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Strasbourg Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Strasbourg

Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace Region in France and is referred to as the "crossroads of Europe". The Grande Ile, the city's historic center, was named "the World's Heritage" by UNESCO. You will find culturally historical treasures mixed with modern attractions scattered all around the city. This tour will take you to some of the most significant sites in Strasbourg.
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Strasbourg Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Strasbourg Introduction Walk
Guide Location: France » Strasbourg (See other walking tours in Strasbourg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: irenebo
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Place Kléber
  • Place Gutenberg
  • Place de la Cathédrale
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame
  • Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait
  • Alsatian Museum
  • Saint William's Church
  • Tomi Ungerer Museum
  • Place de la République
  • Saint Paul Church
Place Kléber

1) Place Kléber

It is well worth taking time to visit the Place Kleber which is the biggest square in the heart of the city’s commercial district. The square has been a central meeting place since it was laid out in the 14th century and it took its name in 1840 after the General Jean Baptiste Kleber, whose statue stands in the center of the square. The statue was erected in 1838 by Philippe Grass. The general’s remains are in a vault under the statue. The general served in Napoleon’s army during the campaign in Egypt in 1798 and 1799. When Napoleon returned to Paris, he named the general Commander of the French Forces. Kleber was assassinated in 1800 in Cairo. His body was repatriated and kept in the Chateau d’If off the Marseille coast until being interred in his native Strasbourg thirty years later. An interesting building along the north side of the square is the Aubette, built in 1772 by Jacque-François Blondel. Once a military post, it was given its name in the 19th century, from the dawn (aube) changing of the guard. In 1928 the artists Jean Arp, Theo van Doesburg and Sophie Taeuber-Arp decorated the dance hall; this work of art is called the “Sistine Chapel of Abstract Art” The Aubette today is a leisure center that often holds art exhibitions. One part of the building has been a shopping mall since 2008.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Place Gutenberg

2) Place Gutenberg (must see)

One destination that should be on your “must-see” list is the Place Gutenberg which lies in the center of medieval Strasbourg, not far from the Cathedral.

This large square is a favorite for locals and tourists alike as it has a lot of excellent cafes and restaurants. The Chamber of Commerce building occupies one side of the square and is easily recognizable with its Renaissance style, but with the sloping roof that is typical of Alsace, where winter snow is a way of life.

There is a 16th-century hotel on the square where Arthur Young was staying when revolutionists destroyed the city’s magistrates records and where today art exhibitions are held on the ground floor. Another attraction is the flea markets that often set up around the statue in the center of the square.

The statue is, quite obviously, dedicated to Johannes Gutenberg; it was sculpted by David d’Angers in 1840 and features the famous printer holding a piece of parchment on which is inscribed the words “Et la lumière fut” (And behold, there was light) from the Book of Genesis. Around the base of the statue, bas reliefs depict notable scenes from Gutenberg’s life.

Not many people know that apart from being the inventor of the first mechanical, movable printing press in Europe in 1439 and the publisher of the Gutenberg Bible in 1455, Gutenberg lived in Strasbourg between 1434-44, where he was an apprentice goldsmith, set to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Place de la Cathédrale

3) Place de la Cathédrale (must see)

Place de la Cathédrale in Strasbourg is surrounded by a variety of buildings of different architectural styles. This square hosts one of the Christmas markets in December and some beautiful light illuminations in summer. Warning! It is also the meeting place of all the winds of Strasbourg – and if that's rather nice in the warm season, you might get a taste of Siberia during winter!
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cathédrale Notre-Dame

4) Cathédrale Notre-Dame (must see)

Until 1874 the Cathédrale Notre Dame was the world's tallest building; today it is the 6th tallest church and its tower dominates the Strasbourg skyline.

Described by Victor Hugo as a "gigantic and delicate marvel", and by Goethe as a "sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God", the cathedral is visible far across the plains of Alsace and can be seen from as far off as the Vosges Mountains or the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine. Sandstone from the Vosges used in construction gives the cathedral its characteristic pink hue.

