Walking Tour of Strasbourg, France
In the vicinity of the Alsace is the city of Strasbourg, one of Europe’s most elegant cities. It was founded in 12 A.D. by the son of Augustus. The most famous sight in the city is its beautiful pink-limestone Cathedral, which dates from the 12th century. Its Gothic spire is one of Christianity’s highest. Inside the cathedral, watch at 12:30 PM for the elaborate Astronomical Clock, complete with moving Apostles and angels, to strike noon!! There are less elaborate displays at the quarter-hours. Pet the tiny carved dog on the pulpit for good luck.
My walk begins at Cathedral Square, situated near the southern end of the Grande Ile, an island which constitutes Old Strasbourg. On the square is the city’s famous Notre Dame Cathedral. This Gothic edifice of rose-red sandstone dates to the 12th century, and its spire offers fantastic views of the city and beyond. The Astronomical Clock, near the southern entrance, is an attraction of itself, displaying its “passion play” at 12:30 PM each day. The museum across the square, Musee de l’Oeuvre Notre Dame is also worth a look.
The adjoining square, Place du Chateau, contains the elegant Palais Rohan, whose interior is magnificent, and includes several other museums.
From here, continue south to the river, and turn right along Quai des Bateliers. The names of the docks change as you walk west (check out the Old Customs House as you walk by), then continue from Quai Finkwiller to Rue Finkwiller, and then turn right to reach the Ponts Couverts, the Covered Bridges, which were once part of the city’s medieval fortifications.
Just west of the bridges is the Vauban Dam, a grass-roofed structure that dates to 1682. Climb to its terrace for exceptional views. Then, backtrack to the covered bridges and cross the river.
Next, explore the area to the right after you cross the river. This part of the city is known as Petite France and is the most charming and interesting area to walk. It is a quintessential Alsatian village, with its meticulously-maintained half-timbered houses, flower boxes, tiny, narrow streets, and canals.
When you have completed your exploration, exit to the east and turn right on Rue du Bains-aux-Plantes, which winds its way to the Place Gutenberg. Note the Renaissance-style Chamber of Commerce building.
Now, turn right onto Rue du Vieux Marche aux Poissons, then left on Rue Merciere, which leads back to Cathedral Square, where you started.