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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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Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre Dame

One of the only museums in Europe entirely dedicated to medieval and Renaissance art.

The Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame can be found on place du Château, practically at the foot of Strasbourg Cathedral. Not only is the museum devoted to the construction of the famous cathedral, it also covers seven centuries of art in Strasbourg upper Rhine region (Alsace, Baden, northwestern Switzerland, and the Palatinate), from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The collections showcase the prestigious history of Strasbourg, which from the 13th to the 16th century was one of the main artistic hubs of the Holy Roman Empire.

The museum is located in a series of Gothic and Renaissance-style gabled houses, dating back to the same period as the pieces on show. The Maison de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame is also home to the head office of the Fondation de l’Œuvre Notre Dame (the Notre Dame Workshop Foundation). This institution was created in the early 13th century and is responsible for the upkeep, conservation, and restoration of Strasbourg Cathedral. The Foundation has been listed on UNESCO’s register for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage since December 2020.

The chronological layout shows a great diversity, alternating between medieval statues from the cathedral, sculptures (by Nicolas de Leyde), paintings (by Konrad Witz, Hans Baldung Grien, and Sébastien Stoskopff), stained-glass windows, altarpieces, tapestries, architectural drawings, gold- and silversmithery, and furniture, from the Romanesque period until 1681.

The tempo of the exhibit is perfectly balanced between the different rooms, the courtyard, and the Gothic garden (containing a vast array of aromatic herbs and medicinal plants, in keeping with the medieval garden tradition). The structure and architecture of the houses that make up the museum (spiral staircases, vaults, and archways) create the ideal backdrop for the collections. The façade of the cathedral, which you can spot several times as you wander around the museum, constitutes an anchor point for the visit, materializing the many centuries of history this remarkable work of art has seen.

Musée de l’Œuvre Notre Dame
📍 3 place du Château, Strasbourg

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unusual Strasbourg

Unusual Strasbourg: rue du Jeu-des-Enfants

For many years, rue du Jeu-des-Enfants was like a forgotten side street in the center of Strasbourg, despite its movie theater, shops, and restaurants. Most of the time, people would just pass through while driving from place Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux to place de l’Homme de fer. Thanks to a local initiative, it has been transformed into a vibrant, artsy, and unique street.

In June 2017, rue du Jeu-des-Enfants was given a new look. With the help of a non-profit organization called Akpé (an “alternative architecture lab”), residents and shopkeepers teamed up to re-appropriate this public space. The street was turned into a pedestrian area, and spruced up with plants and splashes of color, like murals, fun street furnishings, suspended art, and multi-colored cobblestones painted on the pavement...

What’s more, the locals have made sure to maintain the newfound dynamic energy of their street. In October 2021, they re-painted the yellow, blue, and orange cobblestone pattern on the ground to make the colors on the pavement nice and bright again, and they planted even more greenery.

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Food Restaurant

An Alsatian restaurant in Strasbourg: Au Pont Corbeau 

Behind crown glass windows in the center of Strasbourg lies a family-owned winstub (a traditional Alsatian restaurant), where authenticity, conviviality and local traditions intermingle.  

The atmosphere is welcoming and typical of the region: wooden paneling and chairs with a heart carved in the backrest, Alsatian illustrations on the walls (particularly by Tomi Ungerer and Hansi), grey and blue Betschdorf stoneware pitchers… 

The rustic ambiance transports us to a different time. Behind the bottle glass windows, we feel like we’re in a cocoon, safe from the outside world. This winstub is like an extension of the Alsatian Museum next door, which is dedicated to the region’s folk arts and traditions.  

The menu proudly highlights Alsatian specialties: choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with a selection of meats, sausage, and potatoes), tête de veau (calf’s head), jambonneau (ham hock), grumbeereckiechle (potato pancakes), munster cheese … The tasty dishes and generous portions provide all the comfort of Alsatian cuisine.  

Le Pont Corbeau is also, and more importantly, a family affair. For over 40 years, Christophe Andt, now joined by his daughter Coralie, has carried on and championed the conviviality and culinary identity of Alsace. This family-oriented approach gives this winstub a strong identity and its very own character. 

What’s more, father and daughter are the loving caretakers of an incredible wine cellar, which they have gradually added to through years of regular meetings with wine makers.

Le Pont Corbeau is more than local wines and specialties. It’s a shared passion for Alsace, its cuisine, and its produce.  

Au Pont Corbeau
📍21 quai Saint Nicolas, Strasbourg

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Food Restaurant

A cozy restaurant in Strasbourg: L’Éveil des Sens

L’Éveil des Sens (The Awakening of the Senses): the name itself is enough to pique one’s interest.

