Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
One of the top points of interest in Strasbourg is the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg or Strasbourg Cathedral. Despite having large parts of its facade designed in the Romanesque style, the Strasbourg Cathedral is celebrated as a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture.
For more than 200 years, the Strasbourg Cathedral was the tallest building in the world, until it was surpassed by the Nikolaikirche of Hamburg. Even today, it is the sixth tallest church in the world, as well as the most distinct landmark built entirely in the Middle Ages. In fact, it’s so huge that it is visible from as far as the plains of Alsace and the Black Forest.
Situated just opposite to the Strasbourg Cathedral is the Palais Rohan. One of the finest examples of French Baroque architecture from the 18th century, Palais Rohan is the former residence of the prince, bishops and cardinals of the French House of Rohan. It has also played host to prominent historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Marie Antoinette and Louis XV.
Today it houses the Archaeological Museum of Strasbourg, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts.
Also known as Quartier des Tanneurs or the “Tanner’s Quarter”, Petite France is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grande Île. The River Ill breaks up into a number of channels in this area, and during the Middle Ages it was home to Strasbourg’s millers, tanners and fishermen.
But it is the half-timbered houses of Petite France that make it one of the most photogenic streets of Strasbourg. Many come to Petite France just to admire these houses. Who would have thought that this beautiful idyllic waterfront district once served also as a hospice for syphilis patients?
Another architectural beauty to look out for is the Maison Kammerzell. You will find it in the immediate vicinity of the Strasbourg Cathedral.
One of the most famous buildings in Strasbourg, the Maison Kammerzell perfectly preserves its ornate and medieval Gothic facade from the Holy Roman Empire. Built in 1427 in the German Renaissance style, the Maison Kammerzell also maintains the black and white timber architecture that is characteristic of Germany.
Pont de l’Europe
The Pont de l’Europe, also known as the Strasbourg-Kehl European Bridge, is one of Europe’s most historic bridges. The bridge dates back to 1960, and is a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation after World War II.
The border road bridge allows pedestrian and cyclist traffic to pass over the River Rhine. Many locals take their evening walks and brisk jogs here. It’s a great place to enjoy the cool river breeze while watching the sun go down in Strasbourg.
Parc de l’Orangerie
This last Strasbourg attraction receives little attention, but is gold for any budget traveler. The oldest and largest park in Strasbourg, the Parc de l’Orangerie dates back to the 18th century. It is home to beautiful gardens, a lake, a small zoo and a mini farm, all completely free of cost for the public.
Orangeries were famous between the 17th and 19th centuries. They were similar to greenhouses or conservatories, and were often built on aristocratic properties to house fruit trees. The Parc de l’Orangerie in Strasbourg derives its name from the 140 orange trees procured by Strasbourg during the French Revolution. Now only 3 of those orange trees remain, protected in greenhouses which are occasionally open to the public.
You cannot leave Strasbourg without trying the Kugelhopf! Called by a myriad of names (such as Gugelhupf in Germany), the Kugelhopf is a circular bundt cake. It is popular in many countries in Europe, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.
Traditionally baked with raisins and almonds, as well as flavored with rosewater, the Kugelhopf was first served at celebrations in medieval Austria. Today, many regional variations of the cake exist, proof of its immense popularity. And Strasbourg is no different. Bon appetit!
Popular Day Trips from Strasbourg
• Baden-Baden, Germany
• Stuttgart, Germany
• Zurich, Switzerland