Perhaps best known for being the seat of the European Parliament, Strasbourg is located in the east of France, close to the border with Germany, meaning that it’s a city influenced by the cultures and flavours of both nations. The Rhine River flows along a significant portion of the border, making the city a natural port of call on a number of cruises which explore the river. Strasbourg has a wealth of history to its name and like many strategically-located European settlements, was an outpost during the days of the Roman Empire. Since then, Huns, Franks and the German Empire have all had possession of the city and a role in both world wars ensures that Strasbourg has a wealth of history and landmarks to discover.
There’s certainly more than one Notre Dame Cathedral in the world and of course, though the world’s most famous one can’t be found in Strasbourg it is still one of the city’s most celebrated landmarks. This gothic wonder was once the tallest building in the world and even in today’s modern age, it’s an impressive sight to behold. There are some impressive works of stained glass to enjoy as well as the famous astronomical clock, which is always a tourist favourite. St Pierre le June is probably the city’s second most popular place of worship for visitors, boasting some truly impressive Frescos and a stunning altarpiece.
The best way to soak up the city’s atmosphere is by heading to La Petite France, which is the perfect example of why Strasbourg was the first city to have its centre designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cobbled streets and medieval buildings contribute to the unique atmosphere of this very special area, which is actually located on islands in the river, which creates a number of canal-like waterways which only add to the ambience. For a commanding view of La Petite France and indeed the rest of Strasbourg from above, head to Barrage Vauban, a historic tower monument on the river.
For a fascinating look at times gone by in the Alsace region, the Musee Alsacien takes visitors on an informative journey from the 1400s to the 1900s, showing how people lived and worked. If you’ve just visited Notre Dame, one attraction located conveniently close by is another museum, the Strasbourg Musee de L’Oeuvre, which houses a number of sculptures which originally started off life in the cathedral. There is also a wealth of artwork on display dating as far back as the Middle Ages and a visit to the museum complements a visit to the cathedral perfectly.
Those in search of a little greenery on their river cruise should head for the city’s beautiful Botanical Gardens for more organised flora or the Parc du Chateau de Pourtales for a more wild and natural stroll around the park.
Strasbourg is a great place to try the local brew, as the Alsace region was the first one in France to produce beer. The city has quite a lot of breweries and if beer is a special interest for you, it’s good to know you can explore a number of these breweries for free.