stuffed with meat, flammkuchen or tarte flambée, thinly rolled out bread dough with a topping of raw onion, bacon and single cream, and sauerkraut, accompanied by delicious Alsace wines. And, the best place to go for a drink at night is Le Gambrinus where the atmosphere is welcoming and the craft beer is excellent (bière du Bollwerk).
Mulhouse lends itself to a weekend tour. The EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, shared by France, Germany and Switzerland, is just 30 minutes away from the city centre. More information on the flights here.
Text by Tusdestinos.netmore info