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Travel Guide Europe France Alsace Strasbourg

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Introduction

Strasbourg

Strasbourg

© All Rights Reserved JOSE_MARIA

Strasbourg might be the most famous for being the co-seat of the European Union, together with Brussels in Belgium. This border town, with around 275,000 inhabitants, lies on the river Ill. It is the capital of the Alsace region, and of the department of Bas-Rhin. The entire old centre of the city, was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998.

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Sights and Activities

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg (in English: Cathedral of our lady) is an old Gothic church, although some parts can be descriped as Romanesque. Construction began already in 1015, and its tower has a height of 142 metres. The cathedral also houses an 18-metre high astronomical clock, one of the largest in the world.

The City Centre

The City centre of Strasbourg that stretches along the Ill river, was placed on the Unesco World Heritage list, and is one of the highlights of a visit to Strasbourg. It has a medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings, particularly in the Petite-France district alongside the Ill and in the streets and squares surrounding the cathedral.

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Events and Festivals

  • The Strasbourg International Film Festival is a festival with attention for new, upcoming independent filmmakers from around the world.
  • The annual Christmas Market takes places on several square close to the Cathedral, during the last month of the year. Most markets have their own theme.

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Weather

The climate of Strasbourg is pretty moderate. In winter temperatures are not really cold. On average it is 3 °C during the day and 0 °C during the nights. In summer the temperature can rise to 24 °C during the day in July and August, with night temperature of around 13 °C. Rain can fall in the entire year. Most of the rain falls in the summertime

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max4.2 °C6.2 °C11.1 °C14.9 °C19.6 °C22.4 °C25.1 °C25 °C20.7 °C14.6 °C8.3 °C5.3 °C
Avg Min-1 °C-0.7 °C2.2 °C4.6 °C9 °C12.1 °C13.9 °C13.6 °C10.3 °C6.6 °C2.3 °C0.3 °C
Rainfall30 mm35 mm36.1 mm42.5 mm78.2 mm76.7 mm66.2 mm57.9 mm62.1 mm52.5 mm49.8 mm44.5 mm
Rain Days8.17.98.88.911.611.49.99.48.69.399.2

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Getting There

By Plane

Strasbourg International Airport (IATA: SXB) is located south-west of the city at Entzheim, with domestic as well as international flights. Air France is the principal operator. There are several flights a day to and from Paris. A train runs to the town center (€4, including a tram connection, valid for 90 min. If you only need to get to the central station, buy your ticket not from the machines in the arrivals hall but on the train platform directly where the ticket will cost €2.30). The travel time is 9 minutes and the frequency is 15 minutes.

Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport (IATA: EAP): there is a short bus connection to the railway station of Saint-Louis, which is one-hour twenty minutes by train, from the main Strasbourg train station. Low-cost companies such as EasyJet offer flights from and to several other European countries.

Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport (IATA: FKB) is located about 60 km away in Germany. Ryanair operates from Karlsruhe following a court ruling that declared its subsidy arrangements at Strasbourg Airport a contravention of European legislation. The best way to get to Strasbourg is by bus from the airport to Baden-Baden Hauptbahnhof (Main Station); from here trains run to Strasbourg, normally with one change. From station to station the journey is about 45m-1hr. See the timetable for direct bus from the airport running to Strasbourg, this is tied into meet Ryanair flights from London. Flibco operates buses to from the airport and on to Strasbourg.

By Train

French Railways, SNCF offers a wide range of links. Destinations include Metz (1¼ to 1¾ hours, four to eight daily), Nancy (1¼ hours, 10 to 17 daily) and Paris’ Gare de l’Est (four to 4¾ hours, nine to 13 daily). Internationally, there are trains to Basel (1¼ hours, 11 to 16 direct daily) and Frankfurt (2½ hours, eight or nine nondirect daily). Regional destinations are Colmar (35 to 60 minutes, 35 daily weekdays, 22 daily weekends), Dambach-la-Ville (one hour, 12 daily on weekdays, five to six daily weekends), Obernai (26 to 45 minutes, 20 daily weekdays, five to seven daily weekends) and Sélestat (20 minutes, 24 to 42 daily).

By Car

Strasbourg lies on the A35 motorway, that goes north to south, though the Alsace region. The N4 connects to the German border, and the German town of Kehl on the other side of the Rhine. On the German side of the border runs the A-5 autobahn. To reach Strasbourg you have to leave the A-5 at the exit Appenweier, and connect to the E-52 (also known as the Straßburger Straße, that connects to the N4 on the French side of the Rhine.

By Bus

Strasbourg city bus number 21 links place Gutenberg with the Stadthalle in Kehl, the German town just across the Rhine.
Eurolines has quite a few services throughout France and other Europe.

