Strasbourg's low season is in August, and unlike some other parts of France the weather here can be very pleasant at that time of the year. The peak season starts in September, perhaps the city's most pleasant month, and carries on through Christmas - a really busy period when hotel prices can shoot up due to the Christmas markets.
The absolute worst time to visit is when the European Parliament is in session. This is when hotel rates go sky high. It is definitely worth looking at their plenary agenda to avoid these weeks.
Although the pass is a 3 day pass, even daytrippers can take advantage of the savings with the Strasbourg card. We bought ours at the tourist information center for 14.90€ and used it for admission to the towers of the cathedral (5€), the daily showing of the astronomical clock (2€), the one hour 10 minute boat ride on the Ill River (9.20€) and a museum of our choice which was the decorative arts museum at Palace Rohan (5€).
You still need to get a timed ticket for the boat trip but you do not need a ticket for the clock, cathedral or museums. I didn't see the small print on the boat ticket but looking at it now it says you can't do the boat between 2 and 4pm, fortunately we got there at 1:45pm
Before visiting the Cathedral, we went to Information Office in Cathedral Place. What I wanted to buy, was the Strasbourg pass. I had worked out what we wanted to see and do, and it was good value to buy one.
Lucky for me, the lady behind the counter told me the Little Petit Train wasn't operating, so this made a difference to the value of the Pass. It wasn't worth buying then, so we just paid as we went.
Always do the sums before buying these passes, as some are good value, others aren't!
Cost.....14,90 € per adult and only 7,45 € for juniors for 3 days.
Strasbourg is a city that is full of people – or it seems that way because there is such a small square in front of the cathedral and the pedestrian zone seems crowded wherever you go. As you head out away from the city center, you see less people and the streets open up. However, for getting people photos, you want to be in that city center. There is so much action going on and so much to capture.
For those that want some nice photos of the area, here are a couple places that I found to be wonderful photo opportunities:
~At the top of the Cathedral – it costs €5 to climb to the top, but if you are looking for aerial photos looking down on the city, this is the place to do it. And you can get some wonderful close ups of the cathedral architecture and statues while you are up there.
~To capture the Ponte Couverts, walk around to the Vauban Barrage. The Barrage was closed for renovations when I was there, so I just got as close to it as possible on the side. I was able to get some great photos and a wonderful panoramic from this angle. When the Barrage is open, you can go to the overlook at the top, which seems to be a spectacular location.
~There is a view of Petite France along the canal just down from the Ponte Saint-Martin – look for the canal lock. From that vantage point, the view across the water and looking past the lock and into the half-timbered Petite France is amazing. When we were there (in the summer) the flower boxes were in full bloom on all the buildings and the bridges. Stunning!
~For a great photo of the European Parliament building, head to where the waters of the L’Ill are at a crossroads, in the center of the European buildings. I found a great ramp for boats that I was able to walk onto to get out from under the trees. Lots of activity in this area with birds and water sports!
~At the Parc de la Citadelle you can get some wonderful pastoral shots and photos of waterfowl, turtles, and other birds. A particularly lovely place in the early morning hours!
If you aren’t able to get the photos you want, don’t worry too much about it. Simply relax and enjoy the city of Strasbourg! You’ll take back memories if not photos.
The French know how to bake! And whenever I am in France I frequently visit the bakeries to sample the delights – whether éclairs, croissants, pain au chocolate, or the ever-so-humble yet very delicious baguette. Strasbourg has a number of bakeries – they are not hard to find. We sampled from a couple of them and found them to be all basically delicious, but perhaps I am biased.
One of my favorite lunches when in France is a simple jambon et fromage baguette (ham and cheese sandwich). It is not only inexpensive, but it is delicious. A baguette and a drink is all I need to keep me going – and when I am touring, I don’t want to waste precious time sitting in a restaurant when I could be seeing things.
