Categories
Café Food Tea room

A sophisticated brunch in Strasbourg: Hotel Maison Rouge

Located between la Petite France and the Cathedral and a mere stone’s throw from place Kléber, the Hotel Maison Rouge is one of Strasbourg’s most iconic hotels. It recently reopened, looking like new after three years of renovations.

This 5-star establishment with 131 rooms offers a brunch menu to hotel clients and outside guests alike, every Sunday from 11:00 to 15:00.

After passing the hotel reception, we go up one floor to the Salons Mistinguett (named after the French cabaret entertainer, famous throughout the Belle Époque and Roaring Twenties). The staircase is decorated with stained-glass windows depicting scenes of Alsatian towns and villages.

The Salons Mistinguett have a particularly elegant interior, using a surprising yet harmonious blend of colors (antique pink, emerald green, with accents of yellow gold, black-and-white mosaic tiles, and greenery) and materials (marble surfaces, velvet seating, and clean-cut metal light fixtures). The choice of mixing Alsatian elements with Art Deco-style details works wonderfully well. The muted atmosphere, cushy velvet seats and calming jazzy playlist make a perfect combination for a cozy meal.

The hotel’s Sunday brunch allows you to sample both the breakfast buffet and à la carte items, as well as cold and hot drinks, in an all-you-can eat combo at 48€ per person. 

The buffet offers a large variety of sweet treats (breakfast pastries, brioches, cakes, muffins, cookies, buns, fresh fruit salad, yogurt, desserts…), savory dishes (smoked salmon, cold cuts, shrimp, duck breast, hot dishes, cheese, marinated chicken, roasted vegetables…) and cold drinks (freshly squeezed juices, different kinds of water). 

Several sweet (pancakes, brioche French toast, Bircher muesli) and savory dishes (trout gravlax, avocado toast, any style of eggs) and hot drinks (a selection of coffee, tea, herbal tea, and hot chocolate) are made to order and served at the table. 

.

Despite the hotel’s high standing, the team is neither haughty nor sniveling. Quite the opposite. Friendly hospitality is ingrained in the very backbone of the house, which has a prestigious history going back all the way to 1387. This heritage is mastered to a T, as the whole team does their utmost to pamper the guests and ensure their comfort.

We particularly enjoyed the Art Deco-inspired decor, the very attentive service, the hot chocolate and cappuccino with a rich milk froth, the subtly scented Earl Grey tea, the eggs Benedict served on a dampfnudel with trout gravlax, and the brioche French toast, which was wonderfully fluffy and moist.

Sunday brunch at the Hotel Maison Rouge is a new experience in sophistication and refinement, ideal for a relaxing moment in Strasbourg.

Reservations are recommended.

Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection
📍 4 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Strasbourg


Categories
Event

Strasbourg Christmas Market 2021

After Strasbourg’s famous Christmas market was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Capital of Christmas will once again be full of holiday cheer from November 26th to December 26th, 2021. This year marks the beginning of a new era in the city’s Christmas tradition, whose “Christ child market” (Christkindelsmärik in Alsatian) dates back to 1570.

As Christmas time approaches, Strasbourg dons its gay apparel. In the market squares around town, the enticing scents of mulled wine, baked sweet treats, and savory tarte flambée fill the alleys between the stalls.

This year, 314 stalls (that look like charming little wooden cabins) spread out over 13 squares in the city center (and set up further apart than previous years) proudly offer local handicrafts and culinary specialties. Place Broglie, place de la Cathédrale, the Carré d’Or and place Kléber are all must-see spots during the holiday season.

Place Broglie

Place Broglie is one of the Christmas market’s most historical areas. This year, in addition to the market stalls, a video mapping show called “L’Hôtel des Contes” (the fairytale hotel) will be projected on the façade of City Hall (l’Hôtel de Ville), presenting the legend of the Christkindel (the Christ child), as well as the story of Saint Nicholas.

When he was a little boy, Jérôme would always scarf down a waffle from the La Gaufre Lorraine stall. The waffles were made to order and served right out of the iron, still piping hot. He would bite into the perfectly fluffy and crunchy treat, eating it so quickly he barely had time to warm his hands. The thick layer of powdered sugar covering the little squares on the waffle would always end up on his clothes. Unfortunately, this stand has long since disappeared from place Broglie … but the pleasure of reliving lovely childhood memories remains.

