Located on the German-French border, Strasbourg is a charming city in the heart of the Alsace region. The legacy of this area is a unique Alsatian culture that forges together the finest aspects of both countries. Visit the European Parliament, admire the quaint buildings of La Petite France and don’t leave without sampling a glass of vin in a local winstub – here are the top things to do and see while visiting Strasbourg, France.
Named after Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the renowned military engineer who designed it, this dam is a remarkable feat of 17th-century engineering. It was built during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and intended to raise the River Ill and flood southern areas of the city in the event of enemy attack. These days, the dam – which sits on 13 limestone arches – is primarily used as a spot for tourists to take the best picture of Strasbourg.
An early morning pick up from Strasbourg’s tourist office is how a typical wine tasting day begins, as you begin the short journey south, stopping at Alsace’s best caveaux. The region’s role in historic duels between France and Germany is reflected in its most famous wines, which are heavily influenced by France’s eastern neighbour. Sup the finest Riesling from a flûte d’Alsace while soaking up views between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine valley.
For a true taste of Alsatian food, drink and culture, make a beeline for one of the city’s many popular wine joints known as winstubs. Originally devised by local winemakers who saw it as a way to squeeze profit from every drop of surplus grog, the tradition has lasted the test of time. Winstubs like Zuem Strissel have retained their homely, community vibe – they’re the best places to try local wine and Alsatian favourites, like choucroute garnie (sauerkraut and sausages) and flammekueche (a bacon and onion flatbread).