Strasbourg was by far my favourite city on my trip around Europe. It wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too small. The buildings were absolutely gorgeous. The food was amazing. I tried some regional cuisine, had the best croissant in my life and kind-of binge ate some chaussons aux pommes. The museums and churches were beautiful. And the history and culture were fascinating. Basically, I fell in love with it and would not hesitate to return!
Strasbourg is the capital city of the Alsace region in France, about 2 miles from the German border. Its site has been occupied for over 600,000 years, first by the Celts, then by the Romans (where it was called Argentoratum), then by the Alemanni, Huns and the Franks. The city has also been a point of dispute between France and Germany for centuries, being shuffled back and forth after different wars. You can definitely see cultural mixes in Strasbourg, and there was lots of both German and French cultural elements (and languages). Just so fascinating! I got to geek out a little when we went to the archaeological museum and middle ages museum.
Today, Strasbourg is the seat of the European Parliament. Its historic city centre, the Grande Ile was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, the first time this was done to an entire city. La Marseillaise was composed in Strasbourg and Strasbourg Cathedral celebrated 1000 years in 2015.
We started off our time in Strasbourg by walking from our Airbnb (which was in a perfect location) to the centre of town to check out the cathedral and grab a bite. I found this adorable restaurant on Yelp called La Corde à Linge, which got great reviews. This was also the first experience of people thinking I was German. We had to move tables and they notified us of that in German. They tried to take our orders in German. They just didn’t believe I could speak French and English but not German! But it was SO nice not having people switch to English on me! I ordered spätzle, a dumpling-like pasta, that came with creamy cheese sauce and two different kinds of ham. YUM.
After stuffing ourselves with delicious spätzle, free drinks (we got them for having to change tables!) and some mojito flavoured ice cream (yum), we walked around a little more and then headed back to our Airbnb to take a much-needed shower and do some laundry.
The next day we basically just wandered around the city. It was the first sunny day of our trip so we wanted to take advantage of it while still getting a lot of our to-do list checked off. This post will mostly be pictures of all the pretty buildings because I was obsessed with them all. I would do anything to live in one of those colourful timber buildings! Wouldn’t you?
We happened upon Eglise St. Thomas, the main Lutheran church in Strasbourg. The building was completed in 1521 and was converted from Catholicism to Protestantism in 1524. Mozart played the organ pictured below in 1778. So cool!
|Mozart played this organ when he was in Strasbourg in 1778|
Next stop was Palais Rohan, where we decided to go to the Archaeological Museum. It’s a gorgeous Baroque building made up 3 museums: the archaeological museum, museum of decorative arts, and museum of fine arts. And, since it’s right next to the Cathedral we got some great views. And I won’t bore you with all the archaeological artefact pictures I took :)
Our next stop was Museum Œuvre Notre-Dame, another museum right next to the cathedral. It houses medieval and Renaissance art from the cathedral itself and surrounding region. Basically my favourite kind of art! The museum was very well laid out and had some amazing artefacts from the cathedral. Definitely a close second to (or even a tie with) Musée Cluny in Paris. The museum lady was also surprised to learn that I was American and not German. Made me feel pretty cool (especially since I realised that I don’t really identify with a country anymore).
After the museum, we just wandered some more, taking in the sights (and the sun).
Dinner brought us to Restaurant Le Gruber, where our goal was to try tarte flambée, basically thin pizza dough covered with crème fraîche, onions and lardons (I added Munster to mine because why not). We split a dessert tarte flambée, which was the same dough, covered in apples and cinnamon and flambéed with calvados. Yum.
That was our first full day in Strasbourg. Very filled with delicious food and beautiful buildings. Our next stop was a half day in Colmar and then another half day in Strasbourg. You have the cathedral interior, the European Union buildings, and some more pretty houses to look forward to!
Read about my second day in Strasbourg here!