My Visit to Strasbourg

by | Sep 26, 2022 | Marion's Favorites, Nonfiction, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

Earlier this month, I went on a eight-day vacation to France. I spent 4 1/2 days in Strasbourg and 3 1/2 days in Paris. I had visited Paris in the summer of 2017 and seen the most of the major tourist spots (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre Museum, Cathedrale Notre Dame, & Musee d’Orsay).  I had to admit that I enjoyed my second visit to Paris more than my prior visit.  However, the reason for this trip was to visit Strasbourg.

I heard great things about Strasbourg when I visited Frankfurt, Germany in Oct 2019 (6 months before the pandemic) from locals and I had an opportunity to go Strasbourg when I spent a day in Heidelberg.  But I did not make it to Strasbourg and vowed that if I got another chance to visit the major city in the Alsace region, I would.

My girlfriend Brenda and I made the eight-hour flight from Atlanta to Paris and then took the 2 hour TGV train to Strasbourg all the same day.  Also, we both live in San Antonio and flew out of Austin to Atlanta for the first part of our travels. We were exhausted when we got to our room at Hotel Cathedrale in Strasbourg for our first day.

Hotel Cathedrale was right across from the Cathedrale Notre Dame (the first picture on this post) in the heart of the city centre.  Our room is small by American standards, but we had magnificient views of the church and the city centre. The hotel’s customer service was helpful (they spoke very good English) and I would recommend that visitors stay at this hotel during their time in Strasbourg.

The first evening we had dinner at Chez Yvonne.  It was a traditional Alsatian restaurant that was less than 10 minutes from our hotel.  Brenda and I had the best lemon tarte dessert we had ever tasted. The top of the tarte opened and there was lemon meringue with cinnamon cookie crumbles that had both of us speechless. If you are visiting Strasbourg, please make a stop at Chez Yvonne for this wonderful lemon tarte.

On Day 2 in Strasbourg, we did a lot of walking around throughout the city centre.  A lot of shopping and people watching for most of the day.  Strasbourg is the “Capital of Christmas” for Europe and people come from around the world during the holiday season to the city.  There were several Christmas stores open during our visit and we bought nutcrackers and various ornaments from La Magic de Noel in the Petite France section of the city centre.

Day 3 in Strasbourg was highlighted with our boat ride on the Ill River. In north-eastern France, the Ill River goes through the Alsace region, which is home to the Rhine. The river surrounds Strasbourg’s city centre and creates a mini island separating it from the rest of the city. The boat ride took us to the European Parliament building that has been a huge part of the city. Built in 1999 and home to the Council of Europe, where 27 members of the EU meet several times a year to govern the continent. This building is a symbol of Strasbourg where the blending of French & German cultures coexist. Here are some more facts about this multicultural city:

1) Strasbourg has changed from Germany to France 4 times in its history. Finally, becoming France in 1945 after WWII.
2) Strasbourg is the eighth largest city in France with a population of 300k in the city and a metro area population of 800k.
3) The city has the second largest college student population in France and the major university is in the city centre.
4) Strasbourg is a deeply religious city with both Catholics and Protestants having a significant position in the city. Also, there is a sizable Jewish community too.
5) Johannes Gutenberg, father of the printing press, lived in the city and has a statue in the city centre.
6) Strasbourg is the most bike-friendly city in France (We saw people riding bikes all the time during our stay).
7) People of this region love their wine (mostly white wine) so much that there is a wine route next to the city visited by locals and tourists year round.


Day 4 in Strasbourg was highlighted with our trip through the Alsace Wine Route. We took a bus ride from Strasbourg (the largest city in Alsace) to Colmar (the second largest city in Alsace). We visited the towns of Eguisheim, Riquewihr, and Kaysersberg (the last place Anthony Bourdain visited before his untimely passing).  The highlight of the tour was the visit to the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. This castle has been around since the 15th century and had a tumultuous history. It has been restored and the size of the castle was breathtaking. Game of Thrones fans would feel at home in the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. For those of you who decide to visit Strasbourg, I highly recommend that you add this castle to your itinerary.


Day 5 in Strasbourg and the last day. We walked around the city center and did some more shopping.  Also, we went inside of Cathedrale Notre Dame and enjoyed the church’s beauty.  We did not climb the 330 steps to the top.  The church made everyone leave when I was planning to climb the steps.  Maybe next time. This Northeastern France city is off the radar for most Americans, but I had a great time there. I’m so glad that I could to get a brief look at this unique, multicultural city. I’m looking forward to returning to Strasbourg (hopefully during the Christmas season). Those of you who are visiting France, I would add an extra day or two to visit Strasbourg.

Brenda and I had a wonderful time in Strasbourg. I started planning this trip last December and she had never heard of the city. But her sense of curiosity and adventure overrode her lack of knowledge about Strasbourg. I used to think that vacation was about taking in as much of a new culture as possible. But, I have realized vacation is not really about that. You can never fully grasp a culture within a seven, ten, or even fourteen day period.

Vacation is about regaining a sense of wonder and adventure that we lose to the grind of everyday living. Vacation is a reminder that no matter how much the grind pulls on you, there is a wider world that can reawaken your natural sense of curiosity. Plus, it keeps us young at heart!

Special thanks to Annie Sargent from Join Us in France podcast and website.  She gave us an extensive itinerary for our visit to both Strasbourg and Paris.  Her podcast is a great listen and if you are traveling to France, I would recommend getting her itinerary.  Thanks Annie!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Marion Hill