Strasbourg has both the old-fashioned charm of a quaint medieval city and the mighty feel of a powerful European political centre. Located right next to the border with Germany, the city is the capital of the Grand East Region of France and blends French and German influences through its architecture, cuisine, and culture.
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From the historical districts that occupy the central area of the city to the modern museum of science and technology, Strasbourg has a timeless feel. Another great asset of Strasbourg is its dining scene. The delectable local dishes, excellent wines and refreshing local beers give credence to the city’s nickname as ‘the crossroads of Europe’. So, what are the best things to do in Strasbourg?
Stroll around La Petite France
Take a walk in the historic Little-France district, also known as the Quartier des Tanneurs. La Petite France is a historic neighbourhood located at the western end of the Grande Île (the Big Island). It’s easy to find in the centre of Strasbourg. Surrounded by the River Ill, the whole Grande Île is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Petite France was, during the Middle Ages, a district occupied by tanners, fishermen and millers. It’s home to well-preserved medieval architecture remnants including half-timbered buildings, narrow cobblestoned lanes, and covered bridges. There are many quaint bistros to stop at for a snack and a drink during your stroll. Location: At the western end of the Grande Île in the centre of Strasbourg
Visit one of the tallest churches in the world, erected in the early 11th century. Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg is, at 142 metres, one of the tallest churches in the world. During its long history, this remarkable building has been modified from its original Romanesque style by the addition of Gothic architectural elements that make it a piece of art as stunning as it is impressive. Stained glass windows from the 12th century, the St. Pancrace’s altar from the 16th century, and an astronomical clock from the 17th century, are just a few of the highlights of the Strasbourg Cathedral.
Location: On the Grande Île in the centre of Strasbourg Open: April-September, daily from 9 am to 7.30 pm; October-March, daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm; June-August, until 10 pm every Friday and Saturday
Get to the panoramic terrace of a historic building, the Barrage Vauban (Vauban Dam). Built at the end of the 17th century to defend Strasbourg from invaders through its capacity to flood the southern access to the city. Today, it’s at the same time a witness of the engineering genius of Vauban and a place that houses ancient plaster casts and copies of statues from the Palais Rohan and the cathedral. The highlight of the Vauban Dam is its rooftop terrace that offers picture-perfect views of the River Ill and of the Petite France. Location: Off the southwestern tip of the Grande Île in the centre of Strasbourg Open: Daily from 9 am to 7.30 pm
Relax at Parc de l’Orangerie
Take a breath of fresh air in an engaging park. Parc de l’Orangerie is a 26-hectare public park established at the end of the 18th century in the northeast of the city. The park owes its name to the orange trees offered by the Republicans to the city hall of Strasbourg after they stole them at the Bouxwiller Castle during the French Revolution. Today, the park is a serene place for a stroll. You’ll find a zoo, a bowling green, children’s playgrounds, pétanque and sports fields, and a Michelin-star restaurant named Le Buerehiesel. You can even rent a small boat for a romantic cruise on the lake.
Location: On the northeast side of Strasbourg, near the European Court of Human Rights building
Visit the Alsatian Museum
Discover the bygone daily life of Alsatian people. Settled in a splendidly restored 5-storey timber-framed building, the Alsatian Museum invites you to discover and learn more about the local history and culture. Despite a rather haphazard layout, the museum is pleasant to explore. It is home to an impressive collection of traditional Alsatian clothing, utensils, furniture, tools and toys, most of them dating back 2 centuries or more. Booklets and recorded tours with headphones in multiple languages are available at the ticket desk. Do not miss the inner courtyard, which is a popular place to take photos.
Location: Quai Saint-Nicolas in Krutenau District Open: Wednesday-Monday from 10 am to 6 pm, closed on Tuesdays
End the day in Krutenau District
Head to this district for a lively night out. One of the oldest districts in Strasbourg, Quartier Krutenau sits southeast of the Grande Île from which it’s separated by an arm of the Ill River. Featuring nicely restored half-timbered houses, it’s nowadays a lively district filled with contemporary style bars and restaurants, fashionable boutiques and art galleries. After dark, head to Ze Trou in Rue des Couples if you fancy to sip a few cocktails before to go to dance at the Stand Up in Rue des Bouchers.
Location: Just southeast of the Grande Île, near the centre of Strasbourg
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