Looking for a unique place to spend a weekend in Europe? How about a weekend in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg, on the French-German border, is a lovely small city with a very international atmosphere, not only due to it being the venue of several important European institutions but also as it has an excellent university with international attendance.
The capital of the french province of Alsace
Strasbourg is the capital of the French province of Alsace, a historically German-speaking part of France, located close to the German border. Strasbourg is fused into the Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a bridge of unity between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the largest in France, and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture.
The Grande Ile is the historic center and since 1988 a UNESCO world heritage site. Beautiful to walk around the Ile.
Here’s how we spent our weekend in Strasbourg
We stayed at the hotel Cour du Courbeau, located right across the ile, at the place du courbeau, about 5 minutes walking to the Cathedral.
Saturday in Strasbourg
We spent Saturday roaming around the many small streets of the old city. Some shopping, and a nice lunch, more shopping and a break for a cold one, close to the Biergässel. Strasbourg has an endless number of restaurants and bistros, small streets, and nice patios.
Very common on the menu here are foie gras, chucrut and Flammkueche, accompanied by a Gewürztraminer, which we enjoyed in the late afternoon on the west side of the ile, that seems to be a bit quieter, as it doesn’t have that many shops, however, very cute streets and fachwerkhaeuser.
Notre Dame de Strasbourg in the view from our table, a roman-catholic cathedral, is among the finest of late gothic architecture. Still today, it is the 6th tallest church in the world.
Dinner we had booked at La Cloche a Fromage, a spectacular cheese restaurant with the world’s largest cloche. No words to describe the taste of the cheeses we had. We ordered asparagus to start with, then the cheese platter for two, and somehow made space for a creme brulee and mango ice cream as dessert, a truly amazing dinner!
The restaurant turned tables twice while we were there, if you plan to go, definitely reserve ahead. Across the street they have a shop, all delights can be taken home, that is, if you don’t have overly cautious customs and can import food.
Sunday in Strasbourg
Sunday morning on our weekend in Strasbourg was cloudy, yet warm. We opted for a tour with “mon ami Fritz”, an open airboat. The channels of the audio guide included very international, Esperanto and regional, the local Alsace dialect that we opted for. The boat tours a bit over an hour on the channels around the ile, down until the European institutions.
This Strasbourg 3-Day City Pass includes boat tours, Museum entry, access to the cathedral’s terraces, and other activities.
The buildings there as such are interesting and impressive. However, more intriguing is to imagine which decisions are made there, what powers those involved parties have, and even more, which verdicts are agreed on in the intl court of human rights there.
Finally, lunch at another one of the typical restaurants there, chukrut and a cold blonde one, before heading home to Basel.