Categories
Walk around

Straddling the border in the Jardin des Deux Rives

The Jardin des Deux-Rives stretches across 150 hectares and consists of two half-gardens on either side of the Rhine, linked by an elegant cable-stayed footbridge. This cross-border landscaped park, which was inaugurated in 2004, is a symbol of French-German friendship.

• On the French side, in Strasbourg, you enter the park by walking along the riding school, or by taking the Sentier des planètes (path of the planets) in the middle. Spanning 281 meters, the solar system has been scaled down 16 billion times, to give you an idea of the distance between the Sun and the different planets of the solar system

As you explore the park, you’ll also find:
– a water wall (in a semicircle, on either side of the central axis)
themed and pop-up gardens where you can daydream for a while
– a large lawn where flower shows, and cultural events are organized in the summertime (concerts with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra de Strasbourg or open-air cinema nights)
– a sculpture path (with works by Sylvie Blocher, Andrea Blum, Tadashi Kawamata, Philippe Lepeut and Akio Suzuki) that continues on the German side of the Rhine
picnic tables
playgrounds
– a boules pitch.

• Cross the Passerelle Mimram footbridge (only for pedestrians and cyclists) which spans the Rhine. This cable-stayed footbridge designed by architect Marc Mimram was imagined as a hyphen, a connection between France and Germany. Its two decks converge to form a central platform, above the middle of the Rhine. Stop for a while and enjoy the view or watch a riverboat pass by.

On the German side, in Kehl, a peaceful, paved promenade, shady and well maintained (der blaue Weg), winds along the riverbank.

Everyone can enjoy the park however they like:
– if you’re the contemplative type: the walking path is dotted with benches at regular intervals
– if you’re more sporty: there are several kinds of gym apparatus
for plant lovers: explore the Biblical Garden
ufologists: climb into a flying saucer (UFO is an exhibit space)
art lovers: admire the sculptures, like Begegnung by Josef Fromm (which notably symbolizes the friendship between France and Germany) and the Roses Frontalières (Border Roses) by Thomas Rother (honoring members of the French resistance who were murdered mere hours after Strasbourg was freed in 1944).

If you move a little further away from the river to find higher ground and climb the Silver Fir Tower (Weisstannenturm). At 44 meters high, this tower offers a splendid view of the Rhine, Strasbourg Cathedral, and on clear days – all the way to the Black Forest and the Vosges mountains.

Categories
Top

Our 15 street art favorites in Strasbourg

Before embarking on a “street art safari” in Strasbourg, we generally begin by agreeing on a search perimeter of a certain number of blocks. Then we comb the streets, looking for a collage, a graffiti piece, a mural, or a painted power box – as if we were looking to spot wild animals on a photo safari in Africa. Whenever we find street art we haven’t seen before, we like to take the time to really examine the piece and figure out what it’s all about, before taking a snapshot of it – as a keepsake.

We love the wildly creative aspect of street art, as well as the accessibility of it, thanks to its presence in public spaces. This form of artistic expression is so much more than just a splash of color or a backdrop for the urban cityscape.

Here are 15 of our favorite street art pieces in Strasbourg

Categories
our favorites

Wisteria hysteria in Strasbourg

Now that the magnolias have blossomed, the wisterias are starting to bloom – signalling the arrival of spring and eventually the early days of summer. Here and there, buildings are clad in creeping, brightly-colored floral terraces, natural spiral staircases, cascades of sparkling lilac or white… Garden archways don their spring attire and bask in the sunlight.Every year, these fragrant climbing clusters enchant photographers, lovers of beauty and flower enthusiasts alike. They also attract bees and bumblebees, who indulge in their nectar.

Here are some of our favorite shots of Strasbourg’s wisterias in bloom:

Categories
unusual Strasbourg

Unusual Strasbourg: the Büchmesser

Located at the corner of rue Mercière and place de la Cathédrale, the belly-measuring column, or “Büchmesser” in Alsatian, was built in 1567 and restored in 2016.

This pink sandstone column is a Strasbourg icon and the vestige of a tradition dating back to the 14th century. 

