Strasbourg is the brilliant capital of the Grand East region of France, whilst also subsequently being its largest city too! It lies on the border between France and Germany, and has often been named as the cultural bridge between the countries. This however has been vehemently disputed throughout history. Strasbourg has a population of 276 170 people and is situated 492 kilometers away from Paris. Just recently, in 1988, Strasbourg's historical part of the city centre, the Grand Île was classified as an UNESCO work heritage site. This was the first time in history that an entire city centre was bestowed with the title. Strasbourg is quite unique in that it has a Franco-German cultural ambiance and influence within its city.
Things to do & Places to see in Strasbourg, France
1. Cathédrale de Strasbourg
After the Notre-Dame de Paris, le Cathédrale de Strasbourg is considered the second most visited cathedral in the whole of France! The cathedral was built in the latter part of the 12th century by the Bishop of Strasbourg at the time. The work taken to complete the cathedral took over three centuries. It was only completed in the early 1400s. A type of sandstone from the Vosges area was used to construct the cathedral. The stone was originally a pinky brown color but later changed to a pink grey hue due to air pollution. The facades of the cathedral are absolutely magnificent, truly emanating the gothic influence in its architecture. The best way to view it in all its glory is from the road Rue Merciere. The facades also display a rather unique trait to architecture in France, with its sharp icicle looking shards that point upwards, forming a “curtain” in front of the main wall. Drawing all the attention away from the facades however is the magnificent rose window. The Rose window is 15 meters in diameter and is truly unique. Instead of depicting the traditional saints within the window, the artist depicted ears of wheat in the stained glass. Making reference to what was at the centre of commercial power in the city during that time. There are also other great stain glass windows exhibited in the cathedral, these differ from the rose window as they contain biblical images and figurines. It is the cathedral's spire however that is really what grabs everyone's attention. The spire of the bell tower has long been known as a symbol representing the city of Strasbourg. It reaches a total of 142 meters into the sky and is still to this day considered to be Europe's tallest medieval structure. A great viewing point of the city can be found on the first platform of the bell tower. If you are brave ( and fit) enough to make the climb of 330 steps, you will be rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of Strasbourg.
The cathedral is open for viewing by public but has scheduled times, in effort to maintain respect for those who still use it as a place of worship. It is open on weekdays from 10 am until 5:30 pm and then on Sundays from 12:30 pm until 6:30 pm. There is no cost of admissions it is free to all.
2. Palais Rohan
As a former residence of an ancient noble family, house of Rohan, the palace of Rohan is a wonderfully famous landmark in Strasbourg that is definitely worth a visit. The palace was completed in 1742 and is known as a symbol that reflects the history of France. After a domineering Protestant reign over the region, the Palais Rohan was built using an architectural style that was meant to indicate the return of the Roman Catholic age. The contents of the palace also reflect the roman catholic theme. Thus making it an extremely interesting visit as a museum.
Today the Palais Rohan is used a museum, exhibiting some of its original content, such as religious relics, paintings and statues. The museum is open every day except for Mondays from 10 am until 6 pm. Cost of admission is 6,50€ per adult and 3,50€ per child.
3. Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
The Strasbourg museum of modern and contemporary art was launched in 1998. It is a modern museum that not only displays the work of Monet, Kandinsky and Picasso but also provides a platform for new upcoming talent to be exhibited. Sitting on the bank of the Ile, right in the middle of Strasbourg's historical center, its modernity is reflected in its design, featuring lots of windows and open spaces. The museum features a wide variety of sections such as photography, graphic arts, an auditorium, educational services and a library. Their art collections are threaded with valuable pieces ranging from the late 19th century until today.
This is a great destination to visit as it pulls you into a modern day Strasbourg, that is not often seen as a tourist. The museum is open every day except for Mondays from 10 am until 6 pm. Cost of admission is 7€ per adult. Children enter for free.
How Do I Get Here From Paris?
When traveling from Paris to Strasbourg the quickest method is to take a TGV high speed train. It takes just under two hours. The cost of the ticket ranges between 90-95€ for a second class ticket and thus depends on what you choose to customize about your trip.
There is also the option of flying to Strasbourg. The flight takes around 2 and half hours and costs around 200€ one way. This is convenient but it costs more than double the price of a train ticket, and requires you to go through security checks which may prove an inconvenience.
Of course there is always the option of being able hire a car and drive yourself to Strasbourg. It is 430 kilometers in total which would mean it would take around four and half hours to travel there via the A4. This provides you with the convenience of being in control whilst you travel.