24 Hours in Strasbourg
Strasbourg is a cute, little town right on the border of France and Germany. Literally as soon as you cross into France, you’re in Strasbourg – that’s how “on the border” it is. Since it only takes four hours to drive to the French border, we decided to make a quick trip while Tyler was on his spring break leave.
We left early, around 6am, so that we’d arrive mid-morning and have the rest of the day to spend exploring. It was about 10:30am when we finally arrived and found an underground parking garage near our hotel. The streets are pretty narrow, so I definitely suggest parking in a garage rather than on the streets.
Like the blog title states, we only spent 24 hours in Strasbourg and I honestly believe this is enough time to see and do everything there is!
Things to Do
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
I’ve seen quite a few cathedrals and churches since we moved to Germany, and this one may just be my favorite. Also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, this cathedral was built during the Middle Ages and while it used to be the tallest structure during its early years, it is now the sixth tallest church in the world.
The inside of the cathedral is just as beautiful as the outside with tall, vaulted ceilings, large pillars, and stained glass windows. All along the outer perimeter of the cathedral are prayer candles that you can light – for just 1 or 2 euro – and place on a holder next to other lit candles. We didn’t light any candles, but it was amazing to see how many people had already been to the cathedral and prayed.
You’re even allowed to climb the cathedral tower up to the observation deck to get an amazing view of the town and surrounding areas. It’s just 5 euro each to climb the tower, and they do offer discounts for students and young children. It’s exactly 332 steps to the top, and trust me you’ll want to bring water with you. The climb only confirmed that I’m terribly out of shape and need to make the gym my new best friend. But once at the top, it was definitely worth it.
La Petite France
This area of Strasbourg is truly magical. It’s like it’s been plucked straight out of a fairytale. Half-timbered houses, calm canals running alongside the roads, and bright flowers and tree blossoms especially during spring. Petite France is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tyler and I stood atop the Barrage Vauban to get some pictures of the Ponts Couverts – the picture above. The Ponts Couverts was previously used as a defensive structure with three bridges and four towers.
It’s easy to get lost in your own little world in this area of Strasbourg, and you could no doubt spend several hours just traipsing around looking at the beautiful views the city has to offer. Every so often we’d even see boats full of people getting a tour of the town.
Palais de Rohan
Unfortunately, I can’t give too much information on this place as we didn’t actually check it out aside from a quick walk past it. But it is such a beautiful building. The picture above I took from the backside of the palace, but the front side is even more amazing! This palace once housed the prince-bishops and cardinals from an ancient, noble family – the House of Rohan. Now, it is home to three museums: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Musée Archéologique.
The entire day we spent walking around Strasbourg, we continued to see pop up flea markets where locals were selling everything from antique bronze and gold decor to beautiful pottery to books and records! Even if you don’t purchase anything, it’s so neat to just explore all the unique items each person is selling.
Where we Ate
Au Pont Saint Martin
We stopped in at Au Pont Saint Martin for lunch which is located in the Petite France area. We were seated next to the window which gave us such a magnificent and romantic view while we ate. While the view was beautiful, Tyler and I thought the food was only okay. I ordered smoked salmon with potato pancakes, and was a little confused when my food was brought out and the salmon was still raw. I assumed my salmon would be cooked through, not raw slices. But Tyler seemed to know that I’d be getting “sushi” as he called it. Tyler ordered a sirloin steak and requested it be medium rare. It arrived more on the medium side, and he said it was pretty dry tasting. The whole experience wasn’t terrible, and if we ever make it back to Strasbourg we’d probably try this place again but with different dishes.
Aux Armes de Strasbourg
For dinner we found a place just around the corner from our hotel called Aux Armes de Strasbourg and we enjoyed it more than our lunch. Tyler ordered a steak again, but this time it was a lot juicier. He did say that they still didn’t quite cook it how he wanted, but maybe the French don’t know what medium rare is. I ordered the Strasbourg sausage plate, thinking it would be similar to the Nürnberg sausages we’ve had – a little spice and flavor to it. But this tasted similar to a hot dog. Which was a little disappointing, but I had my expectations set high. It was a good meal, all and all. And the service was really great. We’ve gotten used to most European restaurants ignoring you until you ask for the check, but our server continued to come around and ask if we were okay.
The morning that we left Strasbourg, we passed a bakery, Paul, on our way to grab breakfast at McDonald’s. We needed the grease after our night of drinking, otherwise we would have gotten breakfast at that bakery. But I did notice macarons in the window and I’d never had any before so I wanted to try them. We swung by on our way out and grabbed a box of a dozen mini macarons. I had no idea what I was missing. Seriously, these little cookies are heaven! The raspberry especially.
We also stopped in at a few places for drinks, obviously. The Dubliners is where we grabbed 11am beers when we first arrived in Strasbourg. Hey, it was five o’clock somewhere! The bartender was really nice and where we sat outside, you could see the top of the cathedral tower. After dinner that night, we went across the street from our hotel and stopped at What The Fox for a few beers. The vibe is really laid back, and definitely for a younger crowd. The beer was good, but do not order the cheese platter. Spare yourself the taste. There was one cheese that tasted okay, but literally the rest tasted like sweaty ass crack. After that we decided to pay and leave and head to the next bar. I can’t remember the name of this one, but we did get a few margaritas there! The final bar was Au Fût et à Mesure and after Tyler did a jägerbomb and I had a mai tai, we were done for the night. But it was a lot of fun!
Where we Stayed
Hotel La Cruche D’or
We booked our room at Hotel La Cruche D’or for $80 a night, for one night. Our hotel was located in the center of the city, just a few minutes walk from the cathedral and Palace of Rohan and close to many restaurants. For the price, we got basically all we needed: beds and a private bathroom. I said beds, plural, because even though I booked a double bed, we were literally given double beds. As in two twins. But we were able to push the beds together so it wasn’t a big deal, and we were only there for one night. They also offer breakfast in the mornings for about 9 euro a day, but we didn’t choose to do that. We’d probably stay here again if we find ourselves back in Strasbourg.
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