Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 15, Day 7: La Petite France

La Petite France is a picturesque neighborhood west of the Cathedral and a few short blocks from the Adagio, where l'Ill becomes five separate channels, so it is much like Venice or Amsterdam, with houses right on the water, sometimes with doors, patios, or little docks. There are bridges everywhere, including one which swings open to allow boats to pass, leaving pedestrians to wait on either side before they can cross. As in much of the historic area, most of the streets are reserved for pedestrian and bicycle use only.

In the Middle Ages, tanneries and slaughterhouses were located here to take advantage of the abundance of water. In the late 1400s, there was a hospital for people sick with venereal disease, which the Germans called "the French disease"--hence the name "Petite France"! "Nice" people probably avoided the neighborhood at all costs, but today tourists flock there.

Cars are only rarely seen in La Petite France. Raymonde wondered how people managed to run their errands and do their shopping.
Flower boxes are hung from the railings along many of the canals, adding to the quaint beauty of the neighborhood.
In the western part of la Petite France where the Ill divides into several branches.
This is a private home and doctor's office overlooking  the water.
Can you see the satellite dish in one of the windows of this Alsatian traditional house?
In places, pedestrians can walk along the riverbank with the ducks. It would be easy to step off the path and roll right down the bank; especially if you had had a few beers too many!
This is the footbridge swinging shut. You can see some people waiting to cross on the other side.
There are some rapids as the river descends, so the tour boats have to pass through a lock. You can see the water line on the far wall of the lock.
The lock has filled up to the required level and is opening to let the boat through. The process takes about ten minutes. On Day 8, we took this boat tour and experienced it from the boat, which was really neat!
The tour boat is passing through the lock gate. . . .
. . . and continuing upstream.
This photo shows a bit of "white water." 
We saw some people in canoes navigating the shallow rapids.

We stopped for lunch at Lohkäs on the rue du Bain aux Plantes.

These street musicians accompanied our lunch.
Tourists enjoying the atmosphere on the Place Benjamin Zix.

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