France, Fun for All in the Family

I remember going to France when I was younger and I loved it. But usually when you think of fun family trips you think more along the lines of Disney world or land- which, don’t get me wrong, is an amazing place and one of my favorite places to visit to this day. Alexandra Regan writes about her family trip to France in the article, “Strasbourg, France: A City to Enjoy with the Kids.” She makes a good point than when travelling with a family there is still a segregation in interests, kids want to go to fun parks, adults to museums, teenagers, elders, all have different interests. So, it is important to travel to a place where everyone can find adventure and fun.

This vibrant symbol of European unity (it is the headquarters for the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the European Court and Commission for Human Rights) has a complex and fascinating history, and the blend of French and German architecture, cuisine, and language makes Strasbourg very different from other French cities.

Winter is a fabulous time to enjoy Strasbourg’s coziness. The Christmas markets that run from the end of November through December 24th are perhaps the best in France. These outdoor markets sell hot spiced red wine (spiced cider or orange juice for the kids), pretzels, crepes, and cakes, as well as crafts and inexpensive Christmas items.

Cathedral Notre Dame – This stunning pink stone cathedral is one of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals in Europe. Victor Hugo described it as “a skillful combination of monumental size and delicateness.” Building began in 1015 and the spire was completed in 1439. The kids can burn off some energy (and their parents the heavy Alsatian meals) by climbing the 330 steps to the base of the spire. From the cathedral platform you can enjoy the view of the city and beyond in all directions.

If the kids get hungry outside of regular mealtimes, try one of the informal brasseries found throughout the city. Perhaps because of the German influence, meal times seem to be earlier than in most French cities, and we found it easy to dine before 7:00 pm. Most restaurants will have Alsatian dishes such as choucroute and tarte flambe on the menu.