7 Reasons You’ll Fall in Love with Strasbourg, France

Why visit Strasbourg? I have dreamed of moving back to France ever since I spent my junior year of college studying abroad in this alluring country. But for years I’ve wondered where in France I would make my nest. Now that I’ve visited Strasbourg, though, I know. If I could, I’d pack my bags to move to this city tomorrow. Here are seven reasons why you, too, will fall in love with this charming French town with a German accent.

Beautiful Strasbourg, France
Beautiful Strasbourg, France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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1. The Beauty of Strasbourg’s Old Town

France is a country that focuses on beauty in its language, food, fashion, and architecture. It’s really something, then, that Strasbourg stands out for its beauty. It’s like dancing with Cinderella at a ball attended by supermodels. From the town’s medieval half-timbered houses to its scenic canals and soaring Gothic cathedral, Strasbourg will charm even the most stoic traveler.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg (Photo credit: Bumble-Dee, Depositphotos.com)

2. The Tallest Medieval Building in Europe

Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Strasbourg is not only beautiful but also it is the tallest medieval building in Europe. The church is home to an impressive astronomical clock, which was built in 1842 and features a depiction of the beginning of life until man’s death. Climb to the top of the cathedral for a gorgeous view of the Alsatian countryside.

A blend of German and French architecture in Strasbourg, France
A blend of German and French architecture in Strasbourg (Photo credit: fotokate, Depositphotos.com)

3. A Blend of French and German Cultures

Strasbourg is situated along the Rhine River in the Alsace region of France, across from Kehl, Germany. Look for an appealing blend of German and French influences in the city’s cuisine, culture, and appearance. It’s not just geography that links these two countries, though. Strasbourg’s tumultuous history also plays a large role.

Charming buildings in Strasbourg
Charming buildings in Strasbourg (Photo credit: Maugli, Depositphotos.com)

In the late 17th century, Strasbourg seceded from the Roman Empire and declared itself part of France. The city was seized 100 years later and became part of the German Empire. In 1918, Strasbourg was reborn as French. Then the city was taken by Hitler in 1940 and, again, was declared part of Germany. Four years later, the city was liberated by the Allied Forces, making Strasbourg French.

With each conquest, Strasbourg’s citizens were forced to speak only French or German (or Alsatian, a German dialect) by those in power. This created a multilingual and multicultural city.

Thankfully, the two countries reside happily side-by-side today. In fact, there’s no need to even show passports when crossing the border.

Street musicians performing in Strasbourg
Street musicians performing in Strasbourg (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Delicious Alsatian Cuisine

Only Île-de-France and its capital city, Paris, boast more starred restaurants than the Alsace region in France. Alsatian cuisine combines traditional German food with French flair.

As the capital of Alsace, Strasbourg is home to brasseries, bakeries, and breweries, as well as fancy restaurants offering prix-fixe fare. In addition to delicious German-style beers, you can sip the region’s renowned Riesling wines with your meals. Below are a few Alsatian dishes to look for when visiting Strasbourg.

Tarte flambée is the Alsatian equivalent of pizza, served on a thin, crispy rectangular crust and topped with crème fraîche, white cheese, thinly sliced onions and lardons (a French-style bacon of sorts)
Tarte flambée, an Alsatian pizza or sorts (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Tarte Flambée

The incredibly crave-worthy Alsatian equivalent of pizza is tarte flambée. It’s made with a thin, crispy rectangular crust and topped with crème fraîche, white cheese, thinly sliced onions and lardons (a French-style bacon of sorts).

White asparagus is a must in Strasbourg in spring
White asparagus is a must in Strasbourg in spring (Photo credit: fredgreenhat, Depositphotos.com)

White Asparagus

If visiting Strasbourg in spring, then you must order a plate of Alsace’s famous white asparagus, traditionally eaten with ham and fresh-made mayonnaise.

An Alsatian dish, pig knuckle
An Alsatian dish, roasted pig knuckle (Photo credit: keko64, Depositphotos.com)

Roasted Pig Knuckle

Called Alsace choucroute garnie in French or schweinshaxe in German, roasted pig knuckle is a favorite dish in Strasbourg. Traditionally this tender piece of meat has a crispy skin and is served with potatoes and horseradish. I didn’t try this dish, but our fellow Viking cruisers raved about this delicacy. Adventurous eaters will definitely want to give it a taste!

