Fun things to do in Strasbourg

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    A view from above
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Strasbourg

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    Parc de la Citadelle

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    In the 1600s, the engineer/architect Vauban designed a fortress near the Rhine to protect the city. Today you can visit the remains of this fortress in the Parc de la Citadelle, accessible by walking or by tram from the city center. Here you can see parts of the high walls that remain from the fortress as you stroll through a wonderfully landscaped city park. This outing turned out to be one of my favorite places in Strasbourg.

    Originally, we weren’t going to bother going since it was a little ways away from both our hotel and the city center. I had looked on Googlemaps prior to our trip and could not see the fortress ruins, so I assumed that it was a minor feature of the park and not worth the effort. However, on our early morning walk around the town, we decided to head that direction anyway and I was surprised to see so much of the walls in the park. What a shame if we had not come here!

    In the early morning, it was peaceful. There were some other walkers and a few joggers in the park. But the peacefulness added to my appreciation of the park. We watched a family of swans paddle around the ponds, a turtle swimming to her companions resting on the edge of the pond, and a baby bird toddling across the water lilies. The park is probably a very busy place in the middle of the day with two childrens' playgrounds and plenty of benches to sit and relax. There are also free public bathrooms in the park, which reminds me again of how much the city of Strasbourg has thought about the people that live and visit in the city.

    I would return to Strasbourg just to walk through this park again!

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    Modern art along Avenue de Gaulle

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    During our early morning walk around Strasbourg, we were heading over to the Parc de la Citadelle and walked along Avenue du De Gaulle. This was easy enough to find since we were following the tracks of the tram, which go through grassy areas at this point (looking at our map, we figured this would be the quickest way to get us close to our destination.

    While walking along this avenue, there were numerous displays of modern art sculptures along the sidewalks. Some were rather unique and some were just odd. But we enjoyed looking at them; we figured there must be an art school nearby and these were works from students, although they seemed very ambitious for student works.

    If you happen to be in the area look out for the sculptures. I’m not sure that a special trip is needed to see them, but they were an interesting feature of our morning walk.

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    Walking along the canals

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    We walked a lot in Strasbourg (by choice) and, at one point, instead of walking along the streets, we took the steps down to the canal level where there are park benches and a pathway. The walk took us along the water, under the bridges, and past some beautiful views. Not all the steps lead all the way to the canal level, but those that did not seemed to be adequately blocked off. It was a pleasant change of pace for us and a different perspective.

    The pathways are not completely circular around the island so be mindful of the signs that tell you to head back up to street level. The pathways around Petite France are larger and more crowded than other parts. But those less crowded places also seemed to be a favorite place for homeless people to sleep – we walked by a couple of people asleep under the bridges in sleeping bags in the middle of the afternoon.

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    Egyptian house

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    The travel guides and maps highlight this house with Egyptian decorations on the exterior as a site worth visiting. It is actually someone’s home on a city street with tall apartments. The façade of the building at 10 rue du General Rapp was created in 1905 and is a unique mix of Art Nouveau and Egyptian styling. A pharaoh stands in the center of the building between the balconies on either side. Other decorative touches add color and fun to the building and make it stand out among the other buildings in the area. One of the more fun and unique designs are the large bats decorating the railings of the balconies.

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    War memorial at Place de la République

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    The war memorial of a mother with her two sons in the center of the Place de la République is a reminder of the plight of so many families in the Alsace region at a time when the region was at one time French, then German, then French.

    The memorial, created in the 1930s, is a Pietà – a statue of a mother holding her dead son, or in this case, the mother is holding her two dying sons. The sculptor, Leo-Ernest Drivier, designed the memorial with the intent that each of the two sons had fought for a different country, one France and one Germany. They fought to the death, but as a reminder of family ties, they hold hands in their last moments.

    Although the memorial is for the dead in World War I, there is no country named on the base of the statue – it simply reads “Our Dead” in memory of the people who died, no matter which country they happened to be fighting for. The dates of additional wars after the inauguration of the memorial have been added to the base.

