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Top 10 views of la Petite France

La Petite France, Strasbourg’s historic old town, is surrounded by water. Because of the canals of the river Ill winding between the charming, half-timbered houses, this neighborhood reminds us of an Alsatian little Venice. Explore the narrow, cobblestoned streets, or wander the edge of the water. Stop for a moment to enjoy the view on the Ponts Couverts, or the terrace of the Vauban Dam… This old milling and tanning district is an absolute must-see when visiting Strasbourg. 

Here is our selection of the top 10 best views of la Petite France:

10. Alignment of houses, rue du Bain-aux-Plantes 

9. Two half-houses, quai du Woerthel 

8. Half-timbered houses along the water

7. Quai de la Petite France 

6. The lock with a passing sightseeing boat   

5. La Maison des Tanneurs  

4. Le pont du Faisan: the turning footbridge

3. Ponts Couverts and la maison des Ponts Couverts

2. The view from pont Saint-Martin

1. The panoramic view from the terrace of the Vauban Dam, at sunset

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Seasons

Strasbourg through the seasons: la Maison des Ponts Couverts

La Maison des Ponts Couverts is located on an islet off the Ponts Couverts, in the historic old neighborhood of la Petite France in Strasbourg. It is overlooked by two fortified 14th-century towers, vestiges of the medieval city walls.

In the spring, the view of the house’s arbor covered in blossoming wisteria, with Strasbourg Cathedral in the background, attracts (too?) many Instagrammers and tourists.

La Maison des Ponts Couverts, which has been owned by the City of Strasbourg since 1960, is now a visitation center for families in situations of custody conflict.

With each changing season, Strasbourg reveals a new side of itself, a particular charm and unique atmosphere.

While exploring Strasbourg, we strive to capture the city in every light and shade the seasons offer us throughout the year.

After the muted shades of winter, nature awakens once more. Then the warmth of summer will follow, before giving way to blazing autumnal colors.

(Re)discover la Maison des Ponts Couverts at different times of year:

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Top 5 things to see in Strasbourg

Looking for a dynamic and enjoyable city to spend a weekend with your family, a group of friends, travelling solo or for a romantic getaway? Strasbourg is just the place for you!


Strasbourg is a very comfortably sized city. It’s neither too big, nor too small, and all the main sights are easily accessible by foot or by bike. The Grande Île (the historic city center, surrounded by the river Ill) and the Neustadt quarter are both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Located only a few kilometers from the German border (which you can cross by tram), Strasbourg is an international city – home to a number of European Institutions.


Don’t miss any of the major sights during your first visit – here are Strasbourg’s 5 must-see spots:

• Strasbourg Cathedral
La Petite France
• Neustadt
The European Quarter and the parc de l’Orangerie
• The Banks of the Ill

Check out our full guide!

Strasbourg Cathedral. This single-spired Gothic masterpiece of sandstone lacework was the tallest building in Christendom until the 19th century. Enjoy the view of the ornate façade from rue Mercière, place de la Cathédrale and place du Château, visit the inside to see the rose window, the remarkable statues and the astronomical clock, or get an overview by climbing the stairs up to the observation deck. Find out more here

La Petite France. This picturesque neighborhood in Strasbourg’s old town is located on the banks of the Ill and was known as a bustling milling and tanning district as early as the Middle Ages. Amble along the charming, paved streets, between half-timbered houses. Don’t miss the Ponts Couverts, the Vauban Dam (and the terrace at the top), as well as the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Find out more here

Neustadt. The old German imperial quarter has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since July 2017. On avenue de la Liberté, which runs from Palais Universitaire to place de la République, you will find an array of different architectural styles. The Palais du Rhin, Strasbourg National Theater (TNS) and Strasbourg National University Library (BNU) are iconic Neustadt buildings. Find out more here

The European Quarter and the parc de l’Orangerie. Strasbourg is home to several European institutions, such as the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights. The peculiar architecture of the European Parliament, which symbolizes the construction of Europe in progress, is a stand-out structure in the neighborhood. With its 26 hectares, the Orangerie is Strasbourg’s oldest park. Find out more here

The Banks of the Ill (the river running around Strasbourg) are perfect for a walk along the water. The quai des Bateliers, which is entirely pedestrian, is particularly suited for a nice stroll. If the weather is nice, why not follow the river all around the city center? You can also explore the city by sightseeing-boat. Find out more here

Check out our full weekend guide!

We’ve prepared a complete guide, ideal for a first-time weekend visit. It has everything you need: concise information (just enough, not too much), useful links, our favorite spots and a ready-made itinerary on Google Maps.

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Glimpse of

A glimpse of Strasbourg #2: Vauban Dam

Due to the restrictive measures put in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the terrace at the top of the Vauban Dam was closed for many months. Seeing it finally open again fills us with hope. How wonderful to be back up there, especially when the weather is so lovely! 

The Vauban Dam was built around 1680 as a part of Strasbourg’s defense strategy, following the designs of the Marquis de Vauban, who served as military engineer under Louis XIV. In the event of an attack, the dam made it possible to raise the level of the river Ill, thereby flooding the southern part of the city and rendering it inaccessible to the enemy. 

To this day, the Vauban Dam still spans the Ill across from the four medieval towers of Ponts Couverts in la Petite France. The platform at the top offers a panoramic, 360°-view of the city – with the Ponts Couverts, la Petite France and Strasbourg Cathedral on one side, and the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCS) on the other. 

On this particular day, we stayed up there for ages, taking in every detail of the city stretching out before us. Taking much-needed time to enjoy the moment. 

After these long months of waiting, the panoramic terrace opening to the public again seemed to signal a new start, and life slowly getting back to normal. Not quite like before, but differently. It gave us a sense of relief, of getting our freedom back, like the past months’ frustration was finally going to fade away. A cautious, careful freedom, but with hope that we will soon be able to put all of this behind us. Making plans for the future seemed possible again. 

Going up to the terrace of the Vauban Dam gave us a new outlook on reality, a different perspective from what we’d been used to in the last year. 

Before going back down to the real world, we looked over to the nearby Strasbourg University Hospital, thinking of the healthcare workers and all the other people who have contributed to the fight against the pandemic. Thank you!