It took many centuries to finish and has three distinctive styles. Only the crypt dates back to 1015 and it has been expanded over the centuries. The North Tower, built in 1439, is 142 meters high and on a clear day you can see for over 30km from the observation level. The Lawrence Portal in the North Transept was finished in 1505 in a markedly post-Gothic, early-Renaissance style.

Most of the statues in the cathedral are copies of the originals which can be seen the Museum de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame. The stunning Astronomical Clock, built in 1843 to replace an earlier clock, is 18 meters high and is one of the largest in the world.

If you want to watch the clock "show" (including the 30min movie presentation with English subtitles) it is at 12:30 noon in summer, but you must be there at around 11:30am to book your entry at the back door of the Cathedral (palace side) since places are limited or may be pre-booked.
The climb up the tower is not difficult as long as you can take 330 steps. Get there early in the morning or after seeing the clock for the best light for photography.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait

5) Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait

Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait is considered to be a truly charming square that definitely deserves to be visited. It is surrounded by different types of houses.
Alsatian Museum

6) Alsatian Museum (must see)

You will love the Alsatian Museum which is housed in various timber-framed Renaissance houses on the Quai Saint Nicholas. The idea for this type of museum originated in 1900 with an article in the “Revue Alsacienne Illustrée”, calling for the preservation of objects from the past for future generations. The museum opened in 1907 with a very pro-French festival that annoyed the German City Council no end. In 1917 the museum was bought by the City of Strasbourg, which was once again under French rule.

You will see over 5,000 items devoted to art and folk tradition and rural life in the 18th and 19th centuries. You will find costumes, earthenware crockery, furniture and both religious and non-religious paintings.

The museum tour consists of visiting the city’s old houses that are linked by passageways and stairways. The reconstructed rooms represent Alsace’s wine country, the agricultural plains and the mountain area of the Vosges. There are also reconstructions of craftsmen’s workshops and an excellent representation of Strasbourg’s Jewish community. When you arrive in the “country kitchen” you almost expect the smell of fresh bread to linger in the air, and the pharmacy displays a mixture of 18th-century medicines and alchemy.

An audio guide is available in English upon request.

If you intend to visit more than two museums on the same day, then you should buy a day pass. Optionally too, you can buy a 3-day pass from the tourist office, or a Strasbourg Pass.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm; closed on Tuesdays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint William's Church

7) Saint William's Church

The rather lopsided aspect of Saint William’s Church is only one of its charms and it is one of the most beautiful churches in Strasbourg.

A monastery was built on the marshy banks of the River Ill in 1307 by Hénri de Mullenheim, a knight who survived the Crusades and who wanted to give thanks for his safe return to his homeland. It was the home of the mendicant monks of the Order of the Hermits of Saint William, but only the church remains of the original monastery.

As it wasn’t far from the wharfs, in 1331 it became the parish church of the Corporation of Shipbuilders. In the 15th century a second portal was added as well as a triple-arched gallery. It was more or less abandoned during the late 16th century and was extensively restored in the 17th century.

One of the most important relics in the church is a 14th century tomb effigy – a wooden relief in polychrome depicting the conversion of Saint Catherine and Saint William. The pulpit dates back to 1656 while the altar was installed in the 18th century.

Although the organ was installed in 1987, the organ cases belong to an original instrument built by Andreas Silbermann in 1728.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Tomi Ungerer Museum

8) Tomi Ungerer Museum (must see)

Opened in November 2007, this museum is dedicated to the work of Strasbourg-born artist Tomi Ungerer and displays 8,000 graphic works of all kind by Ungerer and some of his most famous colleagues (Saul Steinberg, Ronald Searle, André François...) as well as Ungerer's large collection of ancient toys and regular, special exhibitions.

