Hôtel Aux Trois Roses

The Joint

7 Rue De Zurich
67000 Strasbourg
France

http://www.hotel3roses-strasbourg.com/

The location of this hotel is pretty great – right across one of the myriad bridges leading into the heart of the old town. The gentleman at reception was very patient with our questions and even let us check in early, as our rooms were already prepared. I find in French city hotels, the rooms tend to be very small, and Trois Roses lived up to my expectation. Our double room was dominated by the double bed. Affixed the wall at the foot of the bed was a set of two large shelves – one high for the TV and one low for a small suitcase. Given the tightness of the room, the suitcase shelf was an absolute necessity. My brother’s single room down the hall was similarly cramped. When I walked in, he said “It feels like an airplane.” He wasn’t wrong. Here’s the kicker – the bathrooms were of normal size!

The stay was comfortable enough and the breakfast and parking were NOT included in the room rate (69€ for the double, 51€ for the single). Which was fine – what fun is it to stay in France and not go croissant hunting? I would consider staying there again if we go back to Strasbourg due to the price – but a little more elbow room might be worth a little more cash.

Southern Germany Sampler: Day Two — Strasbourg


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We got started pretty early after the Winzerfest in Neustadt/Weinstraße. We checked out of the Deutscher Kaiser after a nice breakfast spread and drove over to France. It’s really not that far to the border — it only took about 2 hours (there were a few traffic issues; it should have taken about ninety minutes). Our GPS was pretty reliable, but we still drove past the hotel at least one time — maybe twice — on our “final approach.” Strasbourg is historically contentious; sometimes it’s German, sometimes it’s French. Sure seems French to me with regard to the traffic patterns and street signs. We sort of did the “Look kids, it’s Big Ben” drive-by thing while zeroing in on our hotel.

PA111050We had great luck with the weather in Strasbourg, too &mdash, that part didn’t change with the border-crossing. We dropped off our bags into our rooms (nice of them to let us check in early) and hit the pavement on foot for the obligatory Croque-monsieur lunch, splitting a pitcher of blonde beer between me and Colin as well (all remaining travel for that day was to be done on foot). Strasbourg makes a very pretty impression, with its tree-lined canals and bridges, and sorta-German Fachwerk architecture. It also has the sleekest-looking trams I’ve ever seen.

Click a picture in the flashy thing below to embiggen it, or get your slideshow on with it too, if you like.

Cathedral - PA111067We made an obligatory Cathedral visit and I got some shots of the stained glass that weren’t too bad. But this wasn’t the only impressive church in town: St. Paul’s first caught our attention, because it was visible from our hotel’s street. We would have gone in, but it was under massive construction.

All this tromping around in German France (or was it French Germany?) made us work up an appétit, so we consulted our trusty Frommer’s France book (2005 edition, but this place obviously doesn’t change so fast), and came up with L’Ancienne Douane for dinner. It was a huge restaurant with plenty of capacity, which made me wary, since it was obviously geared toward groups of tourist, but it turned out to not suck completely. We tried to get all fancy on the appetizer and Colin really got more than he bargained for in trying to get something specifc to the region without renouncing his avoidance of choucroute (Sauerkraut)…but that’s a post for another day. Suffice it to say that both and quality and quantity demands were more than exceeded.

I think living and working here, perhaps in some EU capacity, would be nice.

Southern Germany Sampler: Day One — Heidelberg and Neustadt/Weinstraße

It’s been a while since we’ve had a new post here on Ye Olde Regensblogge, but that’s not without a good reason. Sarah’s brother Colin came to visit for over a week and we’ve been busy giving him the Southern Germany Sampler. Sarah planned us a route and picked great places to see / stop / eat / sleep along the way, with never more than a few hours in the car at a stretch.

Here’s the route, roughly. We started in Regensburg and made our way counter-clockwise along the path below (more or less).


View Strasbourg and back in a larger map

Tiefburg PA100944The first leg was from Regensburg to Heidelberg to visit our pals behind the heidelbergerin blog and get their expert advice on Weinfests in their area — they accompanied us to the big party in Neustadt an der Weinstraße. But first we had to get to our hotel in Heidelberg. We stayed in the Handschuhsheim district of Heidelberg at the Deutscher Kaiser. Note: this image is not of our hotel; it’s a neat-looking medieval castley dwelling thing called the Tiefburg) We were impressed by the friendly and helpful innkeeper (she seemed to be a one-woman show on the day shift at least). The room we rented — a triple — was generous in size and well-equipped. It could have used a touch-up job of paint in a few areas, but for 129€ for three people and a nice breakfast the next morning, I really wouldn’t complain.

We snagged a tram from the Handschuhsheim neighborhood to the Heidelberg Hbf, scooped up the Heidelberger along the way, and tried to haggle with the DB people at the Hbf about an upgrade on our group ticket. No dice. But it still was a pretty good deal to get to Neustadt an der Weinstraße, about an hour away via S-bahn. When we got there, the parade was already in full swing, and it kept going strong until a good three hours later. Much wine was sampled, along with some cheese, and the requisite Fest Food: grilled stuff. Nice way to spend an afternoon with friends.

I suggest you click the “full screen” icon thingy in the lower-right corner of this cooliris wall to make the photos enlarge to fit your screensize or view them as a slideshow.