Place de la Cathédrale & place du Château

Nestled at the foot of Strasbourg Cathedral, the place de la Cathédrale market is the most iconic in the city. This narrow square, with its little wooden cabins surrounded by charming houses and side streets, and with the Cathedral and the Maison Kammerzell in the background, feels like a bubble of holiday cheer in the middle of town. If you’re looking for the spirit of Christmas, here and in the Carré d’Or is where you’ll find it.

The Nativity scenes inside the Cathedral are truly remarkable. The Strasbourg crèche from 1907 is 18 meters long and presents 5 scenes, from the Annunciation to the presentation of Jesus at the Temple (open until January 10th, 2022).

Place du Château offers a view of the cathedral from a different angle.

Place Kléber

Place Kléber is where you’ll find the Great Christmas Tree and the “Solidarity Village” (with stalls for 90 different non-profit organizations).

This year, the decorations on the massive Christmas tree (30 meters tall, 12 meters wide, and weighing 7 tons) are inspired by local ancestral traditions: carved wooden shapes, red and white baubles (a nod to the old tradition of using apples to decorate the tree), and cookie-cutter-like silhouettes reminiscent of Alsatian bredele (little Christmas cookies prepared in large quantities throughout December).

A city of lights

As night falls in Strasbourg, the Christmas lights start to twinkle. 33 kilometers of garlands and hundreds of lights illuminate the city and immerse you in the magic of Christmas.

• The starlit promenade follows this year’s theme, “Allumons les étoiles” (let’s light the stars) and shows off the city’s cultural heritage. The itinerary, which is lined with over 600 stars, runs from Square Louise-Weiss (Petite France) and pont Sainte-Madeleine, stopping by place du Marché aux Poissons and quai des Bateliers on the way.

• Thanks to decorations created by the city and local business owners, Strasbourg is transformed into a city of lights.

The main decorated route runs from rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons all the way to the Great Christmas Tree in place Kléber.

In rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, the Porte des Lumières (gate of lights) marks the entrance to the Capital of Christmas.

In rue Mercière, angels with golden trumpets will encourage you to stop by place de la Cathédrale.

The streets of the Carré d’Or (rue des Orfèvres, rue du Sanglier, rue du Chaudron) show themselves in all their splendor. All aglow with warm yellow lights, shimmering garlands, red stars, and golden baubles, this neighborhood brings the enchantment of the season to life in a handful of narrow side streets around the Cathedral.

In rue des Grandes Arcades, alternating glittering baubles and red curtains will lead you to place Kléber and its massive Christmas tree.

In rue des Hallebardes, a row of giant mannele (Alsatian brioche men) light the way to the cathedral and place Gutenberg.

In rue des Tonneliers, you’ll find 22 bright barrel-shaped decorations, in reference to the street’s barrel-making history.

In rue du Maroquin, the decorated restaurant façades are also worth a detour.

Wait, there’s more!

• In Square Louise-Weiss (Petite France), the “Village de l’Avent” (Advent village) workshops invite participants to make Christmas decorations and greeting cards (limited room) from November 27th to December 26th. From December 27th to January 2nd, this space will become the “Village de l’après” (the After village), giving out advice to start the new year off right.

• The marché Off, or Off market (place Grimmeisen in la Petite France) offers a different approach to the Christmas celebrations, by “giving meaning to your Christmas shopping”. This ethical, fair, and eco-conscious market showcases organic products from either fair-trade networks, co-ops, or independent craftspeople. Here, the wooden cabins have been replaced by industrial containers and a market hall, making for 2 different spaces: one for workshops, activities, and conferences, the other equipped with a bar and a stage for shows.

• Various other events will take place throughout the month: the performance “1,2,3,4… Allumons les étoiles” near the Vauban Dam (every Saturday at 18:00), a flea market (in the Great Hall in l’Aubette), around the world in Christmas traditions (cour Saint-Nicolas), DIY workshops (5e lieu), guided tours, conferences, and concerts.

