This beautifully quaint town in the Alsace region of France is the perfect weekend getaway in Europe. Be it for a romantic trip for two or a more relaxed girls trip, it is full of cobbled streets with small boutiques and delicious restaurants for you to explore. Enjoy their world renowned Alsatian Riesling with a traditional tarte flambeé and relax under the warm, starlit sky.
What’s Cool To Know?
Throughout its history Strasbourg has had a bit of an identity crisis due to France and Germany fighting for it’s control. It started off as part of France after succeeding from the Roman Empire, then the German Empire took it, then it was reborn as French, then Hitler took it, then finally the Allied Forces freed it allowing it to become part of France again. Now, it has nicely settled into a multicultural, bilingual town which seems to me very French, but with a German twist.
Strasbourg is a very walkable town and fairly easy to navigate with distinct areas of interest. Bikes are popular and designated bike lanes are on the pavement as well as the road so watch out not to get in their way.
Things to Do and See
I’m not the biggest fan of getting lost. Some people love the feeling, I normally just get anxious. However, walking through the cobbled streets of Petit France at ten in the evening was an absolute delight. The streets were alive with bubbling conversations, laughter and dimmed street lights. I felt safe and even comforted, like it was impossible to get lost because every corner you turned was welcoming and inviting. The many small bridges provide the perfect place to take photographs of the lively river banks reflected in the moonlight.
Cathedral Light Show
Strasbourg Cathedral (also known as Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg or Strasbourg Minster) is a beautiful, gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in the centre of Strasbourg. Once the tallest building in the world, it stands at 142m and is now the sixth tallest church in the world. Inside is large astronomical clock which is definitely worth seeing and has an interesting history which can be read about here. During summer, every evening from 10:15pm – 11:45pm a light show is projected onto the church which is pretty unique. Also, if you need any tourist souvenirs, this is your place as the cathedral is surrounded by them.
Strasbourg, like the majority of France, is a late night town. I would recommend going out for dinner after 8pm to get the best experience. It may be a little busier, but it will be with the locals and people watching is great here. It is also a little cooler so you can really enjoy a nice carafe of red wine.
We ate at a restaurant along the river which specialised in Alsatian food (think German food with a French twist) and it was good. However, if you wander through the streets there are lots of authentic (not so touristy) small restaurants which looked more inviting and less expensive.
Food to try
Well, Strasbourg is in France so of course there are boulangeries and patisseries on every corner. Their baguettes are to die for, soft and flavourful. Their cakes big, small, delicate, magnificent. Their biscuits sweet, pretty, crumbly and decadent. Just go on a binge and stop off at as many shops that catch your eye.
Be sure to stop at La Cure Gourmande for some delectable biscuits – my favourite are the mini fourrés au chocolat. Plus, they come in super cute tins!
Since I discovered La Cure many years ago in Paris, they have actually opened many shops all over the world so if you crave their delicious biscuits when you get home, you may be lucky to find one if you live in a major city.
Remember this is part of Europe where it’s still considered acceptable to smoke pretty much anywhere. This includes restaurants if you are sitting outside so if you don’t like to be around smoke I’d suggest taking a table inside or getting your tutting voice ready.