The city of Strasbourg is a delight for walkers.
Strasbourg started as an add-on stop when we created our itinerary for our last Big Adventure. We had been more interested in checking out Bordeaux, but when Strasbourg popped up on our radar we thought it would be a worthwhile destination and we ended up booking a longer stay there than Bordeaux! It remains our favorite city of all we visited, a ranking that’s never diminished.
What did we love so much about Strasbourg?
Strasbourg is not a big city, but we found it had everything we needed, and there was plenty to see and do. It was a very easy city to get around in as well. The area is flat, so it was very walkable. There were loads of cobblestones though, so I had to be careful about those, and loads of bike riders as well that we had to remain aware of, but otherwise it was a very pleasant place to walk. The central city especially was compact enough to get around easily on foot. There was also an amazing, affordable tram system that was easy to use, and buses as well for trips further out from the center. Trains from Strasbourg station went to points all over Europe.
For a smaller city, Strasbourg is very cosmopolitan. It’s home to the European Union Parliament, and has a top-notch university and hospital, so the city is full of and very welcoming to people from all over. It’s also a uniquely beautiful city with a long history. Located next to the Rhine River, the central city is filled with canals, and because of its location on the German border, it melds French and German culture in many ways, from architecture to cuisine. There is a large, wonderful park inside the city, L’Orangerie, complete with Alsatian storks, a small zoo, sculptures, and a forest of trees, worthy of several visits. The park is known as the “lungs of Strasbourg.” Strasbourg also contains several interesting museums – our favorites were the Alsatian Museum, which covers the regions’s culture and traditions, and the Musee l’Oeuvre-Notre Dame, which focuses on the history of the city. Both are located near to the spectacular Strasbourg Cathedral.
We fell in love with Alsatian cuisine, from tarte flambée (a sort of pizza, also know as flammekueche) to charcroute (pork and sauerkraut). The area is known for its wines (mostly white) and it’s also one of the areas in France famous for its fois gras (goose liver pate), made in the Alsace since the 18th century. Other favorites of ours were bretzels, giant pretzels that came in a variety of flavors, amazing gingerbread that also came in lots of flavors and shapes, and creamy nut-filled nougats that were cut off of giant blocks. Our apartment was close to several great markets including an organic one and another one specializing in local products. We ate well while we were there.
Strasbourg is also conveniently located to destinations in Germany – we could actually catch the tram nearest to our apartment and be across the border in just a few minutes. Western Switzerland was only a short distance away as well and a getaway to Lucerne took only 1 1/2 hours by car. Ramstein Air Base is located less than an hour away, which would have been an easy trip for medical needs, if necessary.
Every day we spent in Strasbourg in 2018 was an adventure, and while we went out almost daily we did not see or do everything in the area. We’re eager to revisit and explore the cathedral and the Petit France area again, to stroll through L’Orangerie, to visit the markets and museums. There’s more wine to be enjoyed, and many new variations of tarte flambée to be savored as well as charcroute and other Alsatian specialties. Fresh bread and pastries, cheeses, and pates also are calling us back.