Explore the full program of festivities and find more information on health and safety measures on the “Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas” website

If you want to experience more of the magic of Christmas, several other Alsatian towns also have a Christmas market: Haguenau, Wissembourg, Saverne, Obernai, Barr, Molsheim, Sélestat, Colmar, Riquewihr…

Categories
Food Restaurant

A culinary gem in Strasbourg: Honesty

As soon as we enter the restaurant, the tone is set – elegance and character.

We climb a narrow staircase to reach the understated and intimate upstairs room, where the interior is centered on quality materials and soft, warm lighting.

Honesty’s menu consists of 2 starters, 3 mains, and 2 desserts at lunchtime, 3 starters, 5 mains, and 3 desserts for dinner and on weekends. You can choose between a main alone, and a 2-course or 3-course combination.

The cuisine is modern, creative, and feminine. Everything is prepared with fresh, quality products, creating as little waste as possible. Every dish is born out of a pursuit to achieve harmony and balance in flavors, and the ingredients are cooked to perfection. Little appetizers (mouthfuls, consommés, pre-desserts) are served between each course, thus skillfully punctuating every highlight of the meal, and reappropriating practices from gourmet restaurants.

The team’s attention to detail is obvious on every level, from the meticulous presentation of the dishes and sides to the choice of seating (the chairs are exceptionally comfortable) and tableware.

The menu changes monthly, following what’s in season and the chef’s inspiration.

Honesty is the perfect balance between fine dining and a brasserie feel. The atmosphere of this tiny restaurant is welcoming and relaxed – it’s a place where you can really take the time to enjoy a delicious meal. A wonderful time, whether for a night out with friends or a romantic evening with your partner.

The dynamic duo running the restaurant, Tiffany in the kitchen and Chloé front of house, clearly complement each other well. The cheerful and attentive Chloé makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

This restaurant perfectly illustrates the importance of honesty and sincerity in good food.  A lovely little gem in Strasbourg.

Honesty
📍 2 quai Finkwiller, Strasbourg

Categories
Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: the Tomi Ungerer Museum

The first museum in France dedicated to Tomi Ungerer and the art of illustration from the 20th century until today.

The Tomi Ungerer Museum and International Illustration Center lets you explore the life’s work of Alsatian illustrator and caricaturist Tomi Ungerer, and more generally the art of illustration. Having opened in 2007, it is the city’s most recent museum.

The center manages collections that include 14 000 drawings and 1 500 toys donated to Strasbourg by Tomi Ungerer, as well as over 2 000 works of graphic art by 122 different artists, both French and foreign.

The museum is located in the heart of the historic Neustadt quarter, in Villa Greiner – a late 19th-century mansion, also known as an “hôtel particulier”. 

The exhibit is organized by theme, across three levels:

  • On street-level, you’ll find original illustrations from children’s books, and most importantly from Tomi Ungerer’s most famous works, such as The Three Robbers (Les Trois Brigands) or Moon Man (Jean de la Lune), as well as toys, and color plates from comic books.
  • The upper level is dedicated to satirical drawings and advertising illustrations.
  • The lower level is dedicated to erotic drawings (for an adult public).

Three temporary exhibits are organized every year, in order to show off the diversity of the collection, and to protect the fragile paper artwork from being exposed to the light for too long. This way, Tomi Ungerer’s original drawings are exhibited side by side with works by Bosc, Pascal Lemaître, R.O. Blechmann, Milton Glaser, Michel Cambon, Maurice Henry…

The themed exhibit emphasizes the creativity, diversity, and incredible breadth of the work of Tomi Ungerer and other artists in the collection. It also highlights their great adaptability to different genres, media, and techniques.

Whether it’s refined, comical, critical, provoking or eccentric, the art of illustration expresses itself with a visual vocabulary and vision of society that allows everyone to make their own interpretation. Illustration is the direct and personal link drawn by the artist between themselves and the spectator. Through the magic of a line on a page, the illustrator can change as they please from comic to poet or children’s storyteller, from graphic designer to satirist or caricaturist… An array of different roles played to perfection by Tomi Ungerer until his death in 2019.

