Strasbourg, located in northeastern France, has a rich and complex history shaped by its strategic location on the border between France and Germany. It’s hugely popular with tourists from all over the world and especially loved by river cruise guests because it really is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities to visit and explore.

 

The History Of Strasbourg

 

Ancient and Medieval Times: The area where Strasbourg now stands has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The first recorded settlement was a Celtic village established in the 1st century BCE. The Romans conquered the region in the 1st century CE and established the military camp of Argentoratum.

In the 5th century, the Alemanni, a Germanic tribe, settled in the area, and Strasbourg became part of the Frankish Kingdom. It grew into an important center for trade and commerce during the medieval period. In the 9th century, Strasbourg became the seat of the Bishopric of Strasbourg, a significant religious and political power.

Free Imperial City and Renaissance: Strasbourg gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th century and became a Free Imperial City. It thrived as a centre of the Hanseatic League, a medieval trading alliance. The city experienced cultural and economic growth during the Renaissance, with the construction of notable buildings, such as the Gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame, which remains an iconic landmark of Strasbourg.

French and German Rule: In the 17th century, Strasbourg was annexed by France under King Louis XIV. However, it was returned to German control under the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697. Strasbourg remained part of Germany for most of the 19th century.

After the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, Strasbourg became part of the newly unified German Empire. During this period, the city underwent significant urban development and industrialisation. Strasbourg was a symbol of German nationalism and modernisation.

Return to France and the European Union: Following World War I, Strasbourg was returned to France in 1919 through the Treaty of Versailles. It became the capital of the Alsace region and experienced reconstruction after the war’s destruction.

In the 20th century, Strasbourg became a significant centre for European institutions. After World War II, the city played a crucial role in the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949 and became the seat of several European institutions, including the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights.

Today, Strasbourg is known as a vibrant city with a unique blend of French and German influences. Its historic centre, Grande Île, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and attracts visitors with its medieval architecture, picturesque canals, and cultural attractions. Strasbourg remains an important hub for European diplomacy and continues to symbolise European integration and cooperation.

Strasbourg – One Of Europe’s Most Beautiful Cities

Strasbourg Things To See And Do

 

Strasbourg offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to see and do in the city:

Strasbourg Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg): Marvel at the magnificent Gothic architecture of Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the finest examples of its kind in Europe. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city.

Petite France: Explore the picturesque neighbourhood of Petite France, known for its charming half-timbered houses, canals, and narrow streets. Take a leisurely stroll along the canals and enjoy the atmosphere.

Boat Tour on the Ill River: Take a scenic boat tour on the Ill River to see Strasbourg’s historic buildings and picturesque neighbourhoods from a different perspective. It’s a relaxing way to explore the city.

Palais Rohan: Visit the Palais Rohan, an elegant palace complex housing three museums—the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Archaeological Museum. Admire the art collections and explore the opulent interiors.

La Petite France Christmas Market: If you’re visiting during the holiday season, don’t miss the enchanting Christmas market in La Petite France. It’s a festive atmosphere with stalls selling crafts, decorations, and local delicacies.

Covered Bridges: Walk across the charming Covered Bridges (Ponts Couverts), a series of bridges and towers that were once part of the city’s medieval fortifications. They offer lovely views of the canal and the cityscape.

European Parliament: Take a guided tour of the European Parliament, where you can learn about the workings of the European Union and its institutions. Check the schedule in advance for visitor access.

Museum of Alsace: Immerse yourself in the history and traditions of the Alsace region at the Museum of Alsace. It features reconstructed Alsatian houses, exhibits on local culture, and displays of traditional crafts.

Batorama River Tour: Hop aboard the Batorama boat for a comprehensive sightseeing tour of Strasbourg’s canals and riverbanks. An audio guide provides commentary in multiple languages, giving insights into the city’s history and landmarks.

Strasbourg Christmas Market: Experience one of Europe’s oldest and most famous Christmas markets. The Strasbourg Christmas Market transforms the city into a festive wonderland, with beautifully decorated stalls, local treats, and festive ambiance.

These are just a few highlights of what Strasbourg has to offer. The city also boasts numerous museums, parks, historic buildings, and a vibrant culinary scene, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in its rich history and culture.

 

 

Sailings Featuring Strasbourg

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