The European capital and capital of Alsace, Strasbourg is a young and dynamic city. It will definitely surprise you for its lively side, making it a hotbed of culture including museums, theatres, operas, concert halls and festivals. Everything is so close at hand here! Whether you love fine restaurants, monuments, museums or entertainment, there's no doubt that you'll soon fall in love with this captivating city!
Like many major European cities, Strasbourg is home to world-renowned historical heritage sites: the Grande Ile is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. The more curious among you can explore Strasbourg's different districts on foot or by bicycle, each of which has its own distinct identity intimately related to its history and its occupants. Encircled by the arms of the river Ill, the city centre is home to the main sites and monuments which make Strasbourg so famous, including the Cathedral, the Maison Kammerzell, Petite France or the Ponts Couverts.
For visitors wanting to see Paris and one other French city - or indeed just one French city other than Paris, Strasbourg is the place. Strasbourg is one of the great historic cities of Europe, and its history is very different from that of Paris.
In the year 840 AD, on the death of the Emperor Charlemagne's son Louis the Pious, the great Frankish "Holy Roman" Empire was split into three parts. West Francia in the west became the heartland of modern France. East Francia in the east became Germany; and between them lay Middle Francia – an area today made up of small states, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Between Luxembourg and Switzerland middle Francia included the duchies of Alsace, Lorraine and Burgundy, which are today part of France. But this was not always the case.
Alsace, and with it Strasbourg, only became French in the 17th century. Alsace was French from 1648 to 1871, but during this time it remained German-speaking. From 1871 until 1919, and again from 1940 to 1944, Alsace was annexed by Germany.
Attractions, Restaurants, Nightlife, Shopping
A cultural melting pot nestling at the very heart of Europe's birthplace, Alsace has always shared its culture with France, Germany and Switzerland. Its inhabitants enjoy a flourishing economy that boasts a wide range of skills and expertise: automobile, petrochemicals, agriculture, agri-food, medicine, physical and earth sciences, to name but a few. Spanned by the Rhine and surrounded by natural spaces, the 2 million Alsatian citizens enjoy exceptional quality of life. Regional specialties, heritage, traditional festivities: everything is an invitation to celebrate life and desires.
A city of gatherings, of art, of history, a city with a cosmopolitan, up-to-the-minute and international flavour, Strasbourg holds pride of place in an ever-changing Europe.
From its majestic Notre Dame Cathedral to its works of art dotted around the city centre, Strasbourg - a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site - proudly showcases its history. The city, which has stood at the cultural crossroads since time immemorial, is a European Capital: the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Pharmacopoeia, the European Science Foundation and the International Space University are all firmly rooted there.
Here are some of the top-Strasbourg attractions not to miss:
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame
- Palais Rohan
- Grande Île
- Petite France
- Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame
- Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain
- Grande Mosquée de Strasbourg
- Barrage Vauban
ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE
Strasbourg’s student population keeps the city’s nightlife lively and current. The most common hotspots are clustered around the cathedral and along rue des Juifs and rue des Frères, although other neighbourhoods, such as around the university campus and along the Ill, are also worth a visit.
In Strasbourg, cooking is more than just an art of living, it is a vibrant and living culture backed up by centuries of tradition, yet constantly experimenting and innovating, driven on by the talent of the great chefs and the dynamism of the city's restaurant owners.
Traditional Alsatian specialties such as sauerkraut, baeckeoffe, flambé tart, spaetzle and foie gras can be best enjoyed in the "winstubs", local Alsatian taverns known for their friendly atmosphere. Strasbourg is renowned for its hundreds of restaurants and brasseries offering the latest culinary trends and dishes from all around the world.
The Strasbourg and Bas-Rhin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with the Strasbourg Tourist Office, the Strasbourg Events and Strasbourg Convention Bureau, are pleased to announce the launch of the “So Strasbourg” Application.
Aimed mainly at conference attendees and tourists, this application allows visitors to the capital of Alsace to quickly find the shop they want, either by theme (Origin’Alsace, Luxury, Fashion, Beauty Accessories, Gourmet food, Art/Antiques, Multimedia), or by name (A to Z).
More than 120 shops in the city centre as well as department stores and shopping malls are listed, together with their opening times and a calculation of the itinerary by geolocation.
Getting around Strasbourg
Strasbourg enjoys a central position making it easy to reach other major towns and cities. Just a few hours away by road or less than one hour away by plane from Paris, Lyon and the major German cities, Strasbourg is well served by the motorway, air travel and train network.
To rent a car in France, you will need to bring along your national and international driving license. Additionally, you must also be over 21 years of age and have held your driving license for more than one year.
Drunk-driving is severely punished in France. The maximum tolerated blood alcohol concentration is 0.5 g of alcohol per litre of blood, which is equal to approximately 3 glasses of beer or two glasses of wine.
Official taxis have light-up signs, a license plate outside the vehicle, and a taximeter inside the vehicle.
Strasbourg train station, accessible by tram or bus and located in the city centre, provides a direct link to Strasbourg Airport.
The tram runs from 4.30am to 0.30am Mondays to Saturdays and from 5.30am to 0.30am on Sundays and holidays. From 6.30am to 8pm, count on tram frequency of 5 to 6 minutes and of 15 minutes from 4.30am to 6.30am and from 8pm to 0.30am.
Uber is also accepted in France, download the app in advance.