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(23) - Kehl/Rhein (D) - Strasbourg (F)

Strasbourg - Kehl

For the real 'admirer' of France, the Alsace region in Eastern France, is not "pure France", indeed this region cannot be compared to other French regions like Paris, the Loire-valley or Brittany:

Architecture and landscape in the Alsace rather resemble those of western German neighbor federal state Baden-Württemberg, and also local Germanic dialect widely spoken in the Alsace has striking similarities with the German dialect spoken in neighboring Black Forest, Germany.

A look at the map does surprise us: Strasbourg's outskirts and suburbs have names like Schiltigheim, Oberhausbergen, Eckblosheim, Ostwald, Lingolsheim, and Illkirch-Graffenstaden.

40 miles around Strasbourg you find places called Benfeld, Molsheim, Birkenwald, Schweighouse and Niederschaeffolsheim.

All not sounding very French!

A strange piece of France indeed: add the local houses and castles on the hills, you might wonder if you are still in Germany. The Alsace's history indeed reflects coming and going of different rulers, kings and monarchs. In 1918/19 following the Versailles treaty, Strasbourg county came under French rule for good, with a short 'interruption' during the occupation in World War II.

Having undergone massive influence from French culture and language, the region now rediscovers the own local traditions and old Germanic dialect is revived on radio and in the streets by locals.

Strasbourg (F):
town on the left bank of the Rhine in
Dépt. 'Bas-Rhin' (=No. 67)
approx 300 miles east of Paris.
inhabitants: 253.000, with suburbs: 430.000

Kehl (D):
town on the right bank of the Rhine in German Freiburg district in the State of Baden-Württemberg west of Stuttgart.

inhabitants: 30.800

height: 450 feet above sea level

zipcode.: D-77694
more on Kehl


  map with view of border region:

Rhine and Bridge over the Rhine

Pont de l'Europe / Europabrücke


Arrival on the French side: border and customs office are still there, and have not been dismantled like it was done along the Dutch-German border, however no officer to be see anywhere.


in front of French control-post: French street sign indicating city and county of greater Strasbourg area.


Border crossing/check point on the French side after having passed the bridge.

  On the Rhine : View accross the river back to the German side.
  On the Rhine : View from the bridge Europabrücke / Pont de l'Europe to the railway bridge.
  On the Rhine: leaving Strasbourg in the direction of Germany: before acessing the bridge you can already see the tall building standing on the German side.

leaving Strasbourg + indication in French of the Rhine river.


Arrival on the German side: German place name board.


The first few yards on German territory Trunk road B 28" leading to the autobahn.

On the right street board with the arms of German federal state 'Baden-Württemberg"


German board refering to the Rhine river near the Europabrücke.


trunk road and truck-service station on the right for (inter-)national traffic.

  On the Rhine : early evening on the French-German border.

older street sign posting still indicating that the city of Kehl is a 'customs-border-district'. (Which is not the case anymore nowadays)


leaving Kehl towards France.

  Strasbourg... is the chef-lieu of the French county No. '67' called Bas Rhin (=Lower Rhine)

in the historic town centre, nowadays bilingual strreet names can be spotted often, indicating the official French name and below same name in local Alsatian Germanic dialect.

(="iron man's square")


Touristic view of the old town.

(c) Text by BK, Photos by JM December 2000

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It is not the intention to revise or criticize existing boundaries or territories, it is just a description of the special attraction of a border region.