Known as “The Capital of Europe,” Strasbourg’s Germanic roots extend beyond its iconic Christmas market.
Being one of the most important cities in France, Strasbourg is a must-see city when visiting the Alsatian region. The city seduces its numerous visitors thanks to its dynamic cultural scene, picturesque landscapes, and proximity to Central Europe. By bike or by foot, Strasbourg is to access and will charm you in every way possible. If you haven’t had the chance to visit during Christmas time, we strongly recommend it because it’s simply magical! Spend a week in Strasbourg if you’d like to add Colmar into your itinerary in the Alsace region, but Strasbourg alone can be done within three days.
Hot Tip! There are museums in every French city, but travelers in Strasbourg tend to walk around the city to admire its authenticity. So staying outside rather than visiting palaces or museums is much preferred and a more popular form of enjoying Strasbourg.
HOW TO GET THERE
To reach Strasbourg from Paris, there are two options! From Paris Gare de l’Est to Strasbourg-Ville, it is approximately a 2-hour train ride and costs between 140-250 euros. By car is a 4-hour and 30-minute ride, the route is beautiful as you will pass through Reims and Metz.
SEE / DO
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
Pl. de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, France
This majestic monument is at the center of the city and impossible to miss! As gothic architecture began dominating France in the 1200s, the Cathedral is a true masterwork of this style, even though some parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture. Notre-Dame de Strasbourg is “a skillful combination of monumental size and delicateness” wrote Victor Hugo. Inside, admire the breathtaking 142 meters octagonal tower which is a fine example of architectural grace, as well as the stained-glass windows dating back to the 12th century. On the exterior facades, thousands of sculptures are displayed and seem to come alive during the light show in the summer. Its construction began in 1015 and finished in 1439 and was considered to be the world’s tallest building until it was surpassed by the St. Nikolai’s Church in Hamburg.
This quaint little quartier is the most visited one in Strasbourg. With its canals, half-timbered houses, and cobblestone alleys; this area is nothing but charming and you will understand why it is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This historic district is also home to the most famous restaurant in Strasbourg: La Maison des Tanneurs (temporarily closed due to COVID-19,) overlooking the river. Originally, Petite-France was built on the banks of the river to accommodate the needs of butchers and tanners to be near a water source. When the weather starts to get warmer, the terraces and windows of the houses overflow with beautiful flowers, adding magic to the neighborhood. Enjoy a coffee or a regional pastry at a local café and soak up all the beauty around you.
Rent a bike
Strasbourg is the biking capital of France with over 500 kilometers of bicycle lanes. With cycling becoming increasingly popular, many routes were developed for the citizens of Strasbourg who wish to escape the city for a few hours. The most scenic route is Le Canal du Rhône au Rhin. With the push of a pedal, you will find yourself in a vast green area, far from the city. This lane, shaded by the trees, will take you to Colmar if you wish! Starting at Heyritz Park along the riverbanks, the bicycle lanes resemble the South of France by their allure and atmosphere. On a warm spring day, there is nothing better than taking a bike, evading the noise, and being at one with nature.
Oh my Goodness
13 Rue de la 1ère Armée, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Located in the center of Strasbourg, Oh my Goodness is the perfect spot for a quick lunch, brunch, or an afternoon coffee. This vintage two-story coffee shop, run by a non-profit organization, is set in a cozy atmosphere with antique furniture perfectly spread out. Board games and books are at your disposal if you wish to make the wait entertaining! For coffee lovers, we recommend tasting its renowned espresso, either after lunch or accompanied by a tasty pastry. For a brief lunch, the establishment offers some great options: a veggie burger, a soup, and a drink. Either with friends, family or colleagues; Oh my Goodness is a great place to gather.
Picnic along the banks of the river
On a warm day, picnicking along the riverbanks is a must! Le Quai des Bateliers is the perfect spot for those wishing to eat outside, surrounded by nature and water. In the evening or afternoon, the riverbank is always a lively and active place. For architecture lovers, La Place du Château is a great area for a picnic! More urban, you will be surrounded by various museums, the castle and the cathedral; the perfect site for history fans.
La Petite Mairie
8 Rue Brûlée, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Owned by the Wagner family, discover this lovely bistro serving traditional French and Alsatian food provided in generous portions. Marie Wagner welcomes you in a cozy and subdued Alsatian ambiance and always greets you with a smile. In the kitchen, Lucas Wagner revisits traditional dishes by adding his own twist. The plates are elaborate, beautifully displayed, and made from fresh regional produce. Many visitors come to La Petite Mairie to enjoy: beef tartare, pork tenderloin “cordon bleu style” with truffles, and their crispy Rum Baba. A personal favorite of mine is the foie gras burger with truffle mayonnaise. How tempting does that sound? One thing is for sure: you will come back both for the food and the homely service!
Hotel Le Grillon
2 Rue Thiergarten, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Located in the picturesque quartier of Petite-France, Hotel Le Grillon is within walking distance of the museums and the cathedral. The story behind this hotel is truly inspiring as it was a young girl, freshly out of Hospitality School, that decided to buy this establishment. She became the youngest hotel owner in the Alsatian region, and with the help of her partner, Le Grillon obtained its third star. Today, it is still under the ownership of that same woman – Juliana Jorge – who always improves to make the hotel the best experience possible for guests. Along with the modern and comfortable 62 rooms, the hotel is equipped with the La Perestroika Bar where locals, guests, and vodka enthusiasts come together in a lively atmosphere. Every morning, Le Grillon offers a breakfast buffet filled with fresh and local products, the perfect way to start a full day!
Hotel and Spa Le Bouclier d’Or
1 Rue du Bouclier, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Established in a 16th century building, Le Bouclier d’Or is the finest example of Alsatian charm. Within a 5-minute walk from the Cathedral, the European Parliament, and the town center; the hotel is the perfect spot to visit Strasbourg and its landmarks. Every room is uniquely decorated with vintage trinkets, antique furniture, period artwork. Each offers different advantages, such as having a view on the rooftops of Petite-France or having an Italian bathroom. After a long day, trade your sneakers for slippers and a bathrobe and head to the sauna, hammam, or massage room! While Le Bouclier D’or does not possess an on-site restaurant, it does include an enchanting tearoom in an intimate setting. Breakfast is served in the dining area, which has the feel of The Palace of Versailles, accented by an impressive crystal chandelier. This quiet and elegant hotel is the perfect base to visit Strasbourg either with friends, family, or your significant other!
Hotel Cour du Corbeau
6-8 Rue des Couples, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Tucked away at the end of a cobblestone alley, Cour du Corbeau is one of the oldest hotels in Europe. Just a stone’s throw away from the Rohan Palace and the Cathedral, the hotel is immensely popular among tourists. Dating back to the 16th century, the half-timbered building is both romantic and traditional as some original features were left intact, such as: the wooden balconies and the courtyard. Blended with modern-day amenities and elegant furniture, the hotel embodies the perfect combination between history and innovation. The 57 rooms are a fusion of Neo-Baroque furniture and contemporary comforts, like: a minibar, flat-screen TV, heated towel rack…etc. We recommend getting a room with a private balcony overlooking the magical courtyard! It’s definitely worth it. There is no on-site restaurant, however the hotel provides 24-hour room service with sandwiches and salads. I guarantee you will fall in love with the inn’s ambiance and loveliness.