Strasbourg, capital of Christmas? Famous for its end-of-year market, the Alsatian metropolis cannot be reduced to a conservatory of regional traditions. Winter and summer, this pleasant city is generously offered to walkers in the pedestrian streets of its historic center. Beautiful homes, museums, restaurants and cafes, let the charm act, in all seasons ...
At the foot of the cathedral
Each time, it gives us chills. Emerging, like an apparition, between the half-timbered houses of the narrow rue Mercière, the Notre-Dame cathedral rises, gigantic and aerial at the same time, towards the sky. As unreal, when illuminated on summer evenings, always majestic, the building is characterized by its unique bell tower surmounted by a spire and by its pink sandstone walls from the Vosges which give it its special tone.
Built from the 142th to the 4th century, Strasbourg Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world - even if its choir is Romanesque. A pure masterpiece of medieval art, which was until the 12th century the highest church in Christendom with its 30 meters. Inside, the XNUMXth century astronomical clock, with its animated figures, never ceases to amaze the cathedral's XNUMX million annual visitors. Paid access for the Apostles' parade every day at XNUMX:XNUMX p.m.
Inseparable from a visit to the cathedral, the Notre-Dame museum, located on the other side of the Place du Château, houses many treasures of Alsatian and Rhine art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, including collections from the cathedral. The splendid building that houses it dates from the same period (XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries): it was the seat of the corporation of masons and stonemasons.
Another wonder of the place, the house Kammerzell, remarkable Renaissance building with a half-timbered facade of carved wood surmounted by a gable. This time machine now houses a chic hotel and restaurant, known for its three-fish sauerkraut.
To continue your walk in the rich Alsatian past, take a tour of the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg very close and especially at Alsatian museum for its rich collections of local folk arts and traditions. Clearly, Alsace is a world apart in France and that's why we love it.
More classic, the rohan palace, between the cathedral and the banks of the Ill, is a perfect example of French-style architecture, in the pure style of Parisian or Bordeaux mansions. It now houses three museums (decorative arts, fine arts and archeology).
Stroll in Old Strasbourg
Strasbourg is not a city-museum, even if its city center is admirably preserved. Listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the old Strasbourg is located on an island in the middle of… the Ill (this is the name of the river that crosses the city). Largely pedestrianized, it can be traveled on foot for formidable walks imbued with urban poetry.
God how attractive this city is! The walker does not know where to turn: venerable residences that have survived the centuries, adorable churches, romantic alleys, small squares, cafes, restaurants and traditional winstubs in abundance to taste Alsatian specialties ... Ask for the Strasbourg Strolls brochure at the visitor Center.
The famous Petite France Even though it is very touristy, it has not lost its charm. We prefer it at night when it is quieter and the lighting conveys a nimbus of romanticism.
Former district of tanners and millers, stretching over five arms of the Ill, Petite France has the air of Alsatian Venice with its beautiful half-timbered houses at the water's edge, its weeping willows, its swans, its small alleys. Don't miss the rue du Bain-aux-Plantes with its Renaissance residences and its cute tanners' houses.
Strasbourg is not just an open-air conservatory of regional traditions. Seat of several EU institutions, the Alsatian capital has become an important European metropolis, combining provincial tranquility and openness to the outside world.
The most Europhiles will make the pilgrimage of district of European institutions, somewhat eccentric. The European Parliament and palace of europe, seat of the Council, can only be visited by reservation.
Another testament to Strasbourg's modernity, the glass and pink granite building of the MAMCS (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) and especially its art collection from 1870 to the present day. Among the essential pieces, the Kandinsky Music Room and the engravings by Gustave Doré to which an entire room is dedicated.
In terms of cultural institutions, the Strasbourg National Theater (TNS) and the Rhine Opera are very famous. In another genre, the dairy, in the Gare district, is THE place in Strasbourg for rock, pop and techno concerts.
Finally, everyone knows that Strasbourg is a gastronomic capital. You will be spoiled for choice, from traditional sauerkraut in a winstub to more trendy restaurants. To go out at night, Krutenau and Finkwiller districts, south of the old town, have quite a few nice places to eat or have a drink, such as the astonishing Choucrouterie, part-restaurant, part-café theater run by Roger Siffer, an Alsatian folk singer.
To prepare for your stay, consult our Strasbourg and Alsace files.
Strasbourg tourist office
Alsace Tourist Office
How to get there ?
Several daily TGV connections from Paris-Est. Duration: 2h20.
By plane, Air France connects Strasbourg to several French airports.
Where to sleep ?
Hôtel Suisse: 2-4, rue de la Râpe. A stone's throw from Strasbourg Cathedral, this hotel, housed in a pretty XNUMXth-century house, offers cozy and well-kept rooms. Very good breakfast in the adjoining stub.
Find your hotel in Strasbourg
Where to eat ?
- Chez Yvonne: 10, rue du Sanglier. One of Strasbourg's great classics since 1873. A very traditional winstub where all the pillars of Alsatian gastronomy are served.
- La Choucrouterie: 20, rue Saint-Louis. In the district of Finkwiller, a restaurant-theater run by folk singer Roger Siffer. Installed in the last sauerkraut factory in Strasbourg, we serve, in a good atmosphere,… sauerkraut and many other small dishes.
- Strasbourg museums
- Maison Kammerzell
- Strasbourg National Theater