Upon leaving Luxembourg and making my way to Strasbourg I was left to wonder whether the upcoming city that I was about to visit was going to be able to live up to the one that I had just left. Located on the border of France Strasbourg has long been recognised as a haven of cultural beauty that attracts many a visitor each year who is hoping to capture a slice of the somewhat romantic and magical mystique that resides in this part of France.
So what should you expect from Strasbourg? With so many romantic and fairytale like destinations that you are able to visit why should you decide upon this part of France. Well for want of a word Strasbourg is simply quite majestic.
This show-stopping beauty with its cultural and colourful persona lives up to the high praise that has been lavished upon it by fellow travellers and tourists alike, showcasing to me just why it is held in such high regard and one of the most visited cities in France. Belonging to the Alsace region of France it sets the scene with an untouched natural beauty that invokes thoughts of romantic notions that would not look out of place upon a film set, whilst at the same time providing a unique charm that will sweep you off your feet and whisk you far away into a child like fairytale
So if your question is: “Why should I visit Strasbourg?” That might be the wrong question to be asking as it’s simply not a case of “Why would you?” but more “Why wouldn’t you?”.
Strasbourg does have an airport, although a minor one; you can reach the city via plane. The city is also easily reached via rail and bus. Flixbus offer cheap travel via bus; whilst booking your rail tickets in advance can save you on rail fares.
Hotel Rohan; elegance meets contemporary in this beautifully decorated modern hotel. Located in the heart of Strasbourg within close proximity to the Cathedral and Rohan Palace, this high end hotel also boasts an exquisite Alsatian restaurant that serves up local cuisine making for a fine dining experience to go along with your splendid stopover.
Ciarus hostel; for those that are running on a tighter budget this hostel is the perfect choice. Clean, spacious and on the periphery of the city centre making this hostel a great option for your stay in Strasbourg.
Getting around Strasbourg:
Strasbourg is an extremely walkable city and I always find the best way to manoeuvre around a city is on foot, if you can. If not, you can find plenty of bike rental options throughout the city with a 24-hour rental system available called Velhop. Strasbourg also boasts an extensive transit network of trams and buses
So with the accommodation and transportation taken care of let’s set about exploring this beautiful city.
Petite-France; a romantic beauty passes through the air along this corner of Strasbourg. Half timbered houses line the way along the river casting a splash of colour as their reflections bounce off the river Ill Home to a plethora of restaurants and cafes this quaint part of town provides the perfect backdrop for a bite to eat, a glass of wine or a coffee as you kick back and marvel in the picturesque beauty of your surroundings. It is also the perfect setting to partake in a stroll along the river and peruse around the shops on display.
Stroll along the rivers and canals; a stroll along the waterfront can be quite the enchanting experience especially in a beautiful city like Strasbourg. There are no shortage of rivers and canals so why not engage in a late evening, or early morning stroll, as you watch the sun rise or set whilst reminding yourself that it is sometimes the simple things in life that reward us with the most pleasurable experiences.
Barrage Vauban; looking over Petite France is an architectural delight that is free to visit. Make your way up to the viewing terrace where you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the city.
Ponts Couverts; three fortified bridges are home to four imposing towers that take up command on the outer edges of Petite France. The three bridges cross the four river channels of the River Ill that flow through Strasbourg’s historic Petite France quarter. Quite the impressive site these architectural gems really come to life in an evening when the sun goes down and they light up illuminating the evening sky.
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art; home to extensive collections of paintings, sculpture, graphic arts, multimedia and design from the period between 1870 and today as well as a wide range of pieces in its photographic library, this museum is the ideal place to uncover an artistic flare for those who are keen to dip their toes in such cultural waters.
Strasbourg Cathedral; holding council over the city this emblem of Strasbourg is an architectural wonder that you are not going to want to miss. Attracting in the region of four million visitors each year makes it the second most visited cathedral in France behind Notre-Dame de Paris. With its beautiful interior to compliment the spectacular exterior it is little wonder why this Gothic masterpiece is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.
Place Kléber; the heartbeat and focal point of the city is also home to one of the city’s Christmas markets and the official tree during the festive period. Constantly a hive of activity, it is also a great place to park yourself and partake in a spot of people watching. Surrounded by shops, cafes and eateries this commercial hub is the perfect meeting place and starting point for your day’s itinerary.
Shopping; for the more fashion conscious and those who like to indulge in a spot of retail therapy Strasbourg will not disappoint. Cartier and Gucci amongst others take up residence along rue de la Mésange whereas a visit to the picturesque rue des Orfevres will give you the opportunity to peruse over some fine high end jewellery with its selection of boutique and vintage shopping havens. The city also has an eclectic range of commercial retail stores making for a shopper’s paradise.
Parc de l’Orangerie; the city’s oldest park provides you with an opportunity to escape the crowds and relax in this peaceful sanctuary. Take a seat by the lake with its waterfall, or stroll through the beautiful grounds and allow yourself to be allured by the park’s calming nature and tranquility. Also home to plenty of children’s play areas as well as a miniature farm and zoo making for the ideal family, romantic or relaxing setting.
St. Paul’s Church; an extraordinary example of Gothic Revival architecture stands prominently on the banks of the River Ill. Located outside of the city’s main tourist areas you will not miss this alluring piece of craftsmanship due to the church’s dominant 76 meter tall towers that stand tall above all apart from the cathedral making this Strasbourg landmark something that you will not want to miss.
The Alsatian Museum; a visit to this museum will provide keen historians with the chance to witness how daily life in pre-industrial and early industrial Alsace was. Opened in 1907 and containing over 5,000 exhibits it offers a fascinating glance into Alsace history.
Sometimes you can be so involved in making sure that you don’t miss out on the main attractions that you miss out on other qualities that a city might have to offer. Don’t fight the allure to go off schedule, as a city this beautiful provides an excuse to indulge your inner wanderlust making for a care free tale of adventure as you lose yourself allowing the mood to sweep you along to places that you never knew existed. It’s only when you do this that I feel as though you uncover a city’s true personality and stumble across intriguing parts of a city that would have otherwise passed you by.
As I packed my bags and made my way to the bus station I parked myself on a bench along the river as the sun was beginning to come up and daylight was beginning to break. The summer warmth was beginning to shine through as I reflected upon the time that I had spent in the beautiful Alsace region. To suggest that Strasbourg is simply beautiful would be to undersell a city that makes you feel as though you have been swept up off your feet in a whirlwind romance. You don’t go to Strasbourg for a fling you go to be swept up off your feet and as I turned slowly and walked off into the distance I felt as though I had fallen for a city that I never thought that I would.
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