The capital of Alsace, Strasbourg, is full of charm and has a lot to offer to tourists and visitors. This city boasts charming half-timbered houses, cobbled squares and one of the largest medieval quarters in Europe. Here are some of the best things to do in Strasbourg!
No trip to Strasbourg is complete without visiting the iconic Strasbourg Cathedral. For 227 years up to 1874 this spellbinding sandstone cathedral was the tallest building in the world, and is still the highest surviving structure to have been built entirely during the medieval period. The 468-feet spire can be climbed for first-rate views of the city. Those who go during the Christmas holidays will have the pleasure of seeing one of France’s most beautiful winter markets in the square. Don’t miss the light show on the cathedral during summer evenings. It changes every year, but it’s always splendid!
The heart of Strasbourg city centre is located on an island surrounded by the Ill (name of the river) and thus called Grande Île – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk along cobbled streets to visit top sights like the Palais Rohan and the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame. Explore the enchanting La Petite France neighborhood and see picturesque canals, covered bridges, and half-timbered homes. The alleys are at their most atmospheric when lantern-lit at night. Everything can be done on foot, as distances are quite small in Strasbourg. This is is one of the most picturesque old towns in Europe!
La Petite France
The Quartier des Tanneurs, or the Strasbourg Petite France district, is located west of the Old Town on the Grande Ile and on the small islands where the river splits into three channels. It’s the most touristic area, but it’s also one of the most charming! With its canals, its locks, the countless half-timbered houses covered in flowers and cobbled streets, it’s impossible not to be charmed. It is also home to many of Strasbourg’s best known attractions, including the Pont Couverts. It is a lovely place to take a stroll and to soak in the historic atmosphere. Petite France is also ground zero for Strasbourg’s many themed Christmas markets.
Rent a Vélhop to bike around the city
If you want to do like locals, hire a bike! Strasbourg is the first cycling city in France: there are countless bike paths and the localss love to cycle around the city. Take a scenic bike ride through the historic center of Strasbourg, led by a knowledgeable local guide. You’ll hear fascinating stories about the city and see key architectural landmarks. The 90-minute Strasbourg City Center Tour by Bike begins at the Place d’Austerlitz, continues through the Grande-Île, and finally crosses the Ill River to explore the German district. Apart from cycling around the city center, a ride through the Parc de l’Orangerie is great fun and offers beautiful surroundings.
The elegant 18th-century Palais des Rohan was the the lavish abode of the city’s princely bishops, and Louis XV and Marie-Antoinette from 1732 to 1742; today it houses 3 museums. Located on the first floor of the Rohan Palace, the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) has an excellent collection of paintings by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, and French masters from the Middle Ages to modern times. There are works by Botticelli, Courbet, Delacroix, Giotto, Goya, El Greco, Rubens, and Véronèse among others. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) is located on the ground floor, the former apartments of the Cardinals of Rohan. Visitors can see the rooms of the bishop’s apartment, including a library, print room, and chapel, as well as the collection of decorative arts. Located in the Rohan Palace basement, the Archaeological Museum has one of the best collections of antiquities in France. The collection includes items from prehistory to the Middle Ages.
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