Although it has a German-sounding name, Strasbourg is actually a city in Eastern France. The German influence is apparent in the city and in its history – partly because of its close proximity to the German border. Strasbourg covers 30 square miles of the eastern part of France and is home to just under 300,000 residents – with the metro area being much more populated. Strasbourg is home to the governing offices of many institutions in France – including the Council of European Union. The economical importance of Strasbourg is apparent in its manufacturing and engineering centers. It’s also home to the second largest port on the river Rhine.
The weather Strasbourg is fairly mild – averaging between 45 and 60 degrees year round. However, due to its German influence, there can be some extremes in the weather for sure – with summers being unbearably hot and winters being bitterly cold. The air quality in Strasbourg is not so great, due to its location on the river. In fact, it has one of the most polluted atmospheres in France. This isn’t because of industry or waste, per se – but for the poor ventilation resulting from Strasbourg’s geography. City officials are making great strides to rectify the situation so this shouldn’t deter you from visiting the city. Many millions of tourist flock to the region each year. We’re going to show you some of the best places to visit in Strasbourg and what keeps the tourists coming back for more.
Places To Visit In Strasbourg
Source – lbranca
Strasbourg Cathedral – The Strasbourg Cathedral is an imposing structure standing 466 feet over the city. It’s renowned as being one of the most pristine examples of Gothic architecture in all of France. Its unique pink color comes from the sandstone that was used to build it. Each day at noon, the famous Astronomic Clock puts on a fantastic show for visitors as it chimes the hour.
La Petite France – La Petite France is a charming antiquated neighborhood with original homes and shops lining cobblestone streets. It is situated on the Ill river and was settled by tradesmen of all kinds – from fishermen to millers. Today, many shops still do things ‘the old fashioned way’ and sell their homemade wares to the thousands of people who stroll through each year.
The Planetarium – The dome shaped Planetarium in Strasbourg is a great way to learn about the solar system and pay homage to advances made in the astronomy field. Gaze upon the stars via the high powered public telescope, wander through a black hole in the ‘time machine’ or witness the Big Bang for yourself via The Planetarium’s re-enactment process.
The Museum “Secrets of Chocolate” – Chocolate lovers are going to enjoy this wonderful culinary museum. It explores the chocolate making process from the cocoa bean to the final sweet product. There’s also a candy maker on site that provides a demonstration of how the liquid chocolate is handcrafted into some of the world’s most sought-after candies.
The Zoological Museum – The Zoological Museum is a great place to visit to learn about and explore wildlife. Through a number of interactive displays, the museum teaches about the different habitats found in the world and why certain animals can only exist in certain areas as well as about the eating habits and lifestyles of many zoo animals.
The Jardin des Deux Rives – The Jardin des Deux Rives (Garden of Two Rivers) is a sprawling, lush green park that straddles the river Rhine. The garden was constructed to celebrate the unity between Germany and France and is a popular destination for locals and tourists on either side of the river.
The Botanical Gardens – The Botanical Gardens in Strasbourg is a naturists wonderland. There are two levels of amazing plant life, greenhouses, arboretum and lily ponds. The gardens cover 3.6 hectares and include some 6,000 varieties of plants and over 2,000 species of trees. There’s a separate greenhouse for winter plants as well as amazingly detailed plant groupings from several continents. A truly must-see for any visitor to Strasbourg.
The Parc de l’Orangerie – The Parc de l’Orangerie is Strasbourg’s oldest and most popular park. It has many activities for families with children – like playgrounds, a mini-farm and zoo. There is a lake on-site that is a popular destination for boating. The grounds of the park are quite pretty and even include a waterfall. The park also serves as a stork preservation grounds. The preservation effort began in the 1970s when the storks faced extinction. Since then, more than 800 of them have been born in the park.
Quartier Allemand – The Quartier Allemand or German District is a part of Strasbourg that pays homage to its German ties by way of many examples of traditional German architecture.
St. Martin’s Bridge – St. Martin’s Bridge is an old footbridge that serves as a reminder of Strasbourg’s quaint working class past. The river dissects into four arms at the bridge and many original structures are still intact as well as in use – like mills, dams and floodgates.
Bridge of Corbeau – The Bridge of Corbeau has a frightening past and the stories draw visitors to the area like moths to a flame – out of curiosity. The bridge was the site of many deaths of men, women and children who had their fate sentenced for whatever reason. Perhaps the most heinous deaths that occurred at the bridge were of the people sewn up in sacks and dropped into the water to drown. It used to be known as The Bridge of Torture – and rightly so!
Rohan Palace – This palatial estate once served as the home of French royalty, but today has been converted into a trio of museums. This is where you will find galleries dedicated to decorative arts, fine art and to archeology.
Vauban Dam – Vauban Dam is one of the most picturesque locations in the city. From here, you can view the Strasbourg Cathedral, the famous covered bridges, Petite France and all the canals that snake their way through the area.
Once you arrive in Strasbourg, find the Tourist Office. They have lots of information about the various self-guided walking tours in the city. These are easily navigated at your leisure and will take you through some of the most beautiful areas of the city. Most of the people you encounter on your journey will speak French, but expect to hear some German spoken by the older residents. The Strasbourg region was one of the first to produce beer in France so it’s likely you’ll encounter lots of breweries along the way. The Christmas Market is a huge deal in Strasbourg so be prepared for lots and lots of tourists during the holiday season. The increased number of tourists during this time is something to keep in mind when booking your accommodations.
Strasbourg is pretty technologically advanced so you’ll be able to find pay phones, cell phone service and even WiFi in some locations. Some of the locations offer the WiFi service for free while others charge hourly fee. McDonald’s restaurants always have free WiFi so make a note of that. If you find yourself in trouble and are a resident of Greece, Japan or the US – all of these countries have consulates in the city that may be able to help you with passport issues and things of that nature. Overall, Strasbourg is a safe city for its size. You should take the normal precautions for safety when it comes to valuables and traveling at night or in remote areas – just as you would in any other location.