Strasbourg is a beautiful city situated in Alsace, France. It is right next to the border shared with Germany, so you get to experience the German influence of the place. The half-timbered houses will make you feel like you are out of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale and the unique Alsace cuisine is something to try once in a lifetime.
What is fantastic about France is the high-speed train. Indeed, from Paris, you can go to Strasbourg in less than two hours, whereas by car, it would take you between 5 to 6 hours… Therefore, Strasbourg is a perfect day trip to add to your itinerary if you visit Paris and want a glimpse of Alsace.
First, did you know that Strasbourg was part of Germany from 1871 until 1978? So don’t be surprised if you see long city names like Schweighaeuser* or if your menu at the restaurant is also in German!
*Note: Johann Schweighaeuser was a French classical scholar. A lot of street names in Strasbourg refer to notorious residents of Strasbourg.
Where to buy train tickets
So there are a few websites where you can purchase your high-speed train tickets for Strasbourg. The price can vary depending on the date, time, and tourism period. The three websites I recommend looking at are OMIO, Trainline, or OUI SNCF. By comparing those three, I found a round-trip ticket with Trainline for 82,14$ CAN, which included cancellation and modification insurance and 30$ if the train was late, as well as being able to choose my seat.
What to do in Strasbourg
La Petite France is the main attraction in Strasbourg. It is where you can see the beautiful half-timbered houses and the Rhin flowing through the city. Make sure to go to the street called Rue du Bain aux Plantes and look at La Maison des Tanneurs, a restaurant classified as a historical monument since 1927. Finally, take a look at the Barrage Vauban, a beautiful covered bridge (Pont couvert).
Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg
The Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg is a beautiful cathedral known as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It took 424 years to build and has been the tallest building in the world for 227 years (art-facts.com). There are so many details on the facades it is so impressive. You can also go inside the cathedral, where you will get to see the Strasbourg astronomical clock, one of the largest in the world.
The food and…the beer!
The food in Strasbourg is an experience in itself. Many restaurants serve traditional Alsace food, and I particularly enjoyed my experience at La Corde à Linge. Situated in La Petite France, this restaurant offers traditional Alsace dishes: spätzle, kelsch, choucroute, missele, knacks, and much more! I took a fried muenster cheese served with bread and choucroute (pickled cabbage cooked in wine) with, of course, a traditional Alsace beer. Delicious!
The Maison Kammerzell is right next to the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg. What is impressive about this is is that it was built in 1427!! It is now a restaurant and hotel, but it is worth it to simply take a look at this magnificent building of the medieval times.
Parc de l’Orangerie
Strasbourg is not a big city, so you can pretty much visit all the main points of interest by walk. Otherwise, there is also the tramway that you can use. So from the Cathedral, you can walk for about 30 minutes through the city to go to Parc de l’Orangerie. Strasbourg is also known as the capital of Europe, and it is also where you can find the European parliament. Thus, on your way to the Parc de l’Orangerie, you will notice embassies from all around the world, as well as the Palais Rohan and Palais du Rhin.
So why visit the Parc de l’Orangerie? Because it was created in honor of Josephine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is a beautiful romantic park with lakes, fountains, flowers and…swans! I was indeed really impressed by how many swans there were. It is the perfect place to relax and the walk to get there allows you to really discover the town.
This is it for this post about Strasbourg! I hope you enjoyed and it convinced you to discover this beautiful town. Each French regions are unique, and Alsace is definetly one of my favorite. Finally, I have heard that it is even more magical during Christmas as Strasbourg is known as the capital of Christmas with its Christmas market. If you have been to Strasbourg, leave me a comment about your experience, I would love to read it:)