    At the inauguration of the memorial in 1936, the first deputy mayor of Strasbourg, Henry Levy, said these words about the memorial:

    "This whole tragedy is mentioned in the pain that reflects this beautiful woman's face not only a symbol of the homeland, but also a symbol of humanity bruised ... with touching solicitude collecting two dying warriors, fallen beneath the folds of two flags, but , whose hands are seek to unite in a supreme embrace. Everyone will feel deeply the great thought that emerges from this work and she can be for those who will follow an object of meditation as well as tuition. I would like to echo the sentiments that inspire us to be carried further by the waves of the Rhine, and that this monument is a stone in the edifice of peace, it is a call for unity of peoples, a brotherhood based on justice and respect for human rights together with a leap of faith in the destiny of our country."

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    Statues of Strasbourg

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    As you walk around Strasbourg, keep your eyes open for unique and sometimes rather funny statues. They seem to be very random, although most were not in the heart of the city-center but on the outskirts.

    Some of the more unique statues we saw included a fountain with a huge head, a person appearing to climb up a pole (and from a distance it looked like a real person), and a man’s body with a giraffe head.

    Strasbourg also has your standard honorary statues, memorials, and equestrian statues, but the unique ones are just more fun to look at!

    Here is a GoogleMap I created showing the locations of some of the statues I found on my trip to Strasbourg.

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    L’Eglise St-Thomas - St Thomas Church

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    The St. Thomas Church is Strasbourg’s second largest church, just behind the cathedral. It is a Protestant church and has been since 1549, which is significant because France was a Catholic country yet the church remained Protestant even as the Alsace region was annexed to France. The church is known for its Silbermann organ that is still on display, played by such famous musicians as Mozart and Albert Schweitzer.

    The five-nave hall is very simple in keeping with the Protestant ideal. There is a faded fresco of the archangel Michael on the right side of the church. While statues are kept to a minimum, there is an interesting and huge Pigalle designed Baroque mausoleum for Marshal Maurice of Saxony, located behind the altar. The stained glass windows in the apse are very interesting and seem to go with the overall simplicity of the church.

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    Maison Kammerzell

    by brendareed Written Nov 3, 2014

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    Situated in Place de la Cathedrale, just to the right of the cathedral, is the former home of wealthy merchants through the centuries, the Maison Kammerzell. This building was built in 15th and 16th centuries when the ground floor would be used for the shops and the families would live above their stores. The initial merchant who had the house built, Martin Braun, was a cheese merchant. The house is named after Philippe Kammerzell, a more recent owner and grocer from the 19th century. Today the house is a popular restaurant that has a spectacular view from the seats in the outside café looking up at the front façade of the cathedral.

    The Maison Kammerzell has some unique wood carvings on the upper half-timbered levels and very interesting windows. The date of 1589 is carved above the door. The building stands out amongst the buildings around it as it is much darker and aged looking than the surrounding buildings. Next door to the Maison Kammerzel is the Tourist Information Center.

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    The opera house on Place Broglie

    by Nemorino Updated May 17, 2014

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    This is an old theater, the Théâtre Municipal, first built in 1821. It was destroyed by bombs in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, but was reconstructed two years later, following the original plans.

    The National Opera of the Rhine performs here, and also in the nearby cities of Mulhouse and Colmar. They only do 54 performances per year, of 13 different operas.

    The performance I saw here was fine musically, but I'm afraid the staging didn't work at all. I should have guessed that something was wrong because of the strange wording on their website: "Based on an original concept by Christoph Loy." Since Loy is one of my favorite German stage directors, I had high hopes for the production, but evidently he walked out on the first day of rehearsals (not at all typical for him), and somebody else had to take it over. (I haven't heard the whole story yet.)

    Second photo: The pillars at the front of the theater. I took this photo on a holiday, otherwise on a nice day there would have been tables here from the Opera Café.

    Third photo: Place Broglie with the opera house at the far end.

    Fourth photo: A side view of the opera house, with one branch of the Ill River in the foreground. (The river has split into two branches at this point, so the center of Strasbourg is on an island.)

