Visiting Strasbourg - What to See and Do
(Strasbourg Airport SXB, France)
Strasbourg is an opulent city, resting in the north-eastern corner of France
. Meaning 'City of the Roads', the city has been a vital asset for Europe's historical development. Even today, it still plays a significant role in the continent's prosperity. If there was ever a capital of Europe
, Strasbourg would certainly be a strong contender to that title.
Aside from European parliamentary structures, the endearing city centre echoes alluring calls across the continent. The carefully preserved Grande Ile (historic city centre) was the world's first public square to gain UNESCO's attention, followed by a heritage listing. In a visit of two or three days, sightseeing tourists can discover the medieval, renaissance and modern attractions on foot or by bicycle. The grand sights of Strasbourg will astound unexpecting visitors.
This French city used to be a summer season town. Even though the atmosphere is charming during the warmer months, the city's winter festival, complete with Christmas tree and stalls, attracts greater populations each year. The café culture adds a notable essence of relaxation for locals and tourists. So take some time out to sit, sip and stare as Grande Ile comes alive from dawn to dusk.
Ten things you must do in Strasbourg
- Strasbourg's most prominent feature is its sandstone cathedral. Known locally as the Cathedrale Notre Dame, this structure beckons to visitors with its stunning Romanesque facade. Interior features of note include a suspended pipe organ, intricately designed pillars, 12th- to 14th-century stained-glass windows and a renowned astronomical clock. Touring the cathedral with a guide is recommended, as there are many legends to uncover at this medieval site.
- Rohan Palace (Palais Rohan) is the city's signature residence. Built by the French in the 1600s, this structure represents baroque architecture at its finest. Three vibrant museum attractions are housed within its walls, including the Archaeological Museum, the Decorative Arts Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. Visitors can easily spend an entire morning strolling through the palace's magnificent halls.
- The district of Petite France is only a short walk from the historical centre of Strasbourg. Nevertheless, tourists will feel as though they fell into an ancient European fairytale, worlds away from the Grande Ile. Stroll through the winding walkways and alleys of this district, and be surrounded by a line of half-timber houses, cafes, restaurants and shops. If tourists were to somehow get lost in Strasbourg, this would be the ideal place to do so.
- The Palace of the Rhine highlights the city's rich cultural influences from the German Renaissance period. Located in the north-eastern region of the city, this intricate Prussian palace is as opulent as it is expansive. Complete with marble staircases, a grand ballroom, coffered ceilings and a delicately landscaped garden, this landmark is an expected beauty fringing the city of Strasbourg.
- Kleber Square (Place Kleber) was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1988, along with the entire city centre. The city's largest historical square is now lined with the latest fashion stores, award-winning restaurants and rejuvenating cafes. Visiting here for the sake of being seen is not uncommon. Not surprisingly, December springs a Christmas Market with a towering 30-metre / 100-foot spruce tree.
- The European Quarter is a fascinating district of Strasbourg that has been at the pinnacle of European politics for over 100 years. This is where the city gets its common nickname as 'Capital of Europe'. Tour groups are recommended, since the district is spread across several suburban areas. This truly is the heart of European parliament.
- Contrary to initial belief, the Alsatian Museum is not a regional canine gallery. Instead, this museum depicts a history of the Alsatian culture (people that is) from as far back as the 13th century. Step back into the medieval period through the numerous collections of tools, toys, art, crafts and other Alsatian artefacts within the building.
- In a sign of friendship, tolerance and acceptance, Strasbourg and its German neighbour, Kehl, dismantled a host of military posts along the River Rhine and created the beautiful Park of Two Rivers (Jardin des Deux Rivers). Both banks host plenty of recreational space and waterfront promenades. Children's playgrounds are also a dominant feature of this park.
- It is hard to believe that a history museum can be both educational and trendy. However, the city's History Museum can certainly fit both descriptions. This attraction boasts collections from Strasbourg's earliest days as a Roman outpost, to medieval armory and artefacts. Children can practice wearing authentic knights helmets and sit on large, previously used cannons.
- Kammerzell House (Maison Kammerzell) is the most renowned medieval Gothic structure in Strasbourg. There is a traditional restaurant found inside, but it is the ornate frescoes painted throughout its interior that will enthrall visitors. The building is hard to miss, as its bespoke elegance makes it standout on Cathedral Square.