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Insider's Scoop: Strasbourg, France

Jon Panella Exp
by Jonathan Panella

November 22, 2019

3 minute read

In the Grand Est region of northeastern France, lies the city of Strasbourg, which blends French, Alsatian, and German cultures into theunique metropolitan area that it is today. In 2015, Alsace was merged with Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine to become the Grand Est region. This area has been disputed many times throughout history – by the Holy Roman Empire, Germany, and France to name a few – which have attributed to a unique cultural blend of this modern-day region. Strasbourg provides travelers an opportunity to view their famed black and white timber-framed buildings by foot on idyllic cobblestone streets or by boat through a series of canals and locks. In addition to admiring the architecture, other things to do in Strasbourg include visiting La Petite France, Cathédral Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, or the Parlement européen de Strasbourg.


La Petite France is the historical center of Strasbourg, located on the Grande Île. This is an island formed by the Ill River before it connects to the Rhine River on the border of France and Germany. This part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a multitude of half-timbered buildings, canals, a lock, four towers, the Cathédral Notre Dame de Strasbourg, and historical buildings that date back to the Middle Ages. It is easy (and recommended) to get lost and wander through the cobblestone streets searching for delicious Alsatian specialties such as tarte flambée alsacienne, choucroute garnie, or my personal favorite spaetzle.


For magnificent views of the city, Rhine River, and nearby Germany, no visit to Strasbourg is complete without trekking up the 332 steps of to the viewing platform at the Cathédral Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. This grand cathedral took 424 years to build and stretches to a height of 466 feet, which made it the world’s tallest building from 1647 to 1874. The cathedral is a beautiful example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture that has stood valiantly over the city of Strasbourg since its groundbreaking in 1015.

Whether you find yourself there for their Christmas market tour or stopping for a few hours on a river cruise, Strasbourg should definitely be on everyone’s list of places to visit in France. Be sure to sit back and take in this city with a glass of Alsatian Riesling and some French cuisine after a long day of traveling. You also want to check out the Parlement européen de Strasbourg to see the legislative branch of the European Union.

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