This semi-gourmet restaurant is located in a small Alsatian house in the heart of Strasbourg’s old town, la Petite France. The chef offers a sophisticated cuisine that skillfully combines originality and tradition. Each delicately presented dish is wonderfully fragrant and a feast for the eyes. The flavor combinations are rich and finely balanced.

The menu, which consists of 4 starters, 4 mains, and 4 desserts, changes roughly every 2 months and according to the season. Even with this limited selection, everyone will be able to find something to their taste.

The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is charming and convivial, and the wooden decor with exposed beams is warm and welcoming.

L’Éveil des Sens is the perfect spot for a date night or an evening out with friends.

We particularly enjoyed the muted ambiance in the upstairs room (at dinnertime), the mouthwatering presentation, the dishes being both modern and comforting, and the good value for money. As for the food, the highlights of the evening included the perfectly poached egg with smoked cream and a generous serving of morels, the exotic flavors of the fillet of pollock with white beans, lime and coconut milk, and the zingy freshness of the rice pudding cylinder with yuzu and speculoos.

L’Éveil des Sens
📍Rue des dentelles, Strasbourg

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Hotel

Where to stay in Strasbourg: Hotel LÉONOR

A few years ago, we noticed a very small tree had grown on the façade of the former police station, located at number 11, rue de la Nuée Bleue in Strasbourg. The building, which stood unoccupied from 2010 to 2017, has since been completely transformed after four years of renovations. The little tree has disappeared, and the old police station has been turned into a beautiful 4-star hotel.

Hotel LÉONOR, which opened at the end of 2021, was conceived as a lively hub, open to the people of Strasbourg. The contrast between the majestic 19th-century façade and the contemporary lobby makes for a very promising first impression.

The wings of the building are centered around a large interior courtyard. On the ground floor, you will find the hotel’s lounge bar, as well as a restaurant with its very own culinary signature.

The LÉONOR’s “Anytime” menu should satisfy any craving, no matter the time of day. Our favorite part was the tea-time pastries, like the Chocolat pralinéglace noisette, which consists of a hazelnut dome adorned with chocolate petals, along with hazelnut ice cream. We enjoyed this with a cup of Marco Polo, a fruity black tea from Mariage Frères. If felt like the height of luxury when Jérôme said, “Stephanie, you have a little gold leaf on your lip…”. 

In the evening, we enjoyed the lounge atmosphere with a couple of spicy cocktails, like Ninette à la Cour (with black tea-infused vodka, ginger liqueur, pear, spiced syrup, and lemon), and Les Amants Magnifiques (with mezcal, mango extract, chili tincture, agave syrup, and lime).

The hotel’s interior was designed by world-famous interior architect Jean-Philippe Nuel, who flawlessly combines tradition and modernity. His design studio has taken a less formal approach to decorating this historical space, in order to create a more laid-back setting. This esthetic dialogue with the building’s past is part of the LÉONOR’s identity.

For overnight guests, there are a total of 116 rooms over 3 floors, ranging from classic rooms to more luxurious suites.

As soon as we had made our reservation, the questionnaire sent to us by e-mail set the tone for our stay. Every effort was made to ensure that our check-in went smoothly, and to anticipate our needs and wishes for our stay in Strasbourg.

The interior of the rooms feels modern, featuring a combination of warm hues like ochre, natural and untreated materials, as well as both vintage and custom-made furniture. These rooms were made with tranquility, refinement, comfort, and relaxation in mind.

In each room, there is a rec ochre accent wall with a motif that looks as if it has faded with time, reminding us that this place is full of history

The former residence of Marshal Léonor Marie du Maine de Bourg (Governor of Alsace, then Marshal of France), whom the LÉONOR owes its name to, has changed significantly since his time. This formerly private mansion, which has been tastefully transformed into a chic contemporary hotel, is a worthy heir to its rich history, and truly lives up to its promise to be the new place to live in Strasbourg! The little tree, which had piqued our curiosity back then, was in fact a sign that something exceptional was going to happen here, although we didn’t know it at the time.

We’ll probably be back soon to try the out the restaurant menu – created by Michelin-star chefs Nicolas Stamm-Corby and Serge Schaal, and enjoy the outside seating in the courtyard.