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Getting Around

By Car

Driving into Strasbourg's old city is relatively easy although there are a few streets off limits to cars. There are many large garages surrounding the old city if your hotel does not have its own parking facility. Some carparks are more expensive than other, especially for longer stays. The one at Petite France Ste Marguerite is the cheapest at €7.20/24 hour and €5.20 for each consecutive day.

Tickets P+R (parking for the day plus return fare on the tram for up to 7 passengers of the car): €3.20, P+R Rotonde: €3.70.

By Public Transport

Buses and trams in Strasbourg are operated by the Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS). A few dozen numbered bus lines and six tram lines (named A to F) serve the city. A single ticketing system covers both bus and tram. Tickets are sold in 'tabacs' (newsagents), tourist offices, CTS boutiques or from vending machines at tram stops. Tickets should be validated before use, either in the machines on tram station platforms or in the machine by the driver when you board the bus.

Summary of fares (as of Apr 2017):

  • Aller Simple (one way) €1.70 (€2 on board)
  • Aller Retour (round trip) €3.30
  • 10 x Aller Simple €14.00
  • 24H Individuel (24hr ticket for one person) €4.30
  • Trio (one day ticket for up to three people) €6.80

Prices are slightly lower (e.g. €1.60 one-way) if loaded onto a Badgéo or U'GO card.

If using the buses and/or trams a lot, Europass tickets are available from all automatic ticket machines for either 24 hours or seven days. The Europass Mini is valid on all local tram, bus and train services, including those that cross the border to Kehl. The full Europass ticket also covers the local transport of the Ortenau Tarifverbund in Germany including Offenburg.

By Foot

Strasbourg is most easily explored on foot, and the historic city centre can easily be explored in a day or two.

By Bike

Strasbourg is ideal for cycling - the city center is flat and there are plenty of bike lanes and bike paths. You can rent bikes at:

  • The automatic or manned bike sharing stations vélhop.
  • Rue du Maire Kuss, in front of the train station
  • Rue des Bouchers, on the south bank of the Ill river, near the rue d'Austerlitz and the Porte de l'Hôpital tramway station.

Bikes are allowed on trams except during peak hours.

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Eat

Alsatian specialties are numerous and can be eaten in many traditional restaurants, in the city or in the neighborhood. Particularly you shouldn't visit Alsace without having the sauerkraut (choucroute in French). Choucroute seems to have a standard price throughout Alsace of 14 Euros. Don't be too dismayed by this seemingly high price as what is brought to you is heaping plate of Sauerkraut (big enough for 2 people) as well as sausages and other meats. This is usually translated as "garnished sauerkraut" on English menus, when in doubt ask your server. Other specialties include the Alsatian pork-butcher's meat, Flammeküche or flams (tartes flambées in French) which is a sort of wafer thin pizza made with onion-cream sauce, Baeckeoffe, beef and pork stew cooked, with potatoes and carrots, usually served for two or more persons and Fleischnackas, mixed beef meat presented like spirals and served with salads.

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Drink

Alsace is the first beer-producing region of France and Strasbourg has many breweries. Best known are Kronenbourg and Fischer, whose factories can be visited for free, with free drinks at the end of the tour.

Alsatian white wine is usually drunk with Alsatian food, but also with fish. The main varieties are Gewürtztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris. They have a particularly floral flavour and are well worth investigating.

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Sleep

There are many hotels around the station, especially in the place de la Gare and in the rue du Maire Kuss, but this area does not offer consistent quality for accommodations. Most international hotel chains are represented with the usual 2- or 3-star hotels, many of which host the large tour groups who come on weekend breaks. If your budget allows, try staying on the Grande Île (city centre). Most of Strasbourg's hotels are fully booked during the Christmas Market period (December) and when the EU parliament is in session for a few days every month, usually for the period around the tenth. Book ahead if in doubt, as last minute accommodation can be difficult to find during these periods.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Cap Europe6, rue de BitcheHotel79
Ciarus7 Rue FinkmattHostel86
Hotel Restaurant Pax24-26 Rue du Faubourg NationalHotel85
Hotel Le Bristol4 Place de la GareHotel84
Arc En Ciel Hotel18 rue de la TourHotel-
Hotel Couvent Du Franciscain18, Rue Du Faubourg De PierreHotel81
Hotel Esplanade1, boulevard LebloisHotel84
Hotel des Princes33 rue GeilerHotel-
Mister Bed Strasbourg12 Rue Ferdinand Braun La VigieHotel82
Hotel Victoria7-9 Rue du Maire KussHotel82
Hotel Le Petit Trianon8 Petite Rue de la CourseHotel-
CERISE Strasbourg5 rue JobHotel83
Hotel Le Grillon2 Rue ThiergartenHOTEL84

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 48.5829331
  • Longitude: 7.7437488

Accommodation in Strasbourg

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This is version 24. Last edited at 7:24 on May 15, 17 by Utrecht. 21 articles link to this page.

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