Strasbourg is a beautiful city, the Alsace region’s capital, the headquarters of the European Parliament, and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Undoubtedly, an essential visit on your trip through the Alsace.
Strasbourg is a city that surprised us very much. Honestly, we hadn’t sought much information about the city and spent less time than it deserved.
We took a tour of the Strasbourg Cathedral area and realized that we had saved very little time for this city.
- Check out: road trip through France, from Madrid to Alsace.
- Read: Alsace 4-day Road trip
- Read: Things to do in Colmar
Things to do in Strasbourg, the Alsace Capital
At 18.00 we had to be in Colmar to receive the keys to our accommodation. It’s an hour by car, so at 5 pm we went to Colmar, but we loved Strasbourg so much that we came back after collecting the keys in Colmar.
A bit of Strasbourg history
The city of Strasbourg has its origins in a Roman square called Argentorata, which was destroyed by the barbarians and rebuilt in the 7th century under the name of Stratzeburg, which means “city of roads.”
It belonged to the Germanic Empire for almost a millennium, being one of its most prestigious towns. Strasbourg achieved a high standard of living due to navigation and trade.
In 1262 after several struggles between the bishop and the nobility, the city gained independence and became an imperial free city.
The arts and sciences grew, Protestantism developed. In 1681 the city was occupied by the French and fortified by Vauban.
Between 1870 and 1918 and between 1940 and 1944, the city returned to German hands.
What to see and visit in Strasbourg?
Our trip to Strasbourg and the Alsace was during Easter, so the weather did not accompany us much. And after our round trip from Colmar, we arrived in Strasbourg at about 7 pm.
In the rest of this post, I will explain our visit to Strasbourg and all that this beautiful city offers.
Most of the photos are nocturnal since we were here until midnight. I recommend you also do the free walking tour, it is excellent and will help you decide if you want to continue a more in-depth visit to the city or not.
The cathedral square is the heart of the old part of Strasbourg. It is surrounded by old houses and dominated by its impressive Notre Dame Cathedral.
Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it’s because of its surroundings or architecture, but it has a breathtaking facade.
The Strasbourg Cathedral is Gothic style. It began to be built on an earlier Romanesque building in 1176. Between 1240 and 1275, the different parts were built, and between 1284 and 1300, Erwin von Steinbach built the facade.
From here, the works progressed very slowly and were not completed until 1778.
The first stone of the facade was laid in 1277, and its decoration is amazing. On the porch on the right, we can see the Sane Virgins and the Mad Virgins.
In the center are the prophets and other sculptures. Its bell tower, 142 meters high, was the highest of all Christianity until the nineteenth century.
Inside the Strasbourg Cathedral stand out its colorful stained glass windows of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the organ in the form of a swallow’s nest, the pulpit, although undoubtedly what caught our attention the most was the Astronomical Clock.
If you arrive before 12.30 hours, you will be able to see the twelve apostles parade in front of Christ.
The Kammerzell House
One of the most beautiful houses in Strasbourg is the Kammerzell House. It was the home of rich merchants for generations and is located at number 16 of Cathedral Square.
The house was built in the sixteenth century by a cheese merchant. The ground floor is from the fifteenth century, which is composed of stone and suited with arcades, under which were the shops.
Please take a look at the first floor; you will see the date of its construction in 1589. The house owes its name to Philippe Kammerzell, who owned it in the mid-19th century. It currently houses a famous restaurant.
Next door is the tourist office; in case you require further information.
You leave behind the cathedral square and go to the Place du Chateau where the Rohan Palace is located.
It was built in the Parisian style between 1732 and 1742. Then, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Napoleon’s residence, which the Alsatians highly esteemed.
If you arrive at a more decent hour than us, you can visit one of the museums such as the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Archaeological Museum.
Notre Dame Museum of the Work
Right next to Rohan Palace you’ll find the museum of the construction work of the cathedral.
It is a very picturesque building, housing inside several original statues of the cathedral portals that were managed to be saved from the French Revolution and stained glass, paintings, and furniture from between the 11th and 17th centuries.
Ribera del Ill in Strasbourg
Continue your visit by strolling along the banks of Ill until you reach Petite France. We made a small stretch of this road and then went to get the car. You can see in the pictures that we were quite late.
If you make this section walking, you will see very picturesque places and historical places such as the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg, the Alsatian Museum, and the church of St. Thomas.
The Historical Museum is housed in a butcher’s shop in the city of 1587. In it, you can know the passage of time through Strasbourg’s urban, political, economic, social, and cultural history.
The Alsatian Museum
It is a museum of popular arts and traditions, reminiscent of what life was like in rural Alsace through objects of daily life. It is located in three beautiful Renaissance houses.
The Protestant Church of St. Thomas
It is the second-largest church in Strasbourg, the largest in the cathedral. It was built between the 12th and 15th centuries and has been Lutheran since 1549.
St Paul’s Church
Before heading towards Petite, France, we will pick up the car and pass the Gallia Bridge to take a photo of the Church of St. Paul. At night it looks imposing.
It is a Lutheran church in the neo-Gothic style and has been declared a historical monument of France since 1998.
It was built in the late nineteenth century when this area belonged to the Imperial Territory of Alsace and Lorena.
La Petite France
It is a very picturesque neighborhood that fishers, millers, and tanners once inhabited.
These houses have exposed wooden beams and are painted in different colors. The tanners’ houses are almost all built with a loft; the first and sometimes the second floor protrude above the ground floor.
The roofs are open with galleries under which they dried the skins after washing them in the canal.
We continue walking and reach the covered bridges. They are a kind of bridge wall, built between 1200 and 1250, guarded by two medieval towers. The stone bridges we see today are from the 19th century.
The Barrage Vauban closed the wall, built by Vauban in the 17th century, after the union of Strasbourg to France in 1681 to reinforce the medieval fortifications that were already obsolete.
Under the thirteen arches of the bridge, the floodgates could be closed, and the southern front of the city flooded to avoid any assault.
In the nineteenth century, the dam was made, and in the 60s, a panoramic terrace was conditioned on it.
If you have more time, you can visit the neighborhood of the European institutions. For example, where the Palace of Europe is located, the park of L’Orangerie, the European Convention of Human Rights, and some fragments of the Berlin Wall.
Where to sleep in Strasbourg?
In Strasbourg, you have a lot of hotel offers to choose from. My recommendation is at least to make a night in this beautiful French city.
How to get there?
You can get to Strasbourg by many different means of transport. We arrived by car as we were making a road trip through France from Madrid.
Plane: The fastest way to get there is by plane, it takes two and a quarter hours, and there are direct flights from Madrid and other locations. Then you can rent a car and tour the Alsace, and if you have more days, you have to visit the Black Forest (Germany).
By Car: You can get there by car like we did or you can rent it there. It is, without a doubt, the most comfortable way to get to know this area.
When is the best time to go to Strasbourg?
I think Strasbourg is a city for year-round travel. Although the weather is a bit cold due to its geographical location between October and March, it rains often, and the sun is rarely seen.
In April, May, and September, the temperatures are more pleasant, but you can catch some rain at any time. And for those who like to play it safe, the best temperatures are in the summer, June, July, and August.
At Easter, this area is very picturesque due to the décor. There’s plenty of tourism, but it’s not overwhelming.
In June there is a festival of Classical Music, in September a fair is held, and in December the city becomes the capital of Christmas.
Tell me, do you know Strasbourg? Did you like it? Please leave us your recommendations!!!
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Last Updated on 23 August, 2021 by Veronica