Tomi Ungerer Museum – International Illustration Center
📍 2 avenue de la Marseillaise, Strasbourg

Categories
Food Restaurant

A cheese lover’s paradise in Strasbourg: La Cloche à Fromage

La Cloche à Fromage is an absolute must for any cheese lover visiting Strasbourg.

As soon as we enter the restaurant, an enticing cheesy scent – similar to the fragrance filling a fine cheesemonger’s – tickles our nostrils. A sign of a wonderful experience to come …

Our eyes are immediately drawn to the giant transparent cheese dome, which can hold up to 90 varieties of cheese.  When the restaurant first opened in 1988, this massive piece was named the world’s largest cheese dome by the Guinness Book of Records. The original dome was replaced in 2016, by an equally large, but more high-performance model that would also work with current storage standards.

The menu offers an array of themed cheese boards, different kinds of fondue (all-you-can-eat), half-wheel raclette served under a traditional grill, and other cheese-based specialties. A selection of seasonal dishes, with or without cheese, is also on the menu.

The tastefully decorated interior resembles an urban mountain inn, with a few industrial touches here and there, and the atmosphere is welcoming and friendly. The manager plays his role as cheese emcee to perfection, entertaining and delighting the guests at every turn. The team of servers is very attentive, answering questions and explaining the menu in at least three languages (French, German and English).

The cheeses are ripened in the restaurant’s in-house maturing cellar. The cheesemonger prepares each cheese board with great care, right next to the giant dome.  Like a painter with his colors, he arranges the flavors of the cheese boards by using the dome as a taste palette.

We particularly enjoyed the traditional fondue (with gruyère, emmental, comté and white wine, flambeed with kirsch) and the cheesemonger’s explanations. An inexhaustible source of knowledge about the different terroirs, designations, and varieties of cheese, he eloquently and passionately tells us about the impressive array of cheese on the board – which must be eaten in order, from mildest to strongest.

We recommend you make your reservation well in advance.

La Cloche à Fromage
📍 27 rue des Tonneliers, Strasbourg

Categories
unusual Strasbourg

Unusual Strasbourg: the “Devil’s Wind”

Legend has it that the Devil once was travelling the world, riding on the back of the Wind. As he rode through Strasbourg, he saw his own image carved into the façade of the Cathedral. Flattered and curious, he entered the Cathedral to see if there were any more sculptures of him, but he was chased off and ran away so quickly that he left the Wind behind. 

Ever since, the Wind has run in circles around the Cathedral, impatiently waiting for the Devil to come back outside.

That’s why you can almost always feel a breeze blowing around the Cathedral.

Categories
Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: the Alsatian Museum

A deep dive into the past of 18th- and 19th-century Alsace.

Strasbourg’s Alsatian Museum is one of the country’s most important museums for regional folk arts and traditions. Explore the exhibits through a multitude of old Alsatian houses, connected by winding staircases and wooden walkways. Take a deep dive into the folk art and popular traditions of 18th- and 19th-century Alsace.

Immerse yourself in rural and domestic life by viewing the museum’s collection of reconstructed historic Alsatian homes (with a kitchen and shared family room, also known as a stub), artisan workshops, a traditional pharmacy, a wide array of furniture, costumes, and different objects (over 5000 on display).

The museum also offers a series of themed exhibits, such as regional pottery from Betschdorf and Soufflenheim, the ages of life (Christening and bris, the cradle, toys, weddings, etc.), agriculture and handicraft, as well as religious rites in Alsace (several rooms are dedicated to the main historic religions present in the region, displaying imagery, calligraphy, and votive offerings).

The half-timbered houses that contain the museum also contribute to this immersive venture into the past. Visitors alternate between exploring the inside and wandering through the exterior walkways twisting along the façades. The creaking floors and having to pass regularly in and out of the buildings allow you to delve into the historic atmosphere of these homes from a bygone era. During your visit, several windows offer an excellent view of the river Ill, l’Ancienne Douane (the old customs house), and Strasbourg Cathedral. A dedicated space presents a temporary themed exhibit every year.

