Strasbourg is the capital of the *Grand-Est region of France. The city is one of the de facto four main capitals of the European Union (alongside Brussels, Luxembourg and Frankfurt). Strasbourg’s historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
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Petite France (map) is the name given to the small area between the rivers, just south of the Grande Île. It is home to some of Strasbourg’s prettiest and most photogenic streets and buildings, with half timbered townhouses leaning out over the narrow cobbled streets. Petite France resembles Colmar (a city an hour south, map), with picturesque canal and half-timber houses.
Boat tours along the Rhine offer views over both Strasbourg and neighbouring Germany. Batorama offer several river tours lasting from around 45 minutes to a few hours. Boats can be found below Place du Marché aux Poissons (map).
In December, Christmas Markets can be found in many places, but the most important and beautiful are place Broglie (map) and place de la Cathédrale (map), although they are crowded. They are the best places to drink hot wine (vin chaud) and to eat Christmas cookies (Brädeles).
Cathédrale Notre Dame (map). Built between 1176 and 1439, the highest cathedral tower in France, the Gothic cathedral is undoubtedly Strasbourg’s finest architectural highlight.
Musée de l’Oeuvre Notre Dame (map). A splendid museum of medieval religious art related to the cathedral.
Musée Historique de Strasbourg (map). Located on the border of the Petite-France neighborhood, the Musée Historique de Strasbourg (historical museum) is worth a visit in order to understand the story behind the area.
Palais des Rohan (map). French-style palace, built after the acquisition of the town by the French (1681). Home to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts.
Parc de l’Orangerie (map). A beautiful classical park. It has a small free zoo featuring birds and a few other animals. Also has an excellent playground for young children.
Strasbourg is a popular tourist destination primarily thanks to the beautifully preserved and pedestrian friendly city centre, which can be explored on foot or bicycle in a few days.
Don’t forget that Strasbourg’s appeal now brings tourists to the city throughout the year, with large tour groups especially frequent during the summer months and during the annual winter market.