STRASBOURG CITY GUIDE
Strasbourg acts as the capital of the Bas-Rhin department in France, one of the easternmost parts of the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine region, which will be officially be renamed Grand Est as of October 2016.
With its proximity just 4km from the border of Germany, Strasbourg celebrates a hybrid of cultures, a location alongside the famous Rhine River and is home the gleaming European parliament building. The Grand Île, the historic heart of the city, is a picturesque wonderland of half-timbered houses, colourful flowerboxes and cobbled squares encircled by gently flowing canals.
Renowned for hosting one of the best Christmas markets in Europe and labelled as France's most cycle-friendly city, families and couples alike will love a chance to discover this true gem.
Read on and discover just some of the wonderful things to do in Strasbourg.
Essential Old Town Attractions in Strasbourg
Begin your day with a visit to the Grande Île, Strasbourg's UNESCO World Heritage listed island which is bordered by the River Ill.
Cross the historic Barrage Vauban bridge and you'll quickly spot one of the most popular things to do in Strasbourg. Petite France is one of the most postcard-perfect areas in France, a half-timbered paradise full of restaurants, bars and cafés. A short walk away, the rose coloured sandstone masterpiece, Cathédrale Notre-Dame, rises majestically out of the cityscape. From the cathedral's 332 step tower you can spot the distant mountains of the Black Forest as well as your next stop, the grand Palais Rohan.
Built by the same architect that created the palace of Versailles, this former home to bishops and cardinals now serves as three museums covering archaeology, decorative arts and fine arts. If you want to marvel at some of the city's finest architecture, stroll past the stained glass windows of Maison Kammerzell, a gem of Alsatian architecture, to arrive at the Aubette Palace which takes pride of place in the largest central square, Place Kléber.
Sights around Strasbourg
If you're desperate to see some Alsatian art, Strasbourg's many museums are full of exciting paintings. The MAMCS Museum of Modern Art is home to Claude Monet's 'Oat and Poppy Field', prints by A.R. Penck and contemporary work by Markus Lüpertz. You can continue your artistic exploration at the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame, where Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance sculpture can be found right on the doorstep of the cathedral.
Once you've sated your artistic thirst, one of the best ways to see the city's sights from a different perspective is by boat, on a river tour. Batorama provide 70-minute audio-guided tours as you glide past the scenic sights of this beautiful department capital. A Strasbourg 3-day City Pass will give you access to all of this and more with free and discounted entry across the city.
If you need to escape the crowds head to the Jardin des Deux Rives, a garden located on both shores of the Rhine, Parc de la Citadelle, a leafy park built around an old citadel, or Parc de l’Orangerie, an oasis two miles outside the city full of swans, flamingos and lakes.
Eating and Drinking in Strasbourg
Strasbourg acts as a meeting point between both German and French cultures, and there is nowhere better to experience the results of this fusion than the dining table. Here, French culinary classics like Coq au Vin, Crème Brûlée and the Alsatian fried pasta Spätzel meet German pizzas (flammkuchen), pretzels and sausages. Taste the freshest produce by visiting the city's various food markets, like the farmers' market on Place du Marché aux Poisson that specialises in locally produced fruit, foie gras, cheese and sausages.
Finish your stay with a visit to the wine cellar in Strasbourg City Hospital. Bizarrely wine was donated to the hospital by patients in lieu of payment for treatment, resulting in a brick-vaulted medieval basement where you'll find one of the oldest wines in the world – there's also an accompanying wine shop where vino connoisseurs can pick up a souvenir.
Explore France with P&O Ferries today by booking a trip on our Dover to Calais crossing and discover the wonders of this hidden gem firsthand.
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