La Terre des Lauriers

The Joint

La Terre des Lauriers
Pont du Gard – Rive droite
30210 Remoulins


Cliff
La Terre des Lauriers

We stayed in one of their two gîtes — cottages — available alongside their B&B offerings. As you can see here in the pictures, the grounds are beautiful. I think clearly the best aspect of La Terre des Lauriers is its location — proximity not only to the Pont du Gard, but also within easy driving distance to large and small towns more than worthy of exploration, like Aix-en-Provence, Nîmes, Uzés, Castillon-du-Gard, and of course Avignon. Le Chalet might have been suitable, size-wise, for 2 adults and a couple of kids (in fact, that looks like precisely the configuration they were expecting) but for four adults, it was more than cramped. The air conditioning was effective for the main bedroom, and that was nice on the hotter nights, but it would have been much better to equip all the windows with screens so that we could open them for cross-breezes without fear of bug attacks.

Sarah
La Terre des Lauriers

The location was really ideal. We could be at the Pont du Gard in 15 minutes on foot. We were about the 10 minutes from town, as well, but the area we were in was very quiet and isolated. And, as Cliff stated above, the grounds were really lovely and our host, Gerard, was very kind.

Here’s the but: the accommodation left something to be desired. Given how immaculate the b&b and the other gîte were, our “cottage” looked and felt like a hasty add-on. We decided to stay in self-catering accommodation so that we would have access to a kitchen, but the kitchen was difficult to use – the stove consisted of a double hot-plate, there was no oven and the pans were falling apart. The bathroom was tiny but adequate, and the beds were comfortable with enough storage space for our clothes in the bedrooms. Overall, though, that unit is too small for four adults. We were constantly dancing around each other while getting ready in the mornings. If we were to return, I would not stay in this particular unit again.


Provence July 2009

Today Sarah and I drove my parents to their airport for their departure after three action-packed weeks bopping around Europe. You already saw our pictures from the Italian leg of the trip, right? (If not, see the next most recent post.) Here’s a very brief run-down of the Provence leg of the trip, which was a solid week in Remoulins with day trips out pretty much every day to explore local stuff.

  • We flew into Marseille on a Lufthansa flight from Munich.  We very nearly missed the flight thanks to the rail system (not sure if it was ALX or DB’s fault…but it sure was stressful).
  • We picked up our rental car, a Fiat Punto (pretty small for four adults and light luggage) at the airport in Marseille and drove out to Remoulins, where a rental cottage on the grounds of a Chambre d’Hôte awaited us.  We loved the location of our lodging, but it was pretty cramped for four adults and rather poorly equipped.  More on that later, perhaps.
  • Every day we planned to do something new and even when we were too tired, sweaty, or hungry to follow through on our plans, something easier and more local kept us interested.
  • We ate a ton of fresh fruit, stuff right off the vine, tree, etc.  I’ve never had white nectarines before, but I’ll be looking for them now.  Sadly, I doubt they’ll taste as good as ones from the road-side stands in Provence, but I’ll try them anyway.  Most of that fruit goes great with goat cheese and another local product, wine.  Yum!
  • We planned to visit l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Aix-en-Provence, and Avignon and were pleased with all of those.  Smaller places, like Uzès and Gordes and Castillon-du-Gard were complete (and welcome) surprises – cute places we just stumbled upon in search for WiFi (not every McDonald’s offers it) or a landromat open through lunch.

Here’s the map, to give you a rough idea:


View Provence July 2009 in a larger map

Here are my favorite pictures from the past three weeks (below). You can see all the pictures we took here.

Hotel Sully Saint-Germain

The Joint

Hotel Sully Saint-Germain
31 Rue des Ecoles
75005 Paris – France

http://www.sully-saint-germain-hotel.com/

Sarah

We reserved this hotel due to the price, location and wireless connectivity. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The price was fixed and the location (a short walk from the Maubert-Mutualité Métro station) was ideal. The design of the lobby and the rooms is quite attractive. The basic double room is fairly small by American standards, but has lots of storage space (closets and drawers, etc.).

Unfortunately, the promised internet was not accessible in the rooms. To use it, you had to bring your laptop and other materials down to the lobby, then jockey for position with the rest of the hotel guests set up for surfing. We like to bring our laptop with us to help with planning our outings, so reliable, room-accesible internet is important to us. We were a little disappointed on that score.

There were a couple of other odd occurrences. There was a brief power outage one evening – about 30 seconds with no lights. Not a big deal to us, but we did overhear another couple complaining to the concierge about another outage the previous evening that happened while the woman was in the shower. So I guess that happens with some regularity. Also, on the morning of our checkout, I couldn’t get the water temperature to cooperate. It started out normal, but then started switching between burning hot and freezing cold. It made rinsing my hair an adventure.

The breakfast included in our rate was adequate, except for the coffee (it was dreadful). The elevators are extremely small, so occasionally taking the stairs is the best option. Generally, it was a pleasant experience. It is by no means a luxury hotel, but as a place to sleep, shower and keep your stuff while you’re out experiencing Paris, the Sully Saint-Germain is a good choice.

Cliff

Sarah hit all the points I’d make. Location was the most important aspect for me — it’s an easy walk to the Ile de la Cité or the Louvre or just hop onto the #10 Metro line to get out to other parts of the city or a bigger train station.




Paris Finis

Back to real life!

Here are all the pictures from the trip, organized into several sets and slideshows. Most of these are images you’ve seen in recent previous posts, but I’ve got them all together in one blog post here. Click on the individual squares below for the larger versions, or click the title of each grouping to start a slideshow for that grouping.

Paris Silliness:

Paris Day Shots:

Paris Night Shots: