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August, 2016

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Kehl lies across the River Rhine from its much more well known neighbour Strasbourg and the boundary separating Germany and France runs down the centre of the river.

Although the river cruise boats berth in Kehl, everyone heads for Strasbourg. I had spent the previous afternoon on a guided tour of Strasbourg and we had the morning free as the boat was due to sail at lunchtime. I’d thought about getting a train into Strasbourg but having looked at the timetable, decided it probably wasn’t worth it as I would only get a couple of hours there. Instead I would spend the morning in Kehl, as it would give me chance to see a typical German town, which I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

There is nothing special about Kehl and you really have to dig on the internet to find out much about it. There were very few other tourists around, unlike Strasbourg which had been heaving with tourists. I enjoyed myself.

It is a modern town surrounded by large and attractive German style houses on tree lined streets.

Inhabitants from Strasbourg come to Kehl to do there shopping as it is much cheaper. It has a large and pleasant pedestrianised shopping area with wide streets and a good range of shops. Prices were cheap too. There was a small fruit, flower and vegetable market in the square with open air eateries and a wonderful fountain that looked like a dandelion clock. The rose garden however is looking a bit overgrown and neglected. Near it is Altrhein, now a lake which was once part of the river. This is a very peaceful spot near the town centre, with water lilies and surrounded by trees.

In the Market Square is red stone “Friendenskirche.”: This is rather a plain church built in 1817 as an ‘emergency’ church after the Catholic and Protestant churches were destroyed during the Siege of Kehl in 1793. It was used by both groups until the Catholics built their own church of “St. Johannes-Nepomuk”: at the beginning of the C20th. Its tall white tower dominates the skyline. There is also a Mosque near the station.

The Passerelle des Deux Rives was built in 2004 and is a pedestrian footbridge linking German Kehl with French Strasbourg and is a symbol of peace and cross border co-operation. It is a very elegant bridge with a seating area in the centre of the bridge. There are good views of both Kehl with its houses and gardens as well as Strasbourg with its high rise development along the river front. It also links the cross border garden parks on either side of the river with trees, flower beds and miles of walking and cycling routes.

So – was it worth spending a morning? Yes. I enjoyed seeing a modern German town and was impressed by how clean and pleasant it was. There was no litter of graffiti. Shops were bright an welcoming and compared with the throng of people in Strasbourg, it was quite relaxing.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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