STRASBOURG, France — Strasbourg is the capital of France's Alsace region and a two-hour train ride from Paris. It's also just 2 miles (3 km) from the German border.
The region has had roots in both French and German culture for centuries. Part of Strasbourg, a city of 250,000, looks classically French, with bakeries and flower shops lining narrow, winding streets.
The other side of town, the German Quarter, is dominated by wide boulevards and muscular construction that dates to the late 19th century.
The city's double cultural identity testifies to the area's history as a war trophy, beginning with French King Louis XIV, winner of the Thirty Years' War over the German-speaking Holy Roman Empire. Germany controlled Alsace for nearly 50 years ending with World War I and again under the Nazis.