City summary: Strasbourg

Press release


Frontier towns are often cross-cultural capitals. Strasbourg is the embodiment of that role, stirring France and Germany into an appealing brew, even despite the increased complexity of hosting important international institutions like the Council of Europe and European Parliament. Somehow, they only add to the charm of Strasbourg’s historical center – “Little France,” now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – packed with narrow alleyways, canals and half-timbered houses with street-level winstubs (local taverns), all lorded over by an ornate Gothic masterpiece of a cathedral. It’s alchemical mastery at work, also evident in the one-of-a-kind Alsatian food and wine.

Fun Facts

  • In Strasbourg in 1792, Rouget de Lisle composed the Army of the Rhine's battle song, which later became the French national anthem, called the “Marseillaise.”

  • Now home to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, the city of Strasbourg was chosen as the European capital just after World War II as a symbol of reconciliation between the peoples of Europe and of their future together.

Significant Site

La Petite France: formerly the millers' and tanners' district, it is the city's most picturesque quarter (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), with narrow alleyways, canals and half-timbered houses

Extraordinary Exhibits

Palais de Rohan: a former palace of the prince-bishops and today the Archeological Museum (Musée Archéologique), Decorative Arts Museum (Musée des Arts Décoratifs) and Fine Arts Museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts)

Delectable Delights

  • choucroute à la strasbourgeoise: pickled cabbage (sauerkraut), salted pork, Strasbourg sausage and ham, best eaten in a winstub (local restaurant)

  • Alsace wines: famous whites like Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris

Legendary Local

Eliette Abécassis: writer and professor of philosophy at the University of Caen Normandy

Also in the Area

  • Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg: a restored medieval building built into the rock and a symbol of the German presence in Alsace from 1871 to 1918

  • Musée Lalique: features the entire creative output of René Lalique and his successors, with a special emphasis on glass and crystal

  • Alsace Wine route: a passage through the heart of the vineyards, where signs explain the work of the winegrowers and the diversity of the grape varieties grown

Access from Paris

  • by road: about 4 h 45 min (306 miles) via the A4 autoroute de l'Est

  • by train: about 1 h 45 min by TGV from the Gare de l'Est

For more about what to see and do in and around Strasbourg, click here