Strasbourg is a charming and dynamic city, the capital of Alsace and located near the border with Germany.
Seat of the European Parliament and home to many universities, its great heritage and history give the city an international and yet old world vibe all at the same time.
Strasbourg and the villages and towns between Strasbourg and Colmar are wonderful places to visit on a trip to France.
Things to do in Strasbourg, Alsace
There are many interesting things to see and do in Strasbourg, be it during the holiday season with the magical Christmas markets, or at any time of the year, when you may still enjoy the rich heritage, gastronomy and architecture of the area.
1. The Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg
The crown jewel of the city is its cathedral, with its spire visible throughout the city. The cathedral is the second most visited in France (behind Notre Dame de Paris) and like her sister, is an amazing example of Gothic architecture. It is worth the effort to climb the 332 stairs to the spire's platform for a breathtaking view of the old town and beyond to the Vosges mountains and the Black Forest in Germany. Inside is a medieval astronomical clock that performs each day at 12:30pm.
2. The Old Town & the Petite France
The oldest part of town is on the Grand Ile, and is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Stroll along the quaint streets of the Petite France area and admire the typical and colorful half-timbered houses with flower boxes overflowing with geraniums.
You can also snap a picture of the Barrage Vauban, the 17th century engineering feat built by Vauban, which would flood the southern areas of the city in the event of an enemy attack.
3. The European Parliament
Strasbourg not only houses the European Parliament, but also the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. The European Parliament building, located north of the city, is a beautiful example of contemporary architecture. You can learn more about how Europe works in the interactive museum inside.
The European Parliament - ©Pixabay
4. Saint Pierre le Jeune Church
Built in the early 11th century on the site of an Merovingian chapel, the cloister and lower parts of the bell tower remain from the romanesque church from this time. The present church, begun in the second half of the 13th century, authorized protestant worship in 1524. There are a number of lovely frescoes worthy of admiration.
5. Winstubs - typical restaurants to enjoy the Alsatian food
Go local and enjoy a drink of Alsatian wine or beer and/or a great meal at one of the many winstubs in town. Originally, winemakers would sell off their wine surplus by operating small restaurants serving local specialties and wine in pitchers. Today, winstubs remain casual, fun and have a great ambiance.
Check out Winstub S'kaechele at 8 rue de l'Argile for a true winstub experience. Large portions enjoyed near your fellow diners in an authentic ambiance. Book ahead to be sure to have a table.
6. and of course Strasbourg Christmas Markets !
There are about 13 small markets all over Strasbourg city with several hundreds of little shops so for sure, you'll find something yo bring home !
The Most beautiful places near Strasbourg
It is worth venturing outside the city driving around to discover the gems dotted in the surrounding countryside around Strasbourg.
Lalique & Baccarat glass work
Lalique, Baccarat. . . prestigious names associated with high quality glass and crystal works.
The village of Baccarat, located an 1hr30 from Strasbourg, began making crystal in the 18th century. The Bishop of Metz wanted to stimulate commerce in the little village, and the Verrerie de Sainte Anne was created. The museum located there, completely renovated in 2015, is housed in the former residence of the firm’s directors within the manufacturing premises. Visitors discover some of the iconic pieces that form Baccarat’s heritage.
The Musée Lalique, in Wingen-sur-Moder (1hr drive from Strasbourg), showcases over 650 exceptional works by René Lalique and his successors. The collection shows the variety of creation: Art nouveau jewelry, Art deco glasswork and modern crystal designs.
A short drive southwest of Strasbourg is the quaint Alsatian village of Molsheim. Begin your visit in the Place du Marché, then get lost in the cobblestoned streets until you arrive at the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville with the pretty 16th century La Metzig building, which is now a restaurant.
Right next door to Molsheim is Rosheim. Flowers adorn the half-timbered houses, which are surrounded by medieval walls with gated towers. The 12th century Saint Pierre and Saint Paul church is known for its ornate sculptures. The town also had a Jewish community dating back to 1215, and although the synagogue is now closed, you can still admire its neo-Romanesque facade.
Just south of Rosheim is the medieval town of Obernai. The 13th century tower, the old town gates and the typical houses instill a charm to the center. There are also some Gothic and Renaissance houses in the Place du Marché. Nearby, the Puits à Six Seaux, dating from 1579, was originally fully painted and should not be missed, and the charming square Place de l'Etoile is also well worth a visit.
Mittelbergheim is one of the "most beautiful villages in France" with most building dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. There are also many trails from the village, offering beautiful views and the opportunity to relax and appreciate nature.*
If you like bears, a stop in Andlau is a must. Located in a valley in the forests of the Vosges foothills, the area used to see bears roaming in abundance. Local legend has it that a bear indicated to Saint Richard in the 9th century where to build the Saints Pierre and Paul abbey. A stone bear protects the church's crypt. Keep your eye out for other bear sculptures peppered throughout the village.
Nestled amongst the vineyards, the village of Dambach-la-ville is worth a wander, with its brightly painted half-timbered homes. Nearby, Epfig is also very charming and has an 11th century Romanesque chapel. Many hiking trails lead from these villages into the countryside.
Located north of Strasbourg, Soufflenheim is most known for its typically Alsatian pottery due to the quality of the clay here. Many potters still work their craft in the village, so if you like pottery, this is the place to go.
We love the pottery made by Sylie and Kathia at Poterie Lehmann - 7 route de Haguenau. They are the 4th generation in the family to carry on the profession, and have successfully married tradition and modernity if their collection.
And a Castle near Strasbourg : Haut-Koenigsbourg
No trip to Alsace would be complete without a visit to the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle.
This medieval castle is perched above the surrounding hills and vineyards. Built in the 12th century and witness to many historical events, the castle was eventually left to ruins.
Fortunately, Wilhelm II, at the end of the 19th century, completely restored the castle as a sign that Alsace was more German than French. However, the French are sure happy today to include the beautifully restored castle as on of the gems of Alsace.
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