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Strasbourg

The intellectual and economic metropolis of Alsace
Already at first glance, the city offers a fascinating mix of the old and the modern, in the buildings, in the streets and in the monuments. Strasbourg is known as the intellectual and economic metropolis of Alsace, and its privileged geographical position has made it since ancient times a strategic hub for international communication and trade; so much so that in the past century it was chosen as the most appropriate forum for the European Parliament and other international bodies, including the Human Rights Court, the European Council and the International Human Rights Institute.
 

In 1988, the rich historical and cultural heritage of Strasbourg earned the city the title of UNESCO World Heritage site for the entire old town centre of Grand-Ile, a one-of-a-kind place, dotted with artistic buildings and connected to the rest of the city by 21 characteristic bridges and walkways.
 
 
Situated in the Grand-Ile and recognised symbol of Strasbourg is the Cathedral, dedicated to Notre Dame (Our Lady) and built between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries in a solemn Rhine Gothic style, around which radiate narrow winding lanes that still resonate with ancient Medieval arts and crafts guilds. The Maison de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame is nearby and worth visiting; once the home to the Stonemasons Guild, it now houses an exceptional museum dedicated to medieval sculpture.
 
Saint Paul Churche
The churches
Besides the Cathedral, there are numerous other churches, both Catholic and Protestant: Saint Etienne; the protestant Saint Thomas, the largest after the cathedral; the unique Saint Pierre le Vieux, a simultaneously catholic and protestant church; Saint Pierre le Jeune, with a remarkable cloister; Saint Guillaume, Saint Nicolas and many others.
 
The whole city is a continuous surprise and can be admired by boat or by bicycle, with some 500 kms of cycle lanes, amongst the longest in Europe.
In the sixteenth century a wave of high culture, influenced by the ideas of Humanism and the Reformation, made Strasbourg a major focus point for intellectuals from other countries, due mainly to the spread of the printing press that Gutenberg invented during his stay in the city. 
 
Rohan Palace
From this flourishing period one can admire the beautiful Renaissance houses, the old municipal slaughterhouse, the Chamber of Commerce building, the Rohan Palace, home to the homonymous family’s bishops, and which today houses three museums, in addition to the unique Kammerel House that was built in 1427 by a wealthy merchant. This building is a refined example of half-timbered construction, with wooden beams that feature rich decorations and carvings. The Egyptian House is a fine example of Art Nouveau, which should not be missed.
 
The Petite France
The Petite France
 
Petite France is a quaint neighbourhood, legacy of Strasbourg’s annexation to France which took place in 1681: in the past fishermen, millers, tanners worked here and characteristic wooden houses from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries can still be found, with their sloping roofs and barns that were once used for the preservation of hides. At the limits of the district are some of the most picturesque bridges in the city, ‘les ponts couverts’, which are no longer covered but surmounted by four ancient towers that were built for defence. The renowned Municipal Theatre and Strasbourg Opera house are built in a Neoclassical style and annually present a rich variety of performances.
 
The magical atmosphere of Christmas in Strasbourg
Christmas
Strasbourg is surrounded by a magical atmosphere during Advent, with the most spectacular Christmas market in Europe, where hundreds of stalls offer unique gifts, and in the middle of which stands a giant illuminated Christmas tree.

 
Gastronomic specialties
A city to enjoy, even from a gastronomic point of view, thanks to the true delights that many of the typical ‘winstubs’ (small traditional wine bars) have to offer: the foie gras and choucroute (sauerkraut and pork) are not to be missed, or the baeckeoffe (a rich beef stew with potatoes and onions). To complete these dishes there are renowned local beers and specialty wines including Riesling, Gewurtzraminer, as well as Muscat and the three varieties of Pinot: gris, blanc and noir.
 
Foie gras
Choucroute
Baeckeoffe

 
Where to sleep in Strasbourg

 

Strasbourg is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.

To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.

 


Text by Anna Glik
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock  
Video: it.france.fr/it
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
Update November 2018
All rights reserved.
 
