oh how have I missed the feeling of being on vacation! As per usual, right after my exams in June I started my internship in Vienna and then headed straight off to Strasbourg with a week of preparation which wasn’t really a holiday to me as you can imagine. So this is basically the first week I have off since, well, February and it feels pretty amazing. Mum and her boyfriend F came up for a long weekend which finally gave me the opportunity to discover the city I’ve lived in for two months now. So I spent a busy weekend as a tourist in my own city and it was very enriching. As someone who had only recently moved to Strasbourg and who spends most of her time at University rather than the city centre (I know, it’s pretty sad, ey?) it took me a little while to find out where to go.
- La Petite France
I guess it’s pretty obvious why the Petite France (“Little France”) is one of my favourite places to visit. It is the picturesque centre of Strasbourg and takes you a few centuries back in history. Surprisingly, this beauty hasn’t always been a popular area, quite the opposite to be exact. Tanners used to spread an unpleasant smell and prostitution was an on-going thing as well…its name is actually related to the ‘hospice des vérolés’ where people that suffered from syphilis were treated. Today, it’s definitely changed and is always swamped with tourists. It may not be the most hidden place to go to but I wouldn’t give it a miss.
2. La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
Strasbourg’s cathedral is like the Eiffel Tour in Paris: you can see it wherever you are, you think it’s always close by and it helps you orientate. This impressive building celebrates its 1000 birthday this year and is situated at the very heart of Strasbourg. I know Europeans do love their churches and as I’m one of them let me assure you that it is a beautiful church indeed. The astronomical clock attires thousands of people from all around the world. Unfortunately, I haven’t made it to the top yet but there is the possibility to get up the tower and enjoy an amazing view of the city. Out front the church are some lovely little cafés and restaurants (although this really is the most touristy area to have coffee or lunch) including the renowned Maison Kammerzell. I also wouldn’t want to miss the Palais Rohan where you can find various different museums and the Rue du Maroquin.
3. Le Quartier Européen – Coeur de l’Europe
Strasbourg happens to be a very dynamic, European city. The official seats of many international organizations including that of the European Parliament, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, and Pharmacopoeia are situated here in Strasbourg. Sessions at the European Parliament are generally open to the public and it’s quite interesting to see how politicians work. I find it quite inspiring to join a session and you might even be surprised how actively your country is participating in the fight for human rights.
4. La Porte Automne de Strasbourg
If you wish to have a beautiful view of the city (and don’t want to pay), head up the port of Strasbourg. I was quite surprised it wasn’t packed with tourists up there even though the view is magnificent! Close by you have some nice restaurants/bars to enjoy a glass of wine while looking at the backside of the Petite France which isn’t any less pretty. Right behind the port you can find the Museum of Modern Art, also a very interesting place if you’re into art and the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA) where most French presidents studied before they ran for their office.
When I first got off at Gallia I couldn’t believe my eyes. A beautiful fountain in the water, restaurants and bars on boats, beautiful houses and churches, yes this view sure made me smile. It’s a nice place to have beer in the late afternoon/evening or to meet up with friends and have a chat. I do come here quite often, even though most of the time I only change trams, it still makes waiting a lot nicer (and this is coming from a person that is impatient).
Hope you could profit from my little advice and just for the record, these are by far not all the things there are to see in Strasbourg. Have a fabulous weekend!