The Alsatian Museum
📍 23-25 quai Saint-Nicolas, Strasbourg

Categories
Walk around

Walk around in Strasbourg: Botanical Garden

Strasbourg Botanical Garden is a calming haven, set against a lush backdrop in the middle of the city.  It allows you to explore around 6000 species from around the world, which are pampered daily by expert botanists and gardeners. You’ll find everything from rare plants to more common species, aromatic herbs, flowers, and an arboretum containing over 2000 kinds of trees and shrubs (giant redwood, Caucasian wingnut, bald cypress…).

The garden stretches over 3,5 hectares in the Neustadt quarter. When it was first created in 1619, the garden was located in the Krutenau neighborhood (southeast of the historic university campus). It was eventually moved during the reign of German emperor Wilhelm I. The current Botanical Garden, which was inaugurated in 1884, was part of the project to build an imperial German university, after Alsace became part of the empire in 1870.

As soon as you step foot inside, you linger around the tiny waterlily pools where little frogs will jump into the water as you pass. On warmer days, some of them will relax in the sunshine.

Escape to a different world in the tropical greenhouse, where a selection of exotic species (palm trees, banyan trees, monsteras with massive leaves…) thrive in a hot and humid environment. On particularly hot days, you’ll almost feel like the air is cool as you step outside again.

This peaceful garden is the ideal place to recharge your batteries and stop the course of time. Enjoy a book in the shade of an age-old tree. Have a seat on one of the many available benches. Stroll along the path winding around the Bary greenhouse, skirting along the astronomical observatory, before twisting past a pond and through a series of little bamboo groves.

The steeple of St. Maurice’s church in the background is reflected in the smooth surface of the pond.  The sleek mirror of the water is only ever disturbed by a fish coming up to the surface every now and then.

You get the pleasant feeling of being wrapped in a lovely blanket of lush greenery, while taking in the calm and quiet atmosphere of this place, reminiscent of certain Japanese gardens.

  • Strasbourg Botanical Garden is a university garden that is generally open to the public in the afternoons, but please do check the opening hours beforehand. Admission is free.
  • For your workouts or a picnic, please choose another park in the area (Orangerie, Contades or the University gardens just across the alley).
  • The entrance to the Botanical Garden is located in allée Anton de Bary, a little pedestrian side street running between rue Goethe and rue de l’Université.

🔗 View opening hours (link in French)

Categories
Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

From 1870 to present day.

The Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (frequently referred to as MAMCS) is one of the only museums in France to curate their collection exhibit in a manner that is representative of western European art from 1870 to present day.

The 13 000 m2modern museum building is nestled between the river Ill and the historic district of la Petite France. As its architect Adrien Fainsilber pointed out: “Interaction with the water, light and the historic old town greatly influenced the layout for the museum itself, as well as the surrounding area.” One of the building’s distinctive features is its massive skylighted central nave, which was designed as an “inside street”. It provides the museum with an architectural spine and allows visitors with a clear and open itinerary.

When the MAMCS first opened in 1998, the ground floor was dedicated to modern art and temporary exhibits, while the four large rooms upstairs were dedicated to contemporary art.

In 2018, in honor of the museum’s 20-year anniversary, the layout of the permanent exhibits was entirely reimagined with a curation entitled “Joyeuses frictions” (Joyful frictions). This new approach was constructed around the most noteworthy artists of the museum’s collection: Doré, Monet, Signac, Pissarro, Sisley, Rodin, Arp, Kandinsky, Kupka, Picasso, Séchas, Brauner…

Modern and contemporary art are now exhibited side by side on both floors. The full spectrum of different techniques (painting, sculpture, sketches, etchings, photography, installations, video) are shown side by side, organized by theme in around ten different sections. Designated spaces, like the Studio, have been created within the exhibits, encouraging visitors to interact with the artwork. There are three to four temporary exhibits every year. Make sure you check out the 1000 m2 mural on the façade around the entrance: “From the Air We Share” by art collective FAILE.

In addition to the exhibition spaces, the MAMCS also has an auditorium, a bookshop, a library, and a café. Don’t miss the terrace of the Art Café, which offers a unique panoramic view of the Vauban Dam, la Petite France, and Strasbourg Cathedral.