Kugelhopf rolls in Strasbourg
Kugelhopf rolls in Strasbourg (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)


Pop into a local bakery to purchase another local specialty, kugelhopf, an Alsatian brioche cooked in the shape of a crown and traditionally filled with raisins and almonds.

Read more about Strasbourg’s restaurant offerings via TripAdvisor.

Storks in Strasbourg, France
Storks in Strasbourg (Photo credit: sorokopud, Depositphotos.com)

5. Storks and More at Parc de l’Orangerie

It isn’t every day that you see a stork’s nest, much less several such nests one after the other, all housing a mama or daddy stork guarding their eggs. That is, unless you are in Strasbourg, of course.

Storks are the symbol of Alsace and are said to bring good luck and fertility. Hence, the fable of storks delivering babies. Storks add to the fairytale feeling of a visit to Strasbourg.

A stork nest in the neighborhood near Parc d'Orangerie
A stork nest in the neighborhood near Parc de l’Orangerie (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Wander through Strasbourg’s affluent neighborhood near Parc de l’Orangerie to view plentiful storks nesting in trees, chimneys, and rooftops. I felt lucky indeed to see so many of these large birds up close.

Daffodils at Parc d'Orangerie
Daffodils at Parc d’Orangerie (Photo credit:

Parc de l’Orangerie boasts grassy promenades, a tiny zoo, and a small lake with row boats for rent. The park is about a 30-minute walk from Strasbourg’s Old Town.

The lake at Parc de l'Orangerie
The lake at Parc de l’Orangerie (Photo credit: morgenstjerne, Depositphotos.com)

6. Shopping in Strasbourg

Strasbourg is big enough to have lots of shops and restaurants to explore while being small enough to maintain a welcoming village vibe. Be sure to pick up some mementos of your time in this unique Alsatian city.

Candies at La Cure Gourmande in Strasbourg
Candies at La Cure Gourmande in Strasbourg (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Strasbourg overflows with shops peddling cheeses, stork-shaped souvenirs of all sorts, Alsatian textiles and cookware, and French fashions.

My favorite store, though, was the famous French sweets boutique, La Cure Gourmande. Their beautiful boxes filled with cookies, chocolates and candies make a sweet souvenir of your time in France, or a lovely hostess gift for friends at home.

A store decorated for Christmas in Strasbourg
A store decorated for Christmas in Strasbourg (Photo credit: albina.sazheniuk.gmail.com, Depositphotos.com)

7. The Capital of Christmas

Throughout France, Strasbourg is known as the Capital of Christmas. In fact, the city’s famed Christkindlesmarik is the most popular Christmas market in the country. It features more than 300 outdoor stalls, stretching across the city center. Dating back to 1570, this is one of the oldest Christmas markets in all of Europe.

Strasbourg, the Capital of Christmas
Strasbourg, the Capital of Christmas (Photo credit: ifeelstock, Depositphotos.com)

You can’t miss the 100-foot Great Christmas tree in Place Kléber. Bright, shimmering ornaments and lights decorate the tree.

Christmas tree at Place Kleber
Christmas tree at Place Kleber (Photo credit: Leonid_Andronov, Depositphotos.com)

Strasbourg’s Christmas market runs from late November through Christmas Eve each year. Even if you can’t visit during the holiday season, you will find darling Christmas decorations and ornaments sold at shops throughout Strasbourg all year long.

Christmas ornaments for sale in Strasbourg, France
Christmas ornaments for sale in Strasbourg (Photo credit: encrier, Depositphotos.com)

Love for Strasbourg

I fell tête over pieds for Strasbourg during a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine. Ever since my visit to this friendly, picturesque city I can’t stop daydreaming about someday living in this French city. Can you blame me?

The carousel and opera house on La Place de la Comedie in Montpellier, France
Central square, La Place de la Comédie in Montpellier, France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Explore More of France

Read my tips for visiting Montpellier, the vibrant city where I lived for a year during college.

Take a peek at the best vacations in France for kids according to family travel experts.

Learn about the best things to do in Paris with kids.

Add theme park play to your France vacation with these helpful Disneyland Paris tips.

Why Visit Strasbourg France

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Have you ever become smitten with a destination and wished you could move there? Where? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Viking River Cruises hosted my Rhine River cruise. All opinions are mine, as always.

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