I recommend the bakeries. Walk into one and make a selection. Simply tell the clerk behind the counter what you want – if you don’t speak the language, simply smile and point to what you want using sign language if needed to say how many (although it is always a good idea to learn a few French words to help you along).
I like swans…my camera seems drawn to them. I believe they are one of the most graceful and beautiful creatures on this planet. And Strasbourg seems to like swans as much as I do…or is it that the swans like Strasbourg?
No matter – Strasbourg has lots of swans, gracefully gliding past the European Parliament building, resting dreamily near the houseboats on the L’Ill, or taking care of their young in the pond at the Parc de la Citadelle.
This was one of my favorite things about Strasbourg – the beauty of the swan. The mascot of the region is a stork and, while we saw a number of storks flying or sitting atop roofs, I prefer the majestic swan in the water. Go to Strasbourg and compare them for yourself…I think you will agree!
It was here in Strasbourg that I first discovered cheap international calls from Internet Cafes.
I made a call to Australia in which I spoke for between ten and fifteen minutes for 89 eurocents. There is no need to use your mobile phone when these places are around. This particular one was in an Internet Cafe across the road from the Victoria Hotel where I was staying. I also found one in Maastricht in Holland, where the pricing was very similar. I'm told that many major tourist destinations in Europe have them, so it's a good idea to seek them out when you first arrive.
rue du Maire Kuss, Strasbourg
Favorite thing: When entering Strasbourg by train, you may reach the station before it is truly open for business. As we arrived just prior to 9am, most of the offices appeared closed. This was the case with the train station’s office of tourism, which led us on a small wild goose chase, as we could see many large cathedrals in the distance, but did not know which one to go to first. There is another Office de Tourisme in town, and it is located adjacent to the main Cathedral. If you reach the station before it opens, simply walk down Rue du Maire-Kuss across the River L’ill, down Rue du 22 Nobembre through Place Kleber, take a right on Rue des Grandes Arcades, and left on Rue des Serruriers. You will see the information station next to the Cathedral.
Favorite thing: This is the main river in and around Strasbourg, although we are still unclear whether or not it is just a tributary for the Rhine River. According to the maps, they appear to come together on the north east side of Strasbourg. Either way, this wonderful little river gives Strasbourg a great feel, as it surrounds the historic city center, and makes for a great chance to take a river cruise.
visit 'la petite france';it is an ancien part of the town,for pedestrians;very typical
Fondest memory: my home:le STIFT,which is the students' university residence for protestant theology;quai saint thomas,it is a marvellous building .We were very naughty there,I remember that we once put a little bomb in the central bell...
Favorite thing: For Christmas, during the whole month of December, some of the tramways (not all the trains) on line C had been decorated with holly and illuminated fir tree stickers that made them look almost like a fancy train bringing toys to the children!
Favorite thing: The Palace was rebuilt identical after the 1944 bombings. It is now called the Palais du Rhin (Rhine Palace) and hosts several city or offices belonging to the département du Bas-Rhin. The photos show various details of the sculptures of the building.
The Emperor's Palace was built between 1883 and 1888 by Hermann Eggert on the model of the Pitti Palace in Florence. It mixes the Florence Renaissance style with the Berlin monumental baroque style with some borrowing from the antiquity.
In the middle of the square (second photo), the Monument aux morts (War Memorial) of WWII, built in 1936 shows a mother with her two sons, one that died for France and the other that died for Germany.
Favorite thing: I have not found any information about this building that is now used as a "Prefecture". It has been built between 1870 and 1914 as all the other buildings on the Place de la République. Actually, it is both the Préfecture of the Département du Bas-Rhin and Préfecture de la Région Alsace (Départements du Bas-Rhin et du Haut-Rhin)
Favorite thing: The Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire was built at the end of the XIXth as a neo-classical palace, a pastiche of the Venetian style. After the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, it hosts the largest book collection in France with more than three million books and two thousands incunabulum (early printed books)