What to do in Strasbourg
Strasbourg is full of beautiful places to see, and interesting things to do and try ! Some of them are well known, and are part of the must-do and most famous sites in France, while others are hidden but definitely worth the trip. Here are a few recommendations from our team.
Of course, the very first thing to do when arriving in Strasbourg, is to take part of the Free Tour with Happy Strasbourg.
As a reminder, we run them every single day from April 1st until December 31st, starting at 14h30 in front of the Cathedral, in English. We also offer other tours on weekend days and holidays, all the details are explained here ! This is also a great opportunity to get personal tips on what to do and what to see, just ask the guide, he will be very happy to tell you.
After that, enjoy a nice walk through the city, and let you fill with its great atmosphere, Strasbourg is a village…
Free Things to do in Strasbourg : a great stroll through history
The Grand Island (Grande Île) of Strasbourg, the historical center, is entirely classified as a World Heritage by UNESCO, since 1988. This is a unique example of how a medieval city was organised, and you will find in this area 700 years of architecture. It counts many famous buildings, too numerous to be named all, but we will try here to give you a glimpse of all the richness it has.
You can start with the Barrage Vauban, remaining part of the Vauban’s Fortress. You can climb on its roof terrace (only by daylight), and appreciate one of the best views over the Cathedral and the historical center. Right in front of it, along the water, admire the four towers of the medieval wall.
The Barrage Vauban is also the entrance to the Petite France, the most famous district of Strasbourg. The best thing to do here is to lose yourself in the numerous alleys, and enjoy the beautiful half-timbered houses (especially the “Maison des Tanneurs”), traditional style of the Rhineland. Inside the Petite France, do not miss Saint Thomas Church, one of the first parishes of Strasbourg, hosting a Silbermann Organ, as well as the remarkable mausoleum of Marshal Maurice de Saxe, jewel of the baroque art. For those who like to walk, go across the Pont Saint Nicolas, pass through the Porte de l’Hôpital, and you will reach the district of the “Hôpital Civil”, one of the oldest hospital in France, today’s main component of the Strasburg’s University Hospitals.
Leaving of the Petite France by the Grand’Rue, the oldest street of the city, you will reach very soon the amazing Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. After Notre-Dame of Paris, the second most visited Cathedral in France. A single glance at it and you will find out why… Inside, amongst all the jewels it contains, we have to highlight the Astronomical clock, whose automatons delight any traveller who comes to see them. Take your time and let you enchant by more than 1000 years of history.
Continue your walk behind the Cathedral, and head for the Neustadt, also known as the German District, built after 1870. Very recently, in July 2017, a very huge partof the Neustadt has been included in the UNESCO area. If it covers a great area, the most significant part of it is definitely the Square of the Republic. Architecture enthusiasts, you will love the contrast between what you see inside the Grand Island and this part of Strasbourg. The Palace of the emperor is an outstanding example of Wilhelmien architecture, and says a lot about the history of Strasbourg. This district also counts many Jugendstil buildings, inspired by the Art and Art and Craft movement.
Eventually, and after this great walk through the city, the best is to relax in one of the numerous parks. Right next to the European Institutions, is the Orangerie Park, one of the biggest park of Strasbourg (26 Hectares), which is also home to the center of reintroduction of our beloved storks.
Those are a few ideas of what to see for free. The list is of course far from being complete…