 
 
Tourism Board
www.otstrasbourg.fr
it.france.fr/it
where to go
Monuments
CATHEDRAL

The Cathedral offers a richly decorated main façade with gables over three doors depicting the life of Jesus and the Last Judgement. Inside the Cathedral features an imposing nave inspired by the Church of St. Denis, with extraordinary windows by the masters of Strasbourg. A curious fact: at 12.30 pm each day in the south transept, a series of automata of the astronomical clock start to move.

www.cathedrale-strasbourg.fr


CHURCH OF ST. THOMAS
A beautiful example of Alsatian Gothic architecture. Inside it houses very beautiful Baroque funeral sculptures, including the Mausoleum of Marshall Maurice de Saxe, which was sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle in theatrical style. The pipe organ is also outstanding, and is played each year by Albert Schwaitzer to commemorate the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, a tradition that is still maintained today.
 
Museums
MUSEUM OF DECORATIVE ARTS, OF FINE ARTS,
ARCHAEOLOGY
The museum is located on the ground floor of the Rohan Palace, and features the sumptuous apartments of the cardinals with an overview of the applied arts, ranging from the famous ceramics of Hannong to furniture, silver and sculpture from a time period between 1681 and the mid-nineteenth century. The first floor of the Rohan Palace offers a rich collection of works by Italian and Flemish artists, including Giotto, Botticelli, Veronese, Raphael, Rubens, Van Dyck, Goya and many others. And also, situated in the underground passageways of the Rohan Palace, the museum illustrates the ancient history of Alsace and daily life.

www.musees.strasbourg.eu

MUSEUM OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART

Inaugurated in 1988, this is one of focal points of cultural activities in Strasbourg. It has a spectacular architectural layout with a central glass-covered walkway designed by the architect Adrien Fainsilber, and houses works by Monet, Picasso, Doré, Kandinsky, as well as masters of Surrealism such as Ernst, Masson, Brauner and others, along a tour that explores the great changes in art of the twentieth century.

www.musees.strasbourg.eu

 
NOTRE-DAME MUSEUM

Closely linked to the construction of the cathedral, this was once the administrative headquarters of the construction site and today houses one of the most beautiful collections of medieval and Renaissance sculpture of the whole of France, including valuable statues from the cathedral – which presently displays copies – representing the Church, the Synagogue and the Tempter.

www.oeuvre-notre-dame.org

ALSATIAN MUSEUM

Founded in 1902 to reaffirm regional identity with a view to tackling Germanisation attempts, the museum is housed in three ancient Strasbourg residences. The interior features some 30 rooms, which illustrate the traditional daily life of the region with furniture, paintings, costumes and toys.

www.musees.strasbourg.eu

 
AUBETTE

This is an unusual museum located in a late eighteenth-century construction, recognised as a historic building. In 1928 it became a fashionable entertainment centre. It features the ciné-dancing room and a room for parties, and was decorated applying the theories of the modernist ‘De Stijl’ movement, which was in vogue at the time.

www.musees.strasbourg.eu

VAISSEAU

Open in 2005, this museum invites children from 3 years old upwards to discover science in a playful, fun way, from the origins of life to the principle of physics.

www.levaisseau.com

VOODOO CASTLE

Situated inside a water tank, this unusual museum offers an interesting collection of voodoo objects from Western Africa.

www.chateau-vodou.com

 
Excursions
BOTANICAL GARDEN

This spectacular green oasis is located in the heart of the city. It houses some 6,000 species of plants from all over the world. It is part of the University of Strasburg and still maintains its original appearance when it was conceived in 1884.

www.jardin-botanique.unistra.fr

PLANETARIUM

This is a great universe in the heart of the city, with breathtaking images that reveal the wonders of the stars and where each month night sessions to observe the stars are proposed to the public.

www.planetarium.unistra.fr

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT – COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Don’t miss a visit to the futuristic architecture of the European Parliament, which consists of a solemn semi-circle and is also open to visitors. The equally monumental building housing the Court of Human Rights is also well worth visiting.

www.europarlstrasbourg.eu 

www.echr.coe.int

 
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