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: 13
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
Author: irenebo
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Place Kléber
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame
  • Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins
  • Archeological Museum
  • Alsatian Museum
  • Galerie L'Estampe
  • Saint William's Church
  • Tomi Ungerer Museum
  • Place de la République
  • Saint Paul Church
  • Le Pont Kennedy
  • Palace of Europe
  • European Court of Human Rights
1
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
2
Cathédrale Notre-Dame

2) 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.

Tip:
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
3
Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins

3) Cabinet des Estampes et des Dessins

The Cabinet des Stamps et des Dessins is a fascinating museum to visit. You will find it on the Place du Chateau not far from the Strasbourg Cathedral.

This small museum (the Gallery of Prints and Drawings) was founded during Wilhelm von Bode’s rebuilding and relocation of the Strasbourg museums in 1890. It is dedicated to drawings, engravings, woodcuts and lithographies from the 14th to the 19th centuries.

The collection is magnificent and comprises over 200,000 items, including Antonio Pollainolo’s 15th century engraving of “La Combat des Hommes Nus” (Battle of Naked Men).

Several works by Albrecht Dürer are on display a 15th century woodcut of Saint Michael killing a dragon and a copper engraving dating back to 1513 called “Le Chevalier, la Mort et le Diable” (The Knight, Death and the Devil).

Other marvelous works are by Augustin Hirschvogel, Heinrich Aldegrever and Rembrandt. The pride of the collection is the beautiful and rare 15th century engraved mask by Maso Finiguerra.

You can admire over 300 items delicately executed and engraved by 16th and 17th century goldsmiths. In another room of the museum is a fine private collection of coins and medals. There is also a collection of original architectural designs.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Archeological Museum

4) Archeological Museum (must see)

The Musée Archeologique is housed in the basement of Rohan Palace; it is the largest of all the Alsatian museums and one of the best of its kind in France.

The items on display are regional archaeological findings dating from Prehistory and comprise an important collection including tools and fossils of mammoths found in the Rhine area dating back to the Paleolithic epoch and human bones found in the Mannlefelsen Grottos from the Mesolithic era.

The Neolithic epoch is represented by human skulls that had been trepanned, early ceramic vases and jewelry made of pearls, horns and boar tusks. From the Bronze Age, you can admire bronze bowls and see a skeleton from the Bell Beaker civilization.

In the Iron Age section of the museum, you will find the reproduction of a funeral chariot, ceramics and bronze jewelry, while the Gallo-Roman section has a fine example of a funeral stele, part of a Roman altar to the god Mars and bronze statues.

In the section dedicated to the Merovingian epoch, there are gold and silver funerary artifacts, ceramics, bowls and vases in engraved bronze, jewelry in molten glass and human remains.

Tip:
Pick up the free leaflets that help you pick out the highlights.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm; closed on Tuesdays
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Alsatian Museum

5) 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.

Tip:
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
6
Galerie L'Estampe

6) Galerie L'Estampe

Galerie L'Estampe can be found in the historical heart of Strasbourg. Its founder, Thierry Lacan, specializes mainly in the making of original contemporary art prints. L'Estampe is one of the largest printing units in France, working with more than 50 recognized international artists.

Opening hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 7 pm.
7
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
8
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
9
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
10
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
11
Le Pont Kennedy

11) Le Pont Kennedy

Le pont Kennedy takes it's name because of its location in the vicinity of the Consulate of the United States. It is also known as the "Four Men's Bridge", because it is surrounded by four monumental sculptures in sandstone, each representing a worker in action.
12
Palace of Europe

12) Palace of Europe

If you have visited several of Strasbourg’s magnificent ancient buildings before heading for the Palace of Europe, don’t get a fixed idea that it will look like something out of a German fairy tale or you’ll be rather shocked but its startling and somewhat aggressive modernity.

It looks more like a futuristic scientific building where strange experiments are carried out than a palace, but actually it has been the home of the Council of Europe since 1997.

After the Second World War the assemblies took place in one of the buildings in the University; in 1950 the Council moved to the House of Europe, which was pulled down in 1977 and became the lawns of the new building.

The palace is square and rather like a fortress, with its sloping walls of glass, sandstone and steel. In the central courtyard are two domed buildings, the larger one being the Assembly Chamber, the smaller one is the Debating Chamber.

The palace is 38 meters high and has a floor space of 64000 square meters, with 17 meeting rooms and 1000 offices for the Council’s secretariat. It also houses the office of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

The palace is used by the Committee of Members, the Congress of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It is open to the public only by official guided tours, which are very interesting and informative about the functions of the Council of Europe.
Sight description based on wikipedia
13
European Court of Human Rights

13) European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights is recognized by 47 European countries, but it is not part of the European Union. It was established in 1959 as a Commission and became a full-time court in 1998 when the European Commission of Human Rights was abolished.

The court is housed in an ultra-modern building made of steel and glass and that uses natural light and ventilation in an effort to be planet friendly. The building is designed to be people friendly and inviting; from an aerial point of view it looks a little like a giant bug with two circular chambers like eyes on each side of the entrance hall, with myriad offices in the “tail” behind it.

It was designed by Sir Richard Rogers (London) and Claude Berger, a local architect. At its early stages the designs were enlarged to make a bigger building due to the fall of communism. The architects didn’t want the building to be a monument but rather a symbolic landmark and they certainly achieved their aim. There are four slabs from the Berlin Wall in front of the entrance.

The Court Room occupies one of the circular chambers that is 28000 square meters and has 342 seats all told. The Commission Room in the other chamber covers 520 square meters. There is a large Deliberating Room, a Projection Room, 420 offices and a cafeteria.
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.
Modern Architecture Walking Tour

Modern Architecture Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Strasbourg for Kids

Strasbourg for Kids

Strasbourg, situated in the Alsace region of France, is a very popular tourist destination. Is famous for its great architecture. The city centre is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Also you'll find here a lot of attractions meant for children. Check out the most interesting destinations for your children in this self-guided tour of Strasbourg.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
European Quarter Walking Tour

European Quarter Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Museums Walking Tour in Strasbourg

Museums Walking Tour in Strasbourg

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Churches Walking Tour

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