Petite France is a pretty little touristy area in Strasbourg. It is situated on the Grand Island in the Ill River. It can be easily reached from any point of the city. Its main attraction are the picturesque half-timbered houses dating back to the 16-17th centuries which line the banks of the river and the canals branching off the river. It used to be home to millers, tanners and fishermen. And it used to house the hospital for syphilis sufferers built in the 15th century; at the time, it was known as “the French disease”.
Today it is a UNESCO Human Heritage site, the historically preserved old city center. There are lots of cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops as well as several small hotels where one can stay in a tiny room and enjoy the exotic conditions as well as the lovely views. The Tanner’s House, one of its landmarks, bears the date 1572 on its sides. One of the best restaurants where they serve traditional Alsacienne dishes is called La Corde de Ligne, The Clothesline. The waiters speak French, German and English fluently. Sitting outside, looking at the fast flowing waters, it is easy to imagine how it was centuries ago when musicians would sit on the thick branches of the huge plane trees and play their music for the public.