Go to your happy place
See Strasbourg from a unique point of view: with happy locals. In an initiative by a group of Strasbourg natives in love with their city, a guide meets visitors in front of the cathedral to usher them on an English-speaking Happy Tour of Strasbourg. From April 1st to December 31st, the tours run every day starting at 2:30 pm (in January, February, and March, the tour only runs on Saturdays and Sundays). No need for a reservation, just walk up to the guide holding up the ‘Happy Tour’ sign. Tips are entirely optional and always welcome from those who enjoyed the tour. There is also the English-speaking Happy Petite France Tour running every Sunday starting in front of the cathedral at 11:30 am.
The oldest wine
Here’s one for wine lovers and history buffs. In a 600-year-old wine cellar under the Hospice de Strasbourg rests a barrel marked 1472, believed to be the oldest wine barrel in the world. In the Middle Ages and beyond, patients would pay back their medical treatment in kind, often with parcels of land which sometimes contained vineyards. In those days, it was common for large hospitals to have their own vineyards because wine was used in medical treatments as well as for religious purposes. The wine is served on extremely rare and highly symbolic occasions; otherwise, it wouldn’t last very long.
Hospice de Strasbourg, 1 Place de l’Hôpital, Strasbourg, France, +33 03 88 11 64 50
Chocolate lovers are in for a real treat. Just 10 minutes from central Strasbourg, the Musée du Chocolat showcases the treat and from picking the cocoa beans to the final artistic flourishes, it explains the different stages of chocolate preparation. There are tastings involved, a boutique where visitors can pick up a souvenir or two at the boutique, and even a tea room to extend the experience and test newfound knowledge.
Attend a session of Parliament
Strasbourg is home to the official seat of the European Parliament, and a visit to the Parliamentarium is a great way to learn more about its inner workings and role in the European Union’s functioning. To delve deeper into real-time politics, a visit is even more special during plenary sessions because of the chance to witness history in the making. The plenary sessions are interpreted into all 24 official European Union languages and places are available for individual visitors to follow the session for an hour (subject to availability). Plan ahead by checking the calendar for the dates of the plenary sessions and get there early.
Do the Voodoo
Most wouldn’t expect to find the world’s largest private collection of West African Voodoo items in Strasbourg, but that’s just how surprising the city is. Château Vodou, located within walking distance from the station, presents objects used worship of ancestors, medicine, divination, birth, witchcraft, and other events related to the major stages of life. Discover this little-known universe and gather plenty of conversation material to last a lifetime.
Château Musée Vodou, Rue de Koenigshoffen, Strasbourg, France, +33 03 88 36 15 03
A Renaissance technical and aesthetic wonder, the Astronomical Clock is a result of the combined work of artists, mathematicians, and technicians who all worked together with master watchmakers to produce this astonishing contraption. The animated figures spring to life every day at 12:30 pm. The different stages of life—a child, a teenager, an adult, and an old man—all parade past Death, and the apostles parade before Jesus. In front of the clock, visitors can admire the huge Pillar of Angels that offers a unique take on the Last Judgment.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, Place de la Cathédrale, Strasbourg, France, +33 03 88 21 43 34
Tap into the local vibe
A unique cultural hub to discover the lively contemporary and street-art scene of Strasbourg. La PopArtiserie was founded as a joint project with the Eurometropole and is an art gallery and music venue to support up-and-coming creative talent. With a wine bar, workshops, and events, this place is unique; however, trying to describe it is limiting as there is something different and novel going on all the time. Go with an open heart and mind and absorb the vibe.
La PopArtiserie, 3 Rue de l Ail, Strasbourg, France, +33 03 69 57 41 65
A weird and wonderful world
Tomi Ungerer was born in Strasbourg and is an outspoken writer, illustrator, and satirist. He is known for his children’s books and also for his biting posters on subjects close to his heart like his opposition to the Vietnam War and his opposition to animal cruelty. The city of Strasbourg dedicated an entire museum to his work, unique in Europe as very few places are dedicated to the art of illustration. The collection offers over 8,000 original drawings, sketches, sculptures, and posters created by the artist himself.
Grab a beer here
The Village de la Bière, located in the heart of the Krutenau District, is a veritable temple for beer aficionados and experts. There are more than 400 kinds of beers from all over the world—including some not found anywhere else. The owners are passionate about their wares and will be more than happy to help patrons select the right beer for them.
Dine on the Orient Express
Those who love vintage trains will enjoy dining in a place that makes legends come alive. The restaurant Les Secret des Grands Express’s dining room is set up in an elegant Orient Express carriage. This allows diners to travel in time while enjoying fine cuisine at the hands of a celebrated chef. Book ahead as this train’s tables tend to sell out quickly. Oh, and it’s not far from the Musée du Chocolat for those who wish to combine the two for an all-day foodie fest.