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Best things to do in Strasbourg

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Where in the world: Europe  /  France  /  Grand Est  /  Bas-Rhin  /  Strasbourg

Top 15 things to do in Strasbourg

1. La Petite France

No visit to the Strasbourg-Alcade region is complete without a stroll down the Grand Île in La Petite France. Once a tanning and slaughterhouse hub, La Petite France is located on the Grande Île (Main Island), where the river Ill divides up into a maze of canals, cascading through a pristine thatch of medieval half-timbered houses and baroque sandstone buildings. In 1988, the Grand Île was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a must-see on your itinerary. The name Petite-France ("Little France") was not bestowed upon the region for patriotic or architectural reasons, it originates from the "hospice of the syphilitic" (Hospice des Vérolés, in French), an area constructed in the late fifteenth century on this island, to cure persons with syphilis, then called the "French disease" in German.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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2. Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

Nestled amidst an array of charming medieval houses, the Romanesque architecture of Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, a masterpiece of Erwin von Steinbach, is widely considered to be among the finest examples of high or late Gothic Architecture in Europe. Standing at 142 m (466 ft), it was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874, only to be surppassed by St. Nikolai's Church in Hamburg. Today, it is among the tallest churches in the world and is still the highest still-standing struture built entirely during the Middle Ages. The cathedral was described by Victor Hugo as a "gigantic and delicate marvel" and by Goethe as a "sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God". Visible from across the plains of Alsace, the Cathedral can also be seen from the Vosges Mountains and from the Black Forest across the Rhine. While you're here, don't forget to take note of the exquisite astrological clock built by Schwilgue of Strasbourg in 1842.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Place Stanislas, Nancy

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Place Stanislas is surrounded by some of Nancy’s best-known buildings, including city hall and the opera house. Visit this charming square with its grandiose fountains and wrought-iron gates for a sense of France in the 18th century. The square is named after King Stanislas Leszczynski of Poland in honor of his son-in-law Louis XV. At its center is a statue of its namesake created by Georges Jacquot: King Stanislas stands dressed in flowing robes, holding a sword in his left hand and pointing toward the north with his right. Light ochre stones pave the square, with two lines of darker stones forming a diagonal cross motif. Many festivals and assemblies are held here throughout the year.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Orschwiller

Fancy a wander through a thirteenth century castle overlooking the Alsatian plain? Beautiful Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is located in Orschwiller, Alsace amidst the sprawling Vosges Mountains just west of Sélestat. Due to the castle’s strategic locale, the castle was well used by successive powers from the Middle Ages on. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg was passed down from the Hohenstaufen family to the Dukes of Lorraine, who in turn entrusted it to the Ratsamhausen family (knights from Middle Alsace), who then held the castle until the fifteenth century. It’s believed that in the midst of the Thirty Years War, the castle was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908, it underwent an intense restoration phase under the watchful eye of Emperor Wilhelm II. Today, the castle is a highlight in the region, and if you’ve signed yourself up for an Alsace wine tour, Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is a popular stop.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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7. Parc de l'Orangerie

A major public park on 25 hectares (60 acres), Parc de l'Orangerie dates back to the 17th century. The park features a mini-zoo, mini-farm, stork-breeding enclosure, retro rides, and several playgrounds. The more modern northwest portion of the park is popular for skateboarding, sports, and urban BMX biking. Rent a canoe and paddle around the man-made lake, view an exhibit at the Joséphine Pavilion, and dine in the on-site gourmet restaurant with billiards, a bar, and bowling.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Barrage Vauban