The bourgeois members of the City Council would use it to gauge their portliness every year for the Schwoertag, which was the day they would swear their allegiance to the Constitution. After being sworn in, they would visit the various guilds in town and attend a feast. Afterwards, if they were unable to slip sideways through the space between the column and the wall of the building, it was time for them to go on a diet. 

Try it yourself, by slipping wetween the belly-measuring column and the wall. The space is 35 centimeters wide! 

Categories
our favorites

12 places to see magnolias in bloom in Strasbourg

Every spring, all over Strasbourg, the trees transform into clouds of pink and white. For just a few days, nature offers us this wonderful display of ephemeral beauty.

The blossoming magnolias are a sign that spring has sprung and that warm summer days are close at hand.

Both visitors and locals flock to admire the flowers, take pictures and selfies, or just sit down at the foot of a tree to enjoy the lovely springtime weather.

We’ve picked out 12 of the best places in Strasbourg to see magnolias in bloom – all fully visible in the public space:

🌐 Enlarge the map »

• Place de la République: there are several magnolia trees at both the north and south end of the park in the middle of the square.  This is definitely one of Strasbourg’s most beautiful and popular spots to see the blossoming magnolias.

• Quai Koch, below pont Royal. Down by the riverside, you’ll find an ideal view of Saint Paul’s church.

• Place Brant, by the bus stop, in front of café Brant. This majestic magnolia tree is the centerpiece of place Brant. The view towards the Palais Universitaire is particularly beautiful.

• Place Broglie, in the garden of Palais du Gouverneur militaire  

• Parc de Contades, at the northeast corner of the park, not far from the passerelle des Arquebusiers. A lovely spot where you can enjoy the calm atmosphere of the parc.

• Parc de l’Orangerie, around Pavillon Joséphine

• Lycée des Pontonniers, visible from pont Saint-Etienne and the banks of the river Ill below

• At the back of Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune Catholic church, at the corner of rue Saint-Arbogast and rue du Général de Castelnau

• Outside 5 rue Fischart (the former Departmental Archives)

The corner of quai Lézay-Marnésia and rue des Récollets, in a garden you can see from the street

• On the University’s Campus de l’Esplanade, between the Faculty of Languages and the Institute of Biological Chemistry  

• Place de l’Étoile, by the main entrance to City Hall

Categories
unusual Strasbourg

Unusual Strasbourg: the Janus Fountain

Located just northeast of place Broglie (in square Markos Botzaris), the Janus Fountain, also known as The Birth of Civilization, was designed in 1988 by Alsatian illustrator Tomi Ungerer, on the occasion of Strasbourg’s 2000-year anniversary. The piece is named after Janus, the two-faced Roman god.

Tomi Ungerer pointed out that “the Rhineland [had been] at the heart of [his] work”. The two faces of the fountain represent the duality of French and Germanic culture in Strasbourg and Alsace. One of the faces is turned towards the historical city center, while the other points towards the old German imperial quarter of the Neustadt.

The aqueduct structure, composed of 5000 bricks, symbolizes the Roman origins of Strasbourg, where the military outpost of Argentoratum was once located.

Categories
Seasons

Strasbourg through the seasons: Pontonniers

Lycée des Pontonniers – a high school with over 1000 students ranging from first-years (age 15/16) to post-secondary preparatory classes – was built in 1902. Isn’t it a little reminiscent of Hogwarts?

With every season, Strasbourg reveals a new side to itself, a unique charm and atmosphere.

In exploring Strasbourg, we endeavor to capture the city in all the different lights and hues that the seasons have to offer throughout the year.

Wintery palettes give way to blossoms and nature’s awakening, to mild summer weather and outdoor activities, and finally to the chill of Autumn with its fiery colors.

(Re)discover Lycée des Pontonniers at different times of year:

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: parc de Pourtalès

From the (free) parking lot by parc de Pourtalès, there are two paths, each leading to very different spaces and atmospheres.

On one side, the beautiful scenery around Château de Pourtalès opens on a large sculpture park and the château gardens.

On the other side of the parking lot, you’ll find the forêt de la Robertsau. This place means a lot to us because it offers a break, far away from the urban environment, although the city is only a few hundred meters away. It’s also important to us because we chose to have our wedding pictures taken there

As you walk along the asphalted path (for cyclists and pedestrians only), the trees start to form a tunnel of foliage. In the spring, the ditches are full of blooming wild garlic.


