Discover Strasbourg
Intellectual centre of France

The city of half-timbering, Gothics, and motherland to La Marseillaise

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Districts of Strasbourg

Strasbourg is the capital of the historic region of France of Alsace. It has the status of a commune, which is identical to a municipality or parish and is the prefecture of the Lower Rhine department, located in the Grand-East of France. The main attractions of Strasbourg are concentrated in its central part. There is the world-famous Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, the Palais du Rhin, the Kammerzell House, and many other monuments. The central part of Strasbourg is almost entirely pedestrian, and there is a buzz of life around the clock.

If you want to live away from the bustle of the city, choose housing in the eastern part of town. Parks, museums, university buildings, most of the buildings that were erected in the XIX-XX centuries, are also located in the eastern neighborhoods.

Young people will love the areas in the southern part of Strasbourg, where you can spend time in the inexpensive bars and restaurants. Also, this part of town will suit travelers who prefer budget hotels.

You can see the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the Court of Human Rights in the northeastern neighborhood called the Orangerie.


According to official data from 2013, Strasbourg is home to almost 300,000 people, and the population is constantly increasing. Most of the city's residents are French and Germans. Their number is about 80% of the total population. Representatives of other European nationalities make up 7%. The remaining 13% come from Africa, Turkey, Asia, and South America.

Brief history

The earliest settlements on the territory of today's Strasbourg date back to the Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Ages. In the III century BC, a Celtic city was located here. It was this settlement, called Argentorate (translated from Celtic as "fortress in the riverbed"), first mentioned in the chronicles as a frontier town of the Roman Empire. Since then, various tribes conquered it: the Alemanni, the Huns, the Germanic Franks. The city was subjected to destruction, but again and again, it was rebuilt and expanded.

As early as in the IV century, there was a bishopric in Strasbourg. In the VII century, Saint Arbogast of Strasbourg, who is considered the city's patron saint, lived here. In the IX century, the city was ruled by the Holy Roman Empire of the Germanic Nation.

In the X century, the city began minting coins, and at the beginning of the XIII century, it received its seal with the image of the Mother of God.

In the first half of the XV century, Johannes Gutenberg, the founder of European printing, lived and worked in Strasbourg. The city actively developed science and built cathedrals. The first university in Strasbourg appeared in the early XVII century. The local Protestant gymnasium received this status.

Throughout its subsequent history, the city passed from France to Germany. In 1681, the French troops conquered the city. The first factory for the production of faience was opened in Strasbourg in the early XVIII century.

Strasbourg is the city of La Marseillaise. This anthem of the French republic was first sung on Place Broglie and began its journey across the country from there.

In 1870, the city surrendered to Prussian troops and became part of the German Empire. Then, in 1918, French rule was restored in Strasbourg.

The years 1940 to 1944 were a period of occupation by German troops.

Since 1949, Strasbourg hosts the Council of Europe, and 30 years later, the first session of the European Parliament was held here. Since then, the city holds the unofficial title of the European capital. Thanks to the influence of French and German cultures, Strasbourg has acquired a wonderful charm of antiquity, which attracts fans of European history and culture from all over the world.

The best time to visit Strasbourg

The climate in the city is continental. Winters here are snowy and quite cold. The air temperature can drop to -10ºC ... -12ºC, and sometimes goes down to -20ºC. Summers are warm with an average temperature of +17°C ... +20°C. In some cases, the thermometer rises to +24ºС. June and August often see heavy showers and thunderstorms. The best time to visit is in late spring and early fall.

If you want to see a real Catholic Christmas, come to Strasbourg in December. During this time, there are Christmas fairs in all the squares. Try Alsatian hot drinks, original pastries, and choose souvenirs to remember. The city's Christmas market is the oldest not only in France but also in all of Europe. After all, Strasbourg is also called the capital of Christmas.

Fans of music come to Strasbourg in October for the International Festival of Contemporary Classical Music. The city hosts concerts of world-famous performers for two weeks on several sites. The city has a wide variety of festivals and events, so do check before you go whether you are interested in a fountain festival, a street theater festival, or any other event.

Useful notes

Things to do in Strasbourg

The capital of Alsace is a traveler's paradise. Every step you take is an ancient monument or a picturesque place. If you want to feel all the charm of Strasbourg, you should take a walk along the most popular routes:

  • Visit the architectural pearl of the city — The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. Its construction began in the XI century and is still unfinished. As a result, you can see several styles at once in the architecture of the building — early Romanesque and early and late Gothic. Look inside the cathedral, and you'll see an unusual astronomical clock. Every hour, a puppet comes out of it and puts on a little show.
  • Grab a cup of coffee in charming La Petite France, Strasbourg's romantic and sophisticated quarter with its half-timbered buildings, floral balconies, and covered bridges. Choose a table at a café overlooking the river and enjoy a beautiful view of the city's most picturesque quarter. It's especially beautiful in the evening.
  • Marvel at a gem of half-timbered architecture in the heart of Strasbourg — the Maison Kammerzell. The facade of this XV century monument has 75 windows. Each window is framed by the signs of the Zodiac, mythical characters, biblical scenes, and images of human feelings. You can even stay here if you like (there's a small hotel on the upper floors) or grab a bite to eat at Strasbourg's most famous restaurant, Maison Kammerzell, which is located in the basement of the building.
  • Admire the majestic Palais du Rhin, which was built for Emperor Wilhelm I. A symbol of German power at that time, this Baroque, Renaissance, and Ancient Classicist building is a fine example of XIX-century German architecture.
  • Take a stroll by the fountains at Place Kléber. It's Strasbourg's central square, where all official events take place. Beautiful mansions and monuments surround it. They house stores, restaurants, and administrative offices.
  • See the XIV-century frescoes in L'église Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune. One of the oldest churches in Europe was built back in the XI century. Until the XIX century, it was used for simultaneous services of Catholics and Protestants. This is reflected in the church's interior: one half is Catholic, the other half is Protestant.
  • See the magnificent Palais Rohan, built on the orders of the Bishop of Strasbourg in the XVIII century. Kings of France and their families frequently visited the palace. You can also see rare exhibits in several museums on its grounds.
  • Take a ride on the river streetcar, which sails under movable bridges and through locks. From the water, catch a glimpse of life in Europe's capital and take in the sights.
  • Have a picnic in Orangerie Park. This park, a favorite of Strasbourg citizens and visitors, was laid out by Napoleon for his wife, Josephine. Relax in the shade of the alleys, watch the flamingos, and feed the animals.
  • Take a trip across the Mimram pedestrian bridge (La passerelle Mimram) from France to Germany and back. This bridge over the Rhine River not only connects Strasbourg with the German town of Kehl but also serves as the border between the two countries.
  • Get to know the local cuisine. The Alsatians cook both French and German cuisine. Try Foie gras — goose liver pâté; Knack — sausage served with sauerkraut; snail meat boiled in broth and a popular local dish "choucroute" — stewed cabbage with potatoes and various kinds of sausages, with the addition of wine. For dessert, order pastries — salted pretzel, Kugelhopf buns with almonds and raisins, bacon and onion pie.

Map Strasbourg

Hotels in Strasbourg

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