As the capital of France’s Alsace region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to the European Parliament, there’s plenty to see and do in Strasbourg. With two days you can cover the city’s historic heart, its top sights, the nearby wine region, and, in December, the Christmas markets. Here’s how.
La Petite France
La Petite France, Strasbourg, Alsace
Today, the district’s former tanning houses and water mills have been transformed into bijou hotels, waterfront restaurants, and nostalgic souvenir shops. Walking tours explore the warren of narrow cobblestone alleyways, exquisitely preserved medieval buildings, waterside promenades brimming with colorful flower baskets, fairy-tale Covered Bridges, and thexa0 17th-centuryVauban Dam. Most full-day tours go beyond the city, through the Black Forest to Lake Mummelsee and the spa town of Baden-Baden where you may soak in the famous thermal baths and see landmarks such as Kurhaus Casino. Other half-day tours focus on gastronomy, with tastings of the local Alsatian specialties and local beers, while other tours explore the city on bicycle or by boat through the canals.
Things to Know Before You Go
- La Petite France is an ideal spot for travelers of all ages, especially photography buffs.
- The ancient neighborhood may prove challenging for those in wheelchairs or with mobility issues.
- Be sure to go to the terrace atop the dam for a great view over the four towers of the Covered Bridges.
How to Get There
La Petite France is located just past the Covered Bridges at the southwestern entrance to Strasbourg’s Grande Île. The neighborhood can be reached on foot from all of the city’s central attractions. Take tram A, direction Illkirch to the dismount Homme de Fer. From there walk through Rue du Fossé des Tanneurs and Rue du coin Brûlé to explore the neighborhood. It is advised not to drive.
When to Get There
The neighborhood is accessible year-round. La Petite France is especially pretty when it’s warm, when window boxes overflow with colorful flowers. Strasbourg’s peak season is June through August, when the city hosts a number of events outdoors including the music festival and the film festival, and during the Christmas holiday when the city is festooned in lights and decorations and people from all over visit the Christmas market.
Square des Moulins for the Kids At the center of La Petite France is a greenspace where you can take a break in your sightseeing and shopping adventures here. Adjacent to the Covered Bridges, it is bordered by the Ill River and has views of this extremely pretty district. Families will appreciate the square’s playground made mostly of wood with water slides, a sandox, a swing, and a trampoline.
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- Tanners House (Maison des Tanneurs)
- Strasbourg Covered Bridges (Ponts Couverts)
- St. Thomas Church (Eglise St. Thomas)
- Grande Île
- Kamerzell House (Maison Kammerzell)
- Vauban Dam (Barrage Vauban)
- Place Gutenberg
- Alsatian Museum (Musée Alsacien)
- Christmas Market (Christkindelsmärik)
- Strasbourg Cathedral of Notre Dame (Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg)
- Rohan Palace (Palais Rohan)
- Orangerie Park (Parc de l'Orangerie)
- Fort of Mutzig (Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II)
- Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg