Mainly known as the permanent seat of the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights, the French city of Strasbourg has also a unique touristic charm. Its location on a river makes it a preferred stop destination in many river cruises. Strasbourg can be reached through boat not exclusively as part of a cruise. By all means the accessibility of the city through water makes it a destination that could turn into romantic vacation starting from the very journey.
City with French-German history
Strasbourg is one of the ten biggest cities in France. It is located close to the German border. The city is the capital of the Alsace region in France and being the seat of many European Union institutions, it is a hub of multinational, intelligent people that work there. The unique thing about Strasbourg is that its whole central area, the so called Grande Ile (or Grand Island) is a charming, old-time area with beautiful buildings, protected by UNESCO. The spirit of Strasbourg also unites the Franco-German culture with a coexisting population of Protestants and Catholics. Strasbourg is also an important manufacturing and engineering centre.
Weather in Strasbourg
The weather in Strasbourg is warm in summer, and relatively cold in winter. There are multiple ways to reach it, as it has a good rail, road and water communication.
The impressive Strasbourg cathedral
Along with its bridges that connect the two parts of the city and stretch over the Rhine river, the city is known for its beautiful medieval architecture. One of Strasbourg’s landmarks is the famous Gothic Cathedral imposingly made of sandstone. The Cathedral has an astronomical clock. Charming addition to the cathedral are the medieval black and white timber-framed buildings in the streets that surround it. There are several prominent streets in the city where one could dive into the medieval town atmosphere. Apart from the cathedral, Strasbourg boasts several other medieval churches.
The Neo-Gothic church Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux Catholique is a place where many altars from churches destructed in the various onslaughts of the city through the ages are preserved and exhibited. Apart from the medieval houses and churches, one could pay a visit to the Ancienne Douane, the old custom house.
German landmarks in Strasbourg
In terms of architecture, the German Renaissance has also left remarkable traces in Strasbourg. A notable building from this period is the former town hall at Place Gutenberg that is nowadays Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie.
In terms of contemporary architecture, there are some interesting buildings too, among which are the European Court of Human Rights building, the new music school Cité de la Musique et de la Danse, the Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain and the Hôtel du Département, and the tramway-station Hoenheim-Nord designed by celebrity architect Zaha Hadid.
If you are in Strasbourg you should definitely visit the Place Kléber square in the very centre of the city. There you could enjoy the spirit of the French city, have a cup of aromatic coffee and even do some shopping.
More places to visit
Should you like to take a stroll, the city is perfect for this as well. There are several splendid parks whose amazing architecture dates back to the times of royalties. The rich in history Parc de l’Orangerie offers beautiful French style gardens, a castle and a small zoo, and is thus a great pastime not only for adults, but also for children.
The city, however, has a whole lot more to offer in terms of parks. There is a splendid park Parc de la Citadelle laid out by the Rhine river and built around the remains of a 17-century fortress. For the art lovers there is another park, Parc de Pourtalès, built around a Baroque castle that hosts an open-air museum of international contemporary sculpture.
Strasbourg and the arts
Strasbourg has a lot to offer in terms of culture and arts too. There are contemporary and classic art museums, an archeological museum and even a museum for floating down the Rhine river. The University of Strasbourg, which is the second biggest higher education establishment in France, also offers plenty of interesting museums and exhibitions, including one on archeological findings from Egypt and Sudan, another on minerals and still other on curious medical items.
Strasbourg is a unique city that blends the French culture with a little German taste. Its beautiful location on the Rhine river, its rich history that is reflected in the architecture, its cultural and academic spirit and last but not least – its significance as a seat of multiple European institutions, make it an attractive place for a city break or part of a cruise down the Rhine river.