The museum is located in one half of the former Villa Greiner, a spacious villa built in 1884, and spread over three floors. The ground floor is dedicated to Ungerer's work as a children's book illustrator, the first floor is dedicated to his work as a political caricaturist and satirical cartoonist. The basement—not accessible for children—is dedicated to his erotic and semi-pornographic drawings. The museum is set inside a particularly lovely garden.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm; closed on Tuesdays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Place de la République

9) Place de la République (must see)

Place de la République is located in is located in the very heart of Strasbourg's "German quarter". The square is on the border between the historic city and the new one. It is surrounded on three sides by five buildings only, of which none is residential: the Parliament of Alsace-Lorraine (now the National Theater of Strasbourg), the Palace of the Emperor (now the Palais du Rhin) mixing different architectural styles (Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Classical), the National and University Library, the Préfecture of Grand Est and Bas-Rhin, and the tax center Hôtel des impôts. All of these buildings are classified as "monuments historiques".

Why You Should Visit:
To see one, if not the only, remaining example of fabulous German architecture in the world since all the stunning examples in Germany were destroyed in WWII.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Paul Church

10) Saint Paul Church

Strasbourg offers many wonderful sites to visit and you will be hard pressed to choose among them, but don’t miss Saint Paul’s Church which stands in Gothic Revival splendor on the south bank of an island in the center of the widest part of the River Ill.

This magnificent church was built in 1897 for the Lutheran congregation of the Imperial German Army who were billeted in Strasbourg. The graceful twin spires are 76 meters high and dominate the skyline.

If the church is wider than its length and has 19 separate entrances, it is because the army had a defined idea of what was due to each rank, so the portals were assigned from the Emperor – when he was in residence – to the generals down to the lowly foot soldiers.

The architect was Louis Muller and he based his designs loosely on the beautiful Elizabeth Church of Marburg, with the 3 huge ornate rose windows copied from the smaller one in St Thomas’ Church.

The building was damaged during the Anglo-American bombing in 1944, as were the stained glass windows. The windows suffered further damage during a terrible hailstorm in 1958 and the only remaining original ones are to be found along the nave and the eastern and southern rose windows.

Under the rose window in the eastern transept you will see the heraldic banners of Alsace, Baden, Bavaria, the Empire, Mecklenburg and Prussia. The pipe organ dates back to 1897 and is one of the biggest in Alsace.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Strasbourg, France

Create Your Own Walk in Strasbourg

Create Your Own Walk in Strasbourg

Creating your own self-guided walk in Strasbourg is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums Walking Tour

Museums Walking Tour

Art has an important role to play in Strasbourg's culture. There are various museums, divided according to area, type and period, which represent European art through the ages. Don't miss the chance to visit some of Strasbourg's most popular art museums listed below.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Strasbourg is a city with a very rich history - the first signs of human settlement in the vicinity of Strasbourg dates back to 600,000 BC. Here you can find a broad range of historical churches and cathedrals, from ancient to modern, which cover a wide variety of architectural styles. Visiting Strasbourg by foot, be sure to visit some of its best known places of worship listed below.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Strasbourg Downtown Walking Tour

Strasbourg Downtown Walking Tour

Strasbourg is considered the daughter of the Rhine River. It is famous for its history, cathedrals, architecture and gastronomy. In this walking tour you will discover interesting historical sights. All attractions are located in the heart of Strasbourg and are easy to find.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
European Quarter Walking Tour

European Quarter Walking Tour

Strasbourg is considered to be the cradle of Europe. This city is located between France and Germany and has made room for many European institutions. Go and discover sights like the Palace of Europe, the European Parliament, the Arte Headquarters, etc. Take this walking tour to learn more about the city of Strasbourg.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

Strasbourg holds the reputation for being one of the most beautiful cities in all of France. Visitors of this city should spend some time walking through some of the famous squares in the area to appreciate all Strasbourg has to offer. Check out some of the top tourist sights in the following walking tour:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
The German Quarter Walking Tour

The German Quarter Walking Tour

Strasbourg's close proximity to the border of Germany is why German culture has influenced much of the social and cultural life of the city. This walking tour will lead you to some of the most visited sights of the German Quarter of Strasbourg.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles