Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strasbourg - Rue Saint Helene

During my visit in Strasbourg, I stayed with my friend Øivind in his flat on "Le Grande Île" in the Medieval city centre. He had rented a two room attic appartment just a few minutes away from Place Kléber and the cathedral. The whole city centre is criss crossed by small narrow streets and alleys, and Rue Saint Helene was no exception.

I have never stayed in such an old city house as the one in Rue Saint Helene. As we left the tram near place Kleber, we walked only a few minutes before we stood in front of number 4.

The house did not look very old. On the other side there was another very ornate building built in the local style. Fachwerk is the name of the building technique (in English half-timbered), found on both sides of the Franco-German border.

The wooden beams were beautifully carved, and ornaments were painted on the pink stone walls.

Number 4 was completely different. It was a plain stone building, with two floors and an attic. As we entered through the narrow door, I found that this actually were three buildings turned into one. The oldest part of number 4 was built during the 17th or 18th century.

The long corridor leading into the stairway was dark and mysterious. Floors and stairs were made from dark solid wood. The stairway led up to Øivinds flat, high up in the attic of the back building. Here you could see over the roof of the old city.

It was a charming flat. First you entered a small entrance, and stairs leading up to the attic.

It was a light flat, as the light flowed through large windows on the roof. It was decorated in pink and white with all the wooden structures visible.

One large living room with a dining table, and sofas. One small, but practical kitchen, a beautifully tiled modern bathroom. The bedroom had room for a large bed and good storage. And the rent was reasonable. Less than € 1000 per month - a modest sum, compared to similar prices in Oslo.

And the view! I peeked out of the windows and this is what I saw. The old historic roofs of the ancient city, an old half timbered courtyard.

I never saw such a view before. The nearest I could compare this experience to was the view from an old attic hotel room in Paris, that lifted me up over the dark narrow streets below.

And every hour you could hear the heavy bells of the cathedral from a distance. I had a great time in Strasbourg and this beautiful flat was certainly a great part of the experience.


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