MAMCS
📍 1 place Hans Jean Arp, Strasbourg

Categories
unusual Strasbourg

Unusual Strasbourg: the Egyptian House

The Egyptian House, located in the Neustadt quarter (10 rue du Général Rapp), was designed by young, self-taught architect Franz Scheyder in the early 20th century. The building’s style is a blend of Art Nouveau and an idealized interpretation of ancient Egyptian esthetics. This unusual apartment building is easily recognizable by its large central fresco, and by its wrought-iron balconies wth stylized bat motifs.

Categories
Top

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.

Categories
Café Food Restaurant

Eating healthy in Strasbourg: le Café potager

Le Café potager is a “fast good” café in the center of Strasbourg.

Savory dishes, both hot and cold (salads, bowls, quiches) are displayed all around the the counter, and there are several vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free options. When you pick a lunch or brunch menu, you can choose to have an appetizer or dessert (pie, cheesecake, fruit salad, cookies, panna cotta…) with your main as well.

Their coffee, from various origins, is all roasted in Strasbourg and offered in a wide selection of forms (americano, cold brew, espresso, moccacino, latte macchiato…), while their tea, hot or iced, comes from Thé des Muses just around the corner. You could also go for a freshly squeeed juice, soda, or lemonade.

All the dishes are tasty, fresh and house-made, and the baristas are cheerful and friendly.

You can enjoy your meal inside, on the terrace on rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the summertime, or take it to go.

We love the verdant interior with details of light wood, metal and light bulbs.

For digital nomads: the café offers free wifi gratuit and power outlets to charge your phone or laptop.

Le Café potager
📍 5 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Strasbourg

Categories
Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: Museum of Fine Arts

Five centuries of painting in Europe.

The Museum of Fine Arts is located on the upper level of the Palais Rohan, which also houses the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Archaeology. Designed like a grand Parisian manor – or “hôtel particulier” – the Palais Rohan was built for Cardinal de Rohan-Roubise, Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg, between 1732 and 1742. After the French Revolution, the Palace served as an imperial and subsequently royal residence, before becoming a museum after 1870.

The Museum of Fine Arts presents an overview of European painting spanning from the Middle Ages to 1870. The museum’s twenty rooms thereby allow you to wander through five centuries of European art, such as the Italo-Byzantine style, the Italian Renaissance, Nordic landscapes, still lifes and vanitases, Dutch 17th-century landscapes, and 19th-century portraits. The collection features pieces by notable artists like Giotto, Titian, El Greco, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens, Goya, van Dyck, Delacroix, Chassériau, Corot and even Courbet.

The Palace’s refined architecture serves as a magnificent backdrop for the museum’s collection. The brightly colored walls and neat lighting showcase the artworks, highlighting their hues and bringing out their contrasts. The golden parquet floor, which creaks charmingly with every step, immerses visitors further in a time long since passed. Beyond the magnificent paintings, the windows looking out over the palace courtyard and Strasbourg Cathedral are eye-catching as well.

Like other visitors must have been before uswe were particularly struck by the allure of La Belle Strasbourgeoise (The Beautiful Strasbourg Woman) by Nicolas de Largillière. This portrait from 1703 is one of the museum’s main attractions and is easily recognizable thanks to the impressive bicorn hat worn by the subject. The painting reveals itself gradually at the end of a long, ornate corridor lined with cobalt blue walls, gilded details, and Corinthian columns. Our experience with this 18th-century piece was a perfect example of Roger de Pile’s quote from 1708: “A true painting must draw in its viewer…and the surprised viewer must respond, as if entering into a conversation.”

The Museum of Fine Arts
📍 2 place du Château, Strasbourg

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
Food Restaurant

An Italian restaurant in Strasbourg: La Vetta

La Vetta is a family-run Italian ristorante with an intimate atmosphere, located in a small side street near Strasbourg Cathedral.

Filomena greets her customers like old friends, and takes care of every table with enthusiasm and generosity. Her husband Antonio – bandana tied around his head – works hard in the kitchen with his sous-chef. Italian pop streams out of the speakers, immediately immersing you in the feeling of Neapolitan dolce vita.