The tapping sound of woodpeckers resonates throughout the forest. If you’re very lucky, you might even spot a deer!
Old stone kilometer markers and bunkers from the war have been gradually covered in greenery – nature has taken over again.
The sound of horses’ hooves is muffled on the dirt tracks below the raised path.
Long-haired Highland cows graze in the surrounding fields. Frolicking dogs swim in the little ponds, under the watchful eye of their owners.

You can continue your walk along the dyke, past fields and farms until you reach the village of la Wantzenau.

In July 2020, the forêt de la Robertsau was made a national nature reserve.

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: Presqu’île Malraux

Formerly an abandoned port site, Presqu’île Malraux/Rivetoile has turned into a bustling neighborhood, made up of apartment and office buildings, a shopping center (Rivetoile), cafés and restaurants, a multiplex movie theater and several cultural buildings (like the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse and the Médiathèque André Malraux).

We love walking along the docks from the Black Swan towers to the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse*. You can access the peninsula by starting at the towers, near Winston Churchill tram stop.

On the bridge between the movie theater and the refurbished Seegmuller warehouse, turn back to look at the outline of the three towers, which reminds us of a bar chart.

A little further on, the sky is beautifully reflected in the façade of the Médiathèque André Malraux.
Continue your walk towards the two massive Paindavoine cranes (they’re illuminated at night, and you can control the lights remotely!) and the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse.

After crossing the Braque footbridge, as you stroll under the trees along quai des Alpes and quai du Général Koenig, see if you can spot a coypu swimming in the canal.

In the summertime, if the weather allows it, enjoy the beachy vibes of “les Docks d’été”.

(*If you’re coming from the city center, the walk would start at the Cité de la Musique et de la Danse.)

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: parc du Heyritz

Parc du Heyritz is a haven of tranquility tucked between the Hôpital Civil de Strasbourg and the hustle and bustle of place de l’Étoile.

As you approach the park, a weeping willow on the right-hand side seems to form a curtain through which you enter. A floating pontoon borders the bassin de l’Hôpital and runs the entire length of the park. You can spot a wide variety of animals: fish, birds, frogs, tortoises, lizards, and coypus. In the spring, you can also watch the ducks diving between the water plants with their ducklings.

The pontoon leads to the far side of the park, where you’ll find playgrounds and gym apparatus, a reflecting pool, allotment gardens and terraced lawns where you can relax. In the summer, the park is occasionally used as an open-air cinema.

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: quai des Bateliers

Quai des Bateliers runs along the Ill between pont Saint-Guillaume and pont du Corbeau.

Recently pedestrianized, quai des Bateliers is like a little green haven in the middle of the city. A space where you can breathe, take a walk along the water with your family, your friends, or your partner. The atmosphere is cool and calm, flowing with the river and the boats gliding past. 

Stop for a moment under the lush trees, relax for a while on one on the pontoons directly above the Ill, or on the large floating pontoon (by pont du Corbeau). The crooked houses between n°22 and n°26 seem to lean against each other, as though they had their own definition of balance.

The quay is lined with cafés, galleries, shops and independent bookstores. We particularly enjoy the Librairie du Tigre (n°36), which specializes in comic books. 

In the springtime, you can see wisteria cascading down a few of the façades along the opposite riverbank. 

As you walk along the quay, the Cathedral appears in the background. The view from the footbridge passerelle de l’Abreuvoir is particularly appreciated by photographers.

A little further down, the Cathedral seems to play hide and seek behind the Palais Rohan (vestige of the 18th century aristocracy’s way of life, and now home to three museums) and the Historical Museum (which presents the history of Strasbourg from the Middle Ages to the founding of the European institutions).

Quai des Bateliers ends by pont du Corbeau, where you can continue towards: 

  • rue d’Austerlitz and the neighborhood of la Krutenau to your left 
  • quai Saint-Nicolas and la Petite France if you follow the river 
  • rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, the Historical Museum, the Cathedral and the Palais Rohan to your right.

Alternatively, you can choose to walk level with the water along the banks of the Ill, which you can access either from pont Saint-Guillaume or from the Palais Rohan.