Top 10 Things To Do in Strasbourg
Strasbourg’s location at the Eastern border of France and Germany makes it submerged in a cross-culture- the Franco-German culture. The honor of ‘the only world heritage site given to an entire city centre’ by UNESCO was endowed to Strasbourg in 1988. This city bridges the cultural gap between Germany and France.
Strasbourg also hosts The Strasbourg Grand Mosque which is the largest Islamic place of worship in France, also showing the religious tolerance, since Catholic and Protestant cultures also harmoniously coexist.
In order to appreciate just how much of a contemporary city Strasbourg is, here are top 10 things to do in Strasbourg.
1. La Petite France
The magic and picturesque sights of La Petite France are a far cry from what this district of Strasbourg used to be- unpopular due to the commercial activities in fur and leather. This charming pedestrian zone has interesting and beautiful half-timber houses, narrow streets and little boutiques for your discovery.
Your typical spa treatments have existed in La Petite France as early as the 15th century. The main street of the La Petite France used to hold a public bath in one of the houses where women could get treatment with fragrance and therapeutic herbs.
2. Strasbourg Cathedral
The Strasbourg Cathedral stands at a whooping 142metres high! Up until 1874, it was the tallest building in the world. Gothic style buildings such as the Strasbourg Cathedral will typically have two or more towers, however, this one has a single one, making it unique.
From its magnificent pulpit, artistic stained glass windows and astronomical clock, the beauty of this cathedral will enthral you, just like it did famous men in history.
You can enjoy free entry to the Cathedral on the first Sunday of every month. Otherwise, a 4. 40 Euro payment allows you to see the magnificent building.
3. Barrage Vauban
Imagine a defensive function where during an attack the land floods and the enemy is not able to pass through. This is exactly why the Barrage Vauban was constructed and was actually put to use in 870 during the Franco- Prussian war.
Visits to see Barrage Vauban and terrace is free, where views to the Ponts Couverts, and the Cathedral, as well as a number of sculptures, are in the offing. Going through the corridor within the structure is a fun thing to do while there.
4. Ponts Couverts
The now obsolete set of three fortified bridges and four towers mark your entry into Petite France. These were a defence mechanism and each of them was covered by a wooden roof to protect those on the defence line in war. The roofs have since been removed.
The covered bridge on the roof area now gives panoramic views of the surrounding area. You could enjoy the views or take great pictures when you climb up the roof.
5. Musée Alsacien
This museum is dedicated to all aspects of pre-industrial and early industrial Alsace life (Alsace is a region within Strasbourg). Packed with so much culture and history, the museum goes as far as reconstructing the interiors of several houses and stores a collection of artefacts that Alsatian Jews used, displays clothes, toys and kitchen tools among others.
You will get to experience processes of the pre-industrial life such as wine pressing.
A visit to the Musée Alsacien is one of the top 10 things to do in Strasbourg– it could be your first stop due to the history, thus a way of introduction to Strasbourg.
6. Palais des Rohan
What was once a residential building of the prince- bishops and cardinals of the house of Rohan is now a museum in Strasbourg that sits next to the Strasbourg Cathedral. It has remained virtually unchanged over the years.
Palais des Rohan has three of Strasbourg’s most important museums in it and a whole lot of history for you to uncover. You will find the Archaeological Museum on the basement, the Museum of Decorative Arts on its ground floor and the Museum of Fine Arts on its second floor.
7. Le Vaisseau
Not many cities will have centers where kids will be totally captivated and occupied for the better part of the day. There is Le Vaisseau in Strasbourg- an interactive, educational and recreational facility where children go to play, discover and study as per their own pace and field of interest. If traveling with children this is such a cool place to visit. It is also an interesting place to discover as an adult.
Le Vaisseau presents science in a fun way which helps with remembrance of concepts and good memories of Strasbourg.
8. Parc de l’Orangerie
Another spot in Strasbourg that children and adults alike would enjoy is Parc de l’Orangerie. This is the city’s oldest park, popular for jogging, walking and playing for kids. The park hosts the Stork, a bird that’s a symbol of Alsace but almost went into extinction. Today it thrives in Parc de L’Orangerie, and you can relax there as you look at the birds in their hundreds.
The park features a lake with waterfalls where you can enjoy boating. It also features “Pavillon Joséphine” that hosts numerous exhibitions and temporary events that you could bump into while there. The park also has room for the Buerehiesel, an attractive timber-framed house which has a gourmet restaurant that you could have a meal at. There is also a bowling centre and a terrace.
In a nutshell, your visit to the Parc de l’Orangerie can be as laid back as you’d like it to be.
9. Eglise Saint-Pierre le Jeune
This magnificent church has quite the history. However, what may capture you more are the nave with its vibrant colored frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries and the 18th-century organ in its gallery designed by Johann Andreas Silbermann.
Three churches were built on this same grounds in succession with different functions.
The church was shared between the Protestants and Catholics with a wall dividing them, supported by a rood screen. This was removed after the Catholic faction moved out making the whole church protestant.
There are a lot more furnishings and art to be discovered in this protestant church- you will appreciate the tour inside it.
10. Musée Historique de Strasbourg
Strasbourg’s history is tumultuous and is said to have begun as a Roman Military camp. Musée Historique de Strasbourg captures this troubled history. The museum is located in a 16th– century slaughterhouse.
The museum’s highlights include a painting of the first France national anthem, a Gutenberg Bible from 1485 and a 1:600-scale model, created in the 1720s that helped Louis XV visualize the city’s fortifications which were key in protecting it.
Your stop at Musée Historique de Strasbourg will give you a good backstory to Strasbourg as you explore other parts of the city.
Your trip to Strasbourg will no doubt be filled with discovery of medieval times and art. The German-French culture will also come through in the food and drink that you will enjoy as you partake of the top 10 things to do in Strasbourg. The districts built by the Germans and fortifications by the French make for a city to behold, making your trip memorable.