The idyllic city of Strasbourg, France is full of Old World charm and rich culture, but it also plays an important role in the shaping of Europe today. Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament, as well as a number of exceptional museums and historical sights, so it’s well worth a visit for anybody who loves politics, history and art. And, of course, I definitely can’t forget to mention the food. Strasbourg’s fusion of French and German cuisine is delightful, and one you won’t find anywhere else. Pair some delicious bratwursts with a locally grown Riesling, and you’ll quickly realize you’ve found a little slice of heaven on earth.
During a whirlwind trip throughout Europe, I found myself in Paris wondering where I should go next. As soon as I discovered that Strasbourg is just a quick train ride away from Paris, I immediately packed my bags and got ready to leave for the train station. Before running out of my Paris hotel, though, I made sure to pull up my trusty HotelTonight app to book a great last-minute hotel in Strasbourg. Within minutes, I had booked a charming hotel in the heart of Strasbourg, and I was ready to explore this beautiful Alsatian town.
If you want to really understand Strasbourg’s character and history, you should start your Strasbourg adventure in La Petite France. Not only will you feel as if you’ve entered a painting (or even a movie set), but you will get a great sense for the culture of the unique region of Alsace. La Petite France is Strasbourg’s historic center, and it’s comprised of old medieval buildings, half-timbered houses, winding canals and narrow cobblestone streets. As I wandered through this historic district, which seems to have been nearly untouched by time, I soaked in the beauty of the tree-lined riverbanks and the picturesque squares.
Located next to La Petite France is another one of Strasbourg’s most beloved districts, the Quartier Krutenau. What was once a marsh and later the fisherman’s quarter is now one of the liveliest, most charming districts in Strasbourg. The Krutenau feels similar to La Petite France, as it too boasts old, beautiful medieval buildings and a picturesque riverfront. Just like in Petite France, there are pretty bridges and fresh flower boxes hanging from the windows of old homes, and there are also many great restaurants, bars and cafes that are local hotspots. I found a small cafe tucked away in a charming square and sat back, relaxed and enjoyed a refreshing glass of Riesling.
The next day, I decided to head out of Strasbourg so that I could visit the famed Black Forest, known as the setting for many of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. This dark, misty forest is utterly enchanting, so it’s easy to see why this landscape would inspire fairy tales. I crossed the border into Germany and headed straight into the Black Forest, where I hopped on a trail and hiked through some of the most picturesque forest landscape I’ve ever seen. For those who love fairy tales or even for those who love great hiking, you’ll definitely want to check out the Black Forest during your visit to Strasbourg.
The Parc de l’Orangerie is beautifully manicured, with colorful gardens, lush landscape and even a lake with a waterfall. It was built in the 19th century for Empress Josephine, making it Strasbourg’s oldest park. So if you are looking for a picturesque spot for an afternoon stroll or a picnic, you should head to the Parc de l’Orangerie, which is located just 2km outside of the Grande Ile. Since I was visiting Strasbourg in summer, I was able to rent a rowboat and head out on Lac de l’Orangerie. It truly felt like a perfect afternoon, so I was more than a little sad to bid adieu to Strasbourg. I know that I’ll have to return again one day, if not for the beauty and charm, at least for the delicious food, beer and wine.
I had a feeling I was going to like Strasbourg, mainly because I love sweet wine and had also seen so many pictures of this fairy tale village prior to visiting. However, I didn’t realize how much I was going to love it. My quick weekend trip to Strasbourg felt too short, and I could have easily stayed in the town and basked in its charm for another week. Fortunately, I know that I can always return to Strasbourg, especially since I know that I can book a great last-minute hotel in Strasbourg through HotelTonight. So whenever I have a craving to rush off to this Alsatian town and my schedule is open, you can bet that I will book a hotel on HotelTonight and start packing my bag.