Will NATO summit, Obama spotlight help or hinder Strasbourg tourism?

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Felicity Long
Felicity Long

*logoThe jury is still out on whether Strasbourg will benefit or suffer from the worldwide spotlight that shone on it during last week's NATO summit and President Obama's appearance at the two-day event.

Certainly, tourists in town during at the time were probably not pleased, finding themselves locked out of most of the top attractions.

In fact, much of city center and the area around the conference centers were closed to traffic during the high-profile visit.

The security precautions were tightened when demonstrations erupted on the night before the summit, and Michelle Obama, along with other wives of dignitaries, were among the few allowed anywhere near the city's famous cathedral on Saturday.

While Strasbourg has seen more than its share of conflict over the generations, the hubbub was atypical for the beautiful, normally serene border city.

Anyone who has visited Strasbourg, tasted its French- and German-influenced cuisine and listened to the local patois, which combines elements of both languages, would know that it takes more than a few days of anti-NATO rioters, no matter now unsettling, to shake its hard-won equanimity.

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