Both geographically and culturally located between France and Germany, Alsace’s Strasbourg is well known for its stunning Gothic cathedral, maze-like old town and timbered houses. Like something from the pages of a fairytale, the Grand Ile at its heart was the first city centre to be entirely classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Strasbourg
Grand Ile - Home to the Notre Dame cathedral built between 1176 and 1439, which also houses the Astrometric Clock. This ancient district is also home to the Baroque opera house and Musee Alsacien.
Petite France - The name of the small area between the rivers, lying just to the south of the Grand Ile. You’ll find half timbered houses looking out on cobbled streets, all lining the canal that runs through the area.
Stockfield - A garden city built in the early 20th century and located in the southern part of the town.
European District - Home to the many European institutions that are found in the city, including the seat of the Council of Europe, European Parliament and European Court of Human Rights.
Things to See in Strasbourg
The incredibly preserved UNESCO site that makes up the city centre is perhaps the main attraction in Strasbourg. It’s a mostly pedestrian zone which makes it perfect to explore on foot, or even bicycle. There’s a good choice of museums to visit, many of which have free or affordable entry, including the Historical Museum and Zoological Museum. Visit during the winter and you’ll find a more Germanic side of the town on show at the Christmas markets, the two most famous being at the Place Broglie and Place de la Cathedrale. France’s second largest student population also means there’s always something going on, with the opera, ballet and local orchestra hosting regular festivals.
Things to Do in Strasbourg
Explore the Grand Ile in detail, with history oozing out of every alleyway and narrow, twisting lane. The simply magnificent Notre Dame cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. No wonder it took centuries to build. Discover the ‘miniature Versailles’ at the Palais Rohan or simply stroll the streets of Petite France and experience the atmosphere - you can almost sense the artisans who honed their crafts for centuries here. It’s also hard to ignore the influence that the European institutions have had in the city. It’s a key focal point for the continent, with the eyes of the world frequently falling on the work that goes on here. Visit the European District and you can get a real sense of the city’s global importance.