Spain Guide

France Guide

 

Strasbourg France

strasbourg 2381163 640

Strasbourg, which means "the city of roads" in German, is at the crossroads between northern Europe and the Mediterranean, eastern Europe and France. As such, and with its close proximity to the Rhine, which is one of Europe's main transport arteries, Strasbourg is the centre of Europe, equally as close to Milan, Frankfurt and Zurich as it is to Paris.

Strasbourg was an independent city run by a guild of citizens until it became part of France in 1681. It now represents European unity and is home to the trinity of the European Parliament, Council and Court of Human Rights.

http://www.ot strasbourg.com/http://www.ot strasbourg.com/ Official tourist site for Strasbourg (top right button for English).

Strasbourg airport information www.strasbourg.aeroport.frwww.strasbourg.aeroport.fr

There a quarter of a million inhabitants in Strasbourg, 40,000 of which make up the huge international student population, and even more people flock there during parliamentary sessions. This all makes Strasbourg feel very cosmopolitan, but without being too sprawlingly large. The university, founded in 1566, is very well respected and numbers Goethe among its alumni.

If you arrive in Strasbourg by train at the gare SNCF, you are only 15 minutes' walk away from the cathedral in the town centre. Walk along rue du Marie Kuss and then rue du 22 Novembre to reach the place Kléber. The main tourist office is at 17 place de la Cathédrale (03 88 52 28 28), and they will be able to advise on hotel room availability for that night, although it is better to book in advance as parliamentary sessions cause huge upsurges in the number of bookings once every four weeks. You can buy a Strasbourg Pass there too, for €9.90, which gets you entry into one museum, half price discount on the second, free entry to cathedral tower, a boat tour and one day's bike hire.

Biking or walking are ideal ways to navigate the town centre as bike hire is fairly cheap and there are lots of cycle paths (300km!), and the central island (the Grande Île) is half pedestrianized. There is little chance of getting lost as the centre is contained on an island surrounded by the River Ill and its canalised continuation, the Fossé du Faux Rempart. Plus, the cathedral spire serves as a useful landmark as it is visible almost everywhere.

The pink sandstone Gothic Cathédrale Notre Dame is the focal point of Strasbourg, and indeed much of Alsace. Stand on the rue Mercière for the best view of its western elevation, completed in 1284. The delicate spire was completed in 1439. €3 and the energy to climb 332 steps up the tower will give you a fantastic view of the Vosges mountains and the old town, and Petite France further to the west, where a network of canals, narrow streets, half timbered houses and geraniums is reminiscent of medieval Strasbourg.