Explore its old town, its Christmas markets, its cuisine and canals. There is a wealth of treasures hiding in the Alsace capital. Just for you, we have put together our pick of things to do in Strasbourg!
1. Strasbourg Cathedral
An absolute must-see, Strasbourg Cathedral is as unmissable as it is huge and majestic. Built between 1176 and 1439, it is a true masterpiece of Gothic art. Its spire reaches 142 metres high, and is covered with hundreds of sculptures that play with the light.
Note: In summer, a light show brings the façade to life.
The interior exudes a Gothic atmosphere thanks to its rich and varied décor. Note: the 63-metre-long nave is one of the longest in France, and the stained-glass windows are the most ornate in France, second only to those in Chartres Cathedral.
Hint: keep an eye out for the strongest man in the cathedral. To help you, he is made of stone, beneath a pillar, to the left of the main door.
2. The astronomical clock
You cannot visit Strasbourg Cathedral without stopping to look at the astronomical clock at exactly 12:30 pm. It is THE cathedral’s big attraction. Housed in a 16th century case, its mechanism was created in 1842. Every fifteen minutes, the four ages of life are set in motion: the child, the young man, the mature man, the old man who announces his death and the arrival of the child.
The work of a self-taught man from Strasbourg who became a genius in mathematics, astronomy and mechanics, the clock displays the time, the civil and religious calendar, and also gives astronomical information.
Note: The clock accurately predicted a lunar eclipse on 28 March 2006.
3. Strasbourg Cuisine
Strasbourg cuisine no doubt brings sauerkraut to mind. But Alsace is home to many other specialities that are just as delicious, like cold meats, Baeckeoffe, foie gras, or Coq au Riesling, but also delicious cakes like Gugelhupf, the famous little biscuit called “Maennele”, and Bredele.
But Strasbourg cuisine also brings wine to mind! From Sylvaner to Riesling, Pinot, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat, the Alsace wine route is home to many fine wines.
4. Petite France
You cannot visit Strasbourg without taking a look at the old tanner district, today known as “Petite France” (Little France). Classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is old Strasbourg, the traditional Strasbourg, with its canals and its small half-timbered houses dating from the 16th century, its mills and weeping willows, all combining to create a typically Alsatian landscape.
To the very south you will find the covered bridges of Strasbourg, which date from the 18th century. Wonderfully juxtaposed alongside the historic architecture, on the opposite bank you can find the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, an example of highly original and contemporary architecture.
Note: destroyed during WWII, the town of Strasbourg undertook a tremendous reconstruction of Petite France after the war.
5. Christmas markets in Strasbourg
As the days grow shorter and shorter, everyone descends upon the streets of Strasbourg in search of presents to put under the Christmas tree. Because of course, with its many markets, Strasbourg is the French capital of Christmas magic. Wandering between the different wooden huts, hot wine in one hand, and a Bredele in the other, you are sure to feel surrounded by traditional Alsace.
The Christmas food markets, small regional producers, Alsatian Christmas delights, the Strasbourg Cathedral market, or Broglie Square – there is something for all tastes!