The medieval city of Strasbourg stands as a city of cultural contrasts. Its medieval history still lines the old city streets on the Grande Ile, while upriver rises new European governing institutions. The medieval Strasbourg Cathedral in 1439 became the tallest building in the world, finally surpassing its predecessor…the millenia older Great Pyramid of Giza. This is the same city that Johannes Gutenburg invented the moveable type, leading to the modern printing press. It is also the same city that ignited two World Wars between Germany and France.
None-the-less, Strasbourg remains a little visited, yet extraordinary, city on the Rhine that melds the cultures of both Germany and France into an Alsatian variety. The central Strasbourg Cathedral is the beginning of any trip around the city. Inside lies a famous astrological clock, which always has characters and figures moving about. To the side of the cathedral is the oldest building in Strasbourg, made completely of wood and still standing. Behind the cathedral is the Palais des Rohan where Napoleon once stayed. Christmas markets line the streets along with Alsatian grog known as vin chaud.
The most famous district is Petit France, which lies at the tip of the Grand Island. There aren’t any picked monuments, rather it is the streetscape, which makes this district both fascinating and monumentally expensive. At the tip are the original fortifications and military barracks. Massive guard towers stand over the river entry ports into the city. This is not only the prettiest part, but also the most colorful part of the city. North of the river lies the glassy and modern European institutions, along with more modern-looking housing.
Flammenkuche is Strasbourg’s famous dish, which is becoming increasingly popular across Europe. Due to its Germanic history, beer is quite popular even though it runs in contrasts with France’s wine fame. When it comes to wine, Alsace is known for its white wine.
Strasbourg is over all a quaint city with a lot to offer and too few tourists then it should deserve. With sights and food combined, Strasbourg has a lot to offer for a weekend trip.