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The capital and largest city in the Grand East region. Strasbourg is home to just under 300,000 people, making it the 7th largest city in France. It’s proximity to the German border makes it part of a transnational metropolitan region of around 1 million people.
Historically part of the Alsace region, Strasbourg became a free city in 1281 after rebelling against the rule of the Bishops. It became part of Germany after the Franco-Prussian war but was returned to France after the First World War. It was occupied by Nazi Germany and suffered severe allied bombing raids.
Today, Strasbourg is known as being the home of the European Union’s parliament, as well as several other high profile European institutions. It is a centre of education, culture and industry. Its entire historic city centre, Grande Île, has been designated a world heritage site and there are great shopping, dining and drinking opportunities.
For information about gay rights in France, please check out our Gay Paris City Guide page.
The organised gay scene is limited with a couple of gay bars, a cruise club and sauna catering to gay customers. Strasbourg has a lively student scene which makes the nightlife bustling and welcoming meaning you’re guaranteed to have a good night wherever you go.
Festigays, Strasbourg’s annual gay Pride festival, is held in June and has been going for nearly two decades. It includes a pride parade and a variety of parties, performances and activities throughout the city.
Strasbourg International Airport (SXB) is located 10 km south west of the city and is France’s 10th largest airport. It offers a modest collection of flights to and from cities and leisure destinations in Europe and North Africa.
The airport is connected to Strasbourg’s central railway station with a train that leaves around 4 times an hour with journey times taking 7 minutes. Tickets can be purchased from machines on the platform and a TER and CTS ticket costs €4.30 which offers you 90 minutes of travel on Strasbourg’s public transport network.
Taxis can be found outside the terminal building as well as ordered in advance. Prices can be expensive and do not be surprised if your journey costs around the €50 mark. Car hire is available in the terminal building. The journey by car takes around half an hour.
Gare de Strasbourg is centrally located and a striking building, mixing old and modern architectural styles. It is served by high speed TGV trains offering fast connections to destinations in France, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. You can connect to the greater European rail network from here. Be wary of pickpockets.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Grande Île is entirely pedestrianised and is one of the largest pedestrianised zones in Europe. Walking is the best way to take in the sights as most sights are within close proximity to each other.
By public transport
Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS) operate the integrated system of buses and trams. Tickets can be bought from Tabacs, vending machines, tourist information centres or transport offices. Single tickets start at €1.70, with returns €3.30, 24 hour tickets €4.80 or 10 singles for €14. Remember to validate your tickets.
The main tram hub is Homme de Fer with services running from here until half past midnight. Buses run until around 11pm however on Fridays and Saturday there are night bus services that stop at nightlife hotspots.
Strasbourg is a flat city which has resulted in the city embracing cycling as a means of getting around. Cycle hire can be found throughout the city and there are well signposted cycle routes.
Taxis are impractical for getting into and out of the the Grande Île due to the area being pedestrianised but you will find taxi ranks a other important locations throughout the city. Taxis are expensive in Strasbourg so it may only be worthwhile to get a taxi if in a larger group. Uber operates in Strasbourg.
For a list of recommended hotels in Strasbourg, please check out our recommended hotels in Strasbourg page.
Grande Île – this entire island was the first city centre designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and is a stunning example of Medieval architecture. The centrepiece is Place Kléber, marked by a statue of the general who gives the square its name, which houses many high-end boutiques and the Christmas Market.
Strasbourg Cathedral – Considered to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world. Strasbourg Cathedral is the tallest in France and the 6th tallest in the world. There is much to see here including its astronomical clock.
Palais Rohan – in this grand building you will find the Museum of Fine Arts, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Decorative Arts. Please note that you will need to buy tickets to each museum individually.
L’Opéra – take in a performance at this attractive neo-classical opera house which is home to the internationally acclaimed L’Opéra National du Rhin.
Orangerie – an attractive park. Perfect to wile away an sunny afternoon with a picnic or a stroll.
Marché aux Puces – this market, held on Saturdays and Wednesdays, is a treasure trove for antiques and quirky knickknacks to commemorate your stay in Strasbourg.
Summers in Strasbourg tend to be warm and sunny while winters tend to be cool and overcast. Rain is common throughout the year and there are a few days of snow a year. Strasbourg gets busy in the summer and around Christmas but when the EU Parliament is in session you may struggle to find somewhere to stay.
There are a variety of events and festivals held in Strasbourg throughout the year. Its Christmas markets are extremely popular and attract visitors from across the border in Germany. The two week International Festival of Strasbourg has live performances of jazz, classical and world music throughout the city in June.
France is within the European Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, check to see if you require a Schengen visa.
France is a member of the Eurozone. Cash dispensers are widely available. You may be asked for photo ID if paying with a credit or debit card in a shop.
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