Quick facts about Strasbourg

  • Population: 280,000 in city itself, over 1 million with surrounding towns, the 8th largest in France
  • Foundation: 58 BC as Roman city of Argentorate
  • Languages: French and Alsatian (local dialect of German)
  • Travel time 
    • Paris by train, 1 hour 50 minutes
    • Kehl, Germany by tram, 10 minutes
    • Basel Switzerland by train, 40 minutes

More on Strasbourg from the city office of tourism

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Fantastic things about Strasbourg

It's a multicultural border city

Strasbourg sits on the Rhine river, just across from Germany.  The city has gone back and forth between the two countries five times since 1870. 

See for yourself: Take a stroll through the Neustadt with its German imperial architecture.  Or catch the tram  to Kehl, the first town in Germany, just a few minutes away.

You can bike everywhere

With over 600 miles of bike lanes, Strasbourg is the most bikeable city in France.  Most of the city center is closed to cars.  You can take your bike on the tram and there is bike parking everywhere.

See for yourself:  Every Accès student gets a bike and a helmet for the semester.  

It's a European capital

The European Parliament, the Council of Europe, Pharmacopea and the European Court of Human Rights are all headquartered in Strasbourg.

See for yourself: World leaders often come to speak at Strasbourg's European institutions.  Most meetings are free and open to the public.

It's really beautiful

From the gothic Notre Dame cathedral (the tallest in the country) to the narrow streets of La Petite France and the cafés along the canals, Strasbourg is one of the most breathtaking cities in Europe.

See for yourself: Most students live close to the downtown with host families or in student boarding houses

Cool things that Alsace gave the world

The Christmas Tree

The idea of decorating a pine tree at Christmas comes from Alsace in the 16th century.  

Check out the Christkindelmarikheld on the Grand'Ile every December since 1570.

La Marseillaise

The French national anthem is named for the southern city of Marseille.  But it was composed in Strasbourg by Rouget de l'Ile during the French Revolution for Alsatian soldiers to sing as they marched.   

Visit the Place Brogile where the Marseillaise was first performed.



Slow-cooked in white wine and served with a potatoes, knack sausages and smoked meats, "choucroute strasbourgoise" is an Alsatian specialty. 

Try it out at a local restaurant like La Maison Kammerzell.



The invention of moveable type printing by Johannes Gutenberg in Strasbourg revolutionized the diffusion of ideas throughout Europe and the world.

Learn more at the Bibliothèque Humaniste in Sélestat.

The world's fastest car

The factory founded by Etorri Bugatti in Molsheim in 1909 still custom designs sports cars, including the Veyron.

See one firsthand at the Bugatti foundation in Molsheim or the Cité de l'Automobile in Mulhouse.


The cigogne is supposed to bring good luck in Alsace, especially if it nests on your house.  And that's probably where the idea of storks delivering babies comes from.

See for yourself: there are dozens of nesting pairs in Strasbourg's Parc de l'Orangerie


Famous people from Strasbourg and the region of Alsace

Louis Pasteur

1822-1895, Chemist, Microbiologist.  Inventor of the pasteurization technique for preserving dairy products.  Developed vaccine for rabies. Professor at University of Strasbourg

Louise Weiss

1893-1983, Journalist, Political activist, Member European Parliament.  Early advocate for women's suffrage in France. Founder of newspaper L'Europe Nouvelle. Elected MEP and President of European Parliament

Jean Calvin

1509-1564  Theologian,  One of the main protagonists of the Protestant Reformation. Exiled in Strasbourg where he works as pastor and writes The Institutions of the Christian Religion.


Albert Schweitzer

1875-1965  Polymath, Medical doctor, Theologian, Organist, Founder of hospital of tropical medecine in Lambaréné, Gabon, Winner of Nobel Peace Prize  1952

Johannes Gutenberg

1400-1468 Inventor of moveable type printing, a technological breakthrough that puts Strasbourg at the center of the Reformation and the Rhenan Renaissance.  (Gutenberg is also the inspiration for the Accès logo.)

Gutenberg gravure 1

Odile de Hohenbourg

660-720  Abbess and founder of the monastery at Hohenbourg in the Vosges mountains.  Today the monastery is a Catholic pilgrimage site and popular hiking destination.  She is the patron saint of Alsace and the blind.

Odile hohenbourg


Students' favorite neighborhoods

La Krutenau

Student quarter along the Ill river near the university campus.  Home to Gallia student residence, lots of cafés and a street market on the rue de Zurich.  Several "péniches" along the quai de l'Ill are floating night clubs. 

Krutenau square

La Petite France

Iconic neighborhood in the town center with its beautifully preserved medieval houses.  Don't miss the view from the platform of the Barrage Vauban.

Petite france guys square
Orangerie square


A peaceful haven in the heart of the European district.  You can rent a row boat on the lake or attend a concert in the Pavillon Joséphone.  The Robertsau forest with its miles of bike paths is nearby.

Bassin austerlitz square


The neighborhood is best known for the Riv'étoile complex along the canal: cinema, shopping center, music conservatory and library.  A bit farther south Neudorf becomes a village in the city.  Check out the farmers market or the Scala Theater.


Strasbourg landmarks

Palais univ 1

Le Palais Universitaire

Built in 1884 as the main hall of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Universität under the German Empire.  Today it houses the art, history and theology departments of the University of Strasbourg.

Cathedrale place

La cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

A church has stood on this spot for over a millenium.  The late gothic facade is made of pink sandstone.  At 142 meters, the spire is the highest  in France.  It is the highest building in the world constructed entirely in the Middle Ages.

La Maison Kammerzell

Built as a private house in 1427, it is Strasbourg's oldest building still standing.  Today is houses a restaurant and hotel.

Kammerzell 1

Le Palais Rohan

In 1742, the prince bishop of Rohan  completed this palace next to the Cathedral as official residence.  Today it contains three museums.

Palais rohan 2
Eu parl

European Parliament, Louise Weiss Building

Inaugurated in 1999, the EU Parliament building has exposed beams on the upper floors to evoke the unfinished nature of European union.

Stain paul

Église Saint Paul

Built under the German Empire in 1897, this was the Protestant church of the miltary garrison.  The emperor had his own private pew.