The Barrage Vauban, or Vauban Dam, is a bridge, weir and defensive work erected in the 17th century on the River Ill in the city of Strasbourg in France. At that time, it was known as the Great Lock (grande écluse), although it does not function as a navigation lock in the modern sense of the word. Today it serves to display sculptures and has a viewing terrace on its roof, with views of the earlier Ponts Couverts bridges and Petite France quarter. It has been classified as a Monument historique since 1971.The barrage was constructed from 1686 to 1690 in pink Vosges sandstone by the French Engineer Jacques Tarade according to plans by Vauban. The principal defensive function of the barrage was to enable, in the event of an attack, the raising the level of the River Ill and thus the flooding of all the lands south of the city, making them impassable to the enemy. This defensive measure was deployed in 1870, when Strasbourg was besieged by Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War, and resulted in the complete flooding of the northern part of the suburb of Neudorf.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg

Located on the first and second floors of the beautiful Baroque Palais Rohan, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg presents an overview of Old Masters paintings by Upper Rhenish artists from 1681 to 1871, and non-Upper Rhenish artists from the 14th century to 1871. Italian works include pieces by Renaissance masters Botticelli, Raphael, and El Greco. Baroque, Classicism, and Naturalism in the 17th and 18th centuries are represented by Rubens, Vouet, La Belle, Canaletto, Tiepolo, and Goya. Paintings from the 19th century include diverse works by Delacroix, Chasseriau, Corot, and Courbet. The lavish collection of paintings includes "Portrait of a Young Lady" by Raphael, "The Myth of Prometheus" by Piero di Cosimo, and "Madonna with Child and Two Angels" by Sandro Botticelli. Be sure to view Dante Gabriel Rossetti's 1863 oil on canvas, "Joan of Arc Kissing the Sword of Deliverance."
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Palais de Rohan

Hailed as one of the most important buildings within the city of Strasbourg in Alsace France, Palais de Rohan stands as a monument to local baroque architecture. Over the course of its history, it has housed three of the most important museums located within the city limits: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Museum of Fine Arts. The Galerie Robert Heitz, a city gallery, is located within a side wing of the palace. Originally commissioned by Cardinal Aarmand Gaston Maximilen de Rohan, Bishop of Strasbourg, palace architect Joseph Massol erected the castle between 1731 and 1742. Come walk the same halls Napoléon Bonaparte strolled back in 1805, 1806, and 1809. The castle itself has seen its fair share of tragedies, including a fire in 1870, and later, English and American bombs during the 1940s. The sprawling architectural masterpiece was restored in the 1990s and opened its doors to an adoring public.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. Alsatian Museum

Alsatian Museum is dedicated to all aspects of daily life in pre-industrial and early industrial Alsace. The museum contains over 5000 pieces, and is notable for its reconstruction of several charming, traditional houses, as well as its rich collection of artifacts documenting the everyday life of the Jewish people of Alsace. Your admission comes with entrance to several Renaissance timber-framed houses with painted furniture, costumes, local ceramics, toys, and religious and nonreligious images. Several reconstructions bring you into a high plains farmer's living room or craftsmen’s workshops, such as a forge and a carpentry shop.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. European Parliament Strasbourg

Learn the international role Strasbourg plays in Europe at the official seat of European Parliament Strasbourg. Only visitors at least 14 years old may enter the modern, round, glass and steel building. Guided visits are free for groups and are conducted in English, French, and German when the plenary session is out. During plenary sessions, you can watch the parliament in action for an hour, with permission. Two-to-three month advance booking is recommended. The visitor's center has a canteen with a bar for refreshments, photo area, gift shop, and a coatroom.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Musee National de l’Automobile – Collection Schlumpf, Mulhouse

Calling all car enthusiasts! Musee National de l’Automobile – Collection Schlumpf is the largest museum of automobiles in the world with 500 vehicles, including 464 cars from 98 different makers. This one-of-a-kind museum also boasts the famous Fritz Schlumf collection, which dates from 1878 to the present day, as well as the largest collection of Bugattis in the world. The museum itself is located in an old 1880s mill. Founded by two Swiss-born brothers, Fritz and Hans Schlumpf, the collection gained its first acquisition back in the early 1940s during the second World War. The brothers continued to build their collection over the years, and it wasn’t until 1977 that the public became aware of the collection. Not only is it the largest collection of automobiles, but it has been described as the most prestigious collection.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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