We particularly enjoyed

  • The meticulously thought-out interior decoration that is respectful of the building’s past 
  • The welcoming, attentive, and friendly staff 
  • The modern, relaxing, and muted ambiance

Hôtel LÉONOR
📍 11 rue de la Nuée Bleue, Strasbourg

We stayed at the hotel LÉONOR in the winter of 2022. This article reflects our personal opinions and has not been written in exchange for any form of compensation

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Glimpse of

A glimpse of Strasbourg #3: Cathedral

Strasbourg’s Notre-Dame Cathedral is the main symbol of the city. It always pulls us in with its own kind of magnetism. Stopping by the Cathedral square and place du Château is always a part of the ritual for our walks around town, as if we had a subconscious need to visit a dear old friend.

We often like to sit down for a while in place du Château and gaze at this masterpiece of Gothic art. Almost every time, we spot a statue, low relief, or architectural detail we hadn’t noticed before. When the weather is nice, the sunlight and shadows dancing on the pink sandstone from the Vosges mountains gives the façade a distinctive hue.

Imagining thousands of craftsmen and architects working for 250 years to build this monument of over 100 000 tons of stone, without the techniques and technologies we have access to today, is beyond impressive. This immense work of art is the expression of skills passed down for centuries. The Cathedral has followed the city through countless generations, witnessing numerous wars and conflicts. It’s also inspired tales and legends, like the story of the Devil’s Wind.

Gazing at the Cathedral sometimes brings back childhood memories for Jérôme – when he would sit in class on the top floor of his school, and daydream while he admired the amazing view of the Cathedral. He could never get enough of looking at it, noticing how the stone façade would change colors with the seasons and the weather.

The Cathedral’s location in the very heart of Strasbourg, and its single, intricate stone spire reaching 142 meters, make it one of the city’s tallest, most majestic structures, as well as a landmark visible from several different spots. Its uniqueness gives it an even greater power of attraction for visitors and locals alike. It is truly Strasbourg’s most iconic building: Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and Strasbourg has its Cathedral. It is no coincidence that Notre-Dame de Strasbourg has been the most visited landmark in Alsace ever since it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, along with the rest of the Grande Île.

And if this Grand Lady holds a special place in our hearts, it is also because we got married there, on a beautiful day in September 2018…

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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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Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: the Historical Museum

An educational journey through the history of Strasbourg.

Located in the middle of Strasbourg’s old town, only a stone’s throw from the Cathedral and the Palais Rohan, the Historical Museum tells visitors the history of Strasbourg – from the Middle Ages to the end of WWII and the founding of the European institutions. 

The building that houses the museum’s collections today was built for the city’s butchers in 1588. Between 1987 and 2007 the museum was closed to the public, before undergoing full renovations and refurbishments, in keeping with a more modern museography. 

A dynamic and interactive exhibit allows visitors to gain a better understanding of Strasbourg’s past, as a city that lies at the border of several cultures and the junction of many travelling routes. It illustrates the rich history of Strasbourg (trade, inventions, local crafts, conflicts, democracy…) as well as its evolution (esthetic, architectural, linguistic, and cultural).

Visitors are taken from room to room in chronological order, but the collections are also organized by theme. This way, you can learn about trade and guilds, 15th and 16th-century weapons and armors, Strasbourg’s relations with neighboring towns, the evolution of the city’s nationality (back and forth between French and German), artisan crafts and local bourgeoisie, rules and restrictions for dressing according to one’s social class, the birth of the printing press (Gutenberg), Humanism (Erasmus) and the Reformation, the annexation of Strasbourg by Louis XIV, the “Marseillaise” written by Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg, Kléber and the French Revolutionary Wars, the golden age of the University of Strasbourg (chemistry, medicine, zoology), WWI and WWII… All the traditions and events that have helped shape the city’s unique identity through the ages.

Upstairs, do as we did and take some time to observe the detail of the massive scale model of the city as it was in 1727 – which shows all the changes made to the fortifications after Vauban – and try to locate the museum building (The city is represented at 1:600, and the Cathedral at 1:500)

Particular care has been taken with the museography and interactive presentations, to “look at the city with fresh eyes”. Each historical period is color coded (green for Antiquity, red for the Middle Ages, blue for modern times…). The explanations are educational and in three languages (French, English, and German), complemented by touch-screen tablets. The presentation of the museum collection has been conceived almost as a stage setting. The museography offers a sensory journey through the ages, where visitors are encouraged to touch, draw, interact with the exhibit, to try on hats or costume accessories (like the bicorn hat of “la Belle Strasbourgeoise”, whose portrait by Nicolas de Largillière hangs in Strasbourg’s Museum of Fine Arts). 

The combination of the items on display, the paintings, explanations, and most importantly the museum’s interactive and digital approach (interactive screens, QR codes…) lets each visitor customize their own experience.

The Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg
📍 2 rue du Vieux Marché aux Poissons, Strasbourg

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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. 

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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


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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…

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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

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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

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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.