    1. The opera house in Strasbourg 2. Pillars at the front of the opera house 3. Place Broglie with the opera house 4. Side view of the opera house
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    Galeries La Fayette - Upmarket Shopping

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 22, 2014

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    We always visit their store in Paris and my wife wanted to visit the Strasbourg store. Merchandise is high quality as expected but the store decoration did not match the Paris store.

    I was happy to spend a half hour within the store, keeps the peace!

    Galeries La Fayette Galeries La Fayette
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    Tourist Information Centre

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 21, 2014

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    The day we visited it was the 2nd most popular place in Strasbourg. We visited around midday and I guess everyone who had just left the Cathedral then entered the Tourist Information Centre.

    We just took the tour maps from the self serve racks, but for anyone wanting to book a tour it looked like a very long wait.

    Office of Tourism (light stone building)
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    View to Central Railway Station

    by Mikebb Updated Apr 9, 2014

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    Wh do much of our Europe travel by ourselves and often use the railway system for day excursions and inter city travel.

    I always try to book accommodation within walking distance of the main rail station. In this case it was approximately 300 metres walk from our hotel.

    No worries waiting for a taxi to get us to the station for our departure.

    In most cities and towns the main railway station is located close to the centre of the old town.

    Rail Station - View from room  Le Grand Hotel Bus Stop next to Rail Station - Trip to Obernai View to Government Buildings from Le Grand Hotel
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    Concert in the Palais des Fêtes

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 6, 2013

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    The Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Strasbourg plays during opera performances at the opera house, but I also attended a concert of theirs at a somewhat out-of-the-way and run-down concert hall called the Palais des Fêtes, which was inaugurated in 1903.

    It was quite an ambitious concert program featuring three works by Max Bruch (1838-1920) in the first half, and the Symphony No. 2 (A London Symphony) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) after the intermission.

    The connection between these two was that Vaughan Williams was once a student of Bruch's in Berlin, as I learned from the printed program.

    I bought a ticket at the door for EUR 11.00, and since the seats were not numbered I chose one on the balcony where I could see which instruments were playing what and when. This was especially interesting in the second half, since Vaughan Williams provided ample solo passages for several instruments.

    Second photo: Inside the concert hall Palais des Fêtes.

    Third photo: Downstairs in the lobby during intermission.

    Fourth photo: People outside waiting for admission before the concert. This is an old and quite plain concert hall, and the outside doesn't seem to have been painted for decades.

    Fifth photo: The Palais des Fêtes and adjoining buildings on Rue Sellenick.

    1. Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Strasbourg 2. In the concert hall Palais des F��tes 3. In the lobby 4. People waiting outside the Palais des F��tes 5. Palais des F��tes on Rue Sellenick
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    In the opera house

    by Nemorino Updated Nov 6, 2013

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    The sales area to the right of the entrance on the ground floor has been recently modernized, but otherwise this theater has been kept in its original 19th century style. The 1143 red plush seats have obviously been reupholstered in recent years, but are still small and very close together. Evidently people were smaller in the 19th century than they are today.

    Tickets are expensive. I paid EUR 46.80 for a seat in the second gallery with only a partial view of the stage.

    Second photo: Looking up at the galleries and the ceiling.

    Third photo: A statue up near the ceiling.

    Fourth photo: The large intermission hall on the level of the first gallery.

    Fifth photo: There is no cloakroom in this theater, but at all levels there are numerous numbered coat hooks, one for each seat. I took this photo on the level of the second gallery.

    1. In the opera house 2. Looking up in the opera house 3. A statue and part of the ceiling 4. Intermission hall 5. Coat hooks on the level of the 2nd gallery
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    Stork preservation project

    by Beausoleil Updated Oct 29, 2013

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    Friends told us about this and it really is fun. When in Strasbourg, find the large park called the Orangerie. When you enter the park, you will hear a clacking sound. Follow your ears and you will find the storks. Their beaks clacking together make the sound. There are several animals and birds in the enclosure but the storks are free to fly and you will see them throughout the park. They are beautiful and fun to watch.

    Nesting stork, Orangerie in Strasbourg Another stork, near the cathedral. It won't fly!
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