The minimal menu is completed by a board of seasonal specials (like truffles, mozzarella di bufala, linguine alle vongole…). The selection is wide enough to satisfy every taste and preference.

For instance, you could start with a glass of prosecco or spritz accompanied with a Parma ham bruschetta, before continuing with a pizza La Vetta (with Parma ham and arugula) or a meat dish (like saltimbocca alla Romana), fish (grilled squid), pasta, risotto, or a vegetarian dish, and end on a sweet note with a tiramisú.

The dishes are house-made, tasty, well-balanced, and cooked to perfection. In the course of a meal, you’re transported to the heart of Italy. Don’t forget to order the tiramisú, which is among our top 3 best tiramisús in town.


La Vetta is one of our favorite places in Strasbourg. One of the reasons for that is the fact that we had our very first date here, when an unexpected serenade from a mandolin player made us feel like we were in Lady and the Tramp. O sole mio… !

Reservations recommended.
(These photos were taken at the beginning of dinner service. When we left, the restaurant was full.)

Ristorante La Vetta 
📍 16B rue du Sanglier, Strasbourg

Categories
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!

Categories
Event

L’Industrie Magnifique 2021 takes “place” in Strasbourg

A public art fair in Strasbourg squares!

From the 3rd to the 13th of June, the second-ever Industrie Magnifique (“magnificent industry”) celebrates art meeting industry in public spaces in Strasbourg.

70 artists from all over the world, sponsored by 35 benefactor companies, will present 30 original and monumental pieces they’ve created especially for the occasion. For 10 days, 20 public squares in Strasbourg are transformed into open-air art galleries.

This event is this the result of a project that is completely unique, with 3 players – artists, companies and local authorities – working together towards a common goal. For every collaboration, an artist will first meet with a company to create an original, monumental piece of art. Next, the artist-company duo will work with local authorities to exhibit the piece in a public square. Finally, the resulting pieces are presented at a major public event in the center of town: l’Industrie Magnifique.

Our favorite pieces:

• The spectacular installation “MUSEUM OF THE MOON” (Luke Jerram): a hyper-realistic moon, measuring 7 meters across, floating at the center of the nave in Strasbourg Cathedral. (The piece inside the Cathedral is a part of the “Cosmos District” by art collective L’Ososphère, located in place du Château.)

• The monumental sculpture “TERRE DE CIEL” (land/earth of sky) by Patrick Bartardoz: this three-dimensional Tower of Babel, over 7 meters tall, made from bricks, roof tiles, terracotta, metal and glass tiles, can be found in place Broglie.

• The poetic “PORTÉE AUX NUES” (praised to the skies) by Bénédicte Bach: a dreamy sky full of clouds, made from different textures of white leather, suspended above rue des Hallebardes, with the Cathedral as a backdrop.

• The unique and quirky “LIBÈRE TON ÉNERGIE !” (free your energy) by David David, place des Tripiers: this piece uses the artist’s signature character “La Tête dans L’art” (head in the arts), who is isolated from the hustle and bustle of society thanks to the paint bucket he wears on his head.

L’Industrie Magnifique

From the 3rd to the 13th of June 2021

30 pieces made by 70 artists, 20 squares in the center of Strasbourg

Access to the squares where the exhibition takes places is free.

Categories
Glimpse of

A glimpse of Strasbourg #1: quai des Bateliers

The crooked houses between n°22 and n°26 seem to lean against each other, as though they had their own definition of balance.

Between n°23 and n°24, you can see a tiny little garden hidden away in a corner, halfway up the wall. If you don’t take the time to contemplate the organized chaos of the facades, you might miss it. The greenery almost appears to be dancing, winding between lanterns and pots hung higgledy-piggledy around a window. Every now and then, a bird will settle for a few moments on the fine shrubbery. 

Let your eyes wander and take in the details of the sculpted woodwork on the townhouse.

Every now and then, you can hear music streaming out of a window on the second floor next door – a percussionist playing his instruments by the open window. Curious passers-by stop on the street to listen as he plays: the chimes, the xylophone, the cymbals… 

The façades are undergoing renovations soon. Let’s hope this place will retain it’s magic once the work is done.

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
Seasons

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: