12 April 2014

Strasbourg Travel Guide


Getting here:
The direct train from Paris Gare d’Est is a TGV non-stop, taking around 2h20 and costing £35 second class, £60 first class, each way. The tram stop at the station is 3 levels down – check which platform takes you into town so you don’t go the wrong way!

Travel deal:
If there’s 2 of you, get a Trio ticket from the ticket machine. This lasts 24 hours from first validation, for 3 people, on all the buses and trams. It costs €6. That’s right, only €6 for 3 people!
For one person, there is a €4.10 ticket called Alsa+ which does the same thing.

Hotel:
We’ve got three for you, which you choose depends on how adventurous/cheap you are!

Hotel Hannong, 15 Rue de 22 November
A luxury boutique hotel, which my sister stayed in. Over £100 a night, but literally inches away from all of the high-end shops, close to tram stop, and has reduced deal for next door’s very safe
car park.

Adagio Aparthotel, 106 Avenue de Strasbourg
Only 20 minutes tram-ride from the city centre, literally at the main tram stop. Under £50 per night, this is our cheap-but-great recommendation. Has internet and self-catering facilities too.

Holiday Inn Illkirch, Boulevard Sebastien Brandt, Parc d'Innovation, Illkirch
This is out of town, in a research park in nearby Illkirch. We stayed here because of the great deals you can get on Reward Nights from IHG – 15,000 points for a Junior Suite – trust me, this is a bargain! The room had 2 TVs, a king-size bed and separate lounge. The hotel is a 10 minute walk from the tram stop Campus D’Illkirch, which is on the A line 25 minutes out of town.
If you decide to stay here, let us know and we’ll give you info on food, nearby shops and clear directions. It’s not hard!

Tourist Information:

There is a tourist office in the rail station. This has all of the information you need.
There is also a tourist office at 17 Place de la Cathédrale, which has a souvenir shop as well. You can get 30% discount in the shop with the Strasbourg Pass (see below).
Both open 9am – 7pm.

Strasbourg Pass:
This could well be the best value pass ever. For €15 you get:
Free entry to one museum (worth €7) and half price entry to another
Free boat trip (not between 2pm and 4pm inclusive) worth €12.50
Half-price ride on mini-train showing sights around town
Free cycle hire for half a day
Free viewing of Cathedral’s astronomical clock as it chimes at 12.30pm (arrive East Door 11:35am)
Free entry to Cathedral tower – a big climb but worth it!

Eating:

Alsacien specialities:
Choucroute is a plate of sauerkraut (big enough for 2 people) as well as sausages and other meats. Flammeküche or flams, a 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.

Flams, rue des Frères near the Cathedral. A sort of Pizza Hut version of flam. Strictly for tourists after an easy life or families who want a fun cheap eat. It is not great, but serves a great variety of flams and their “all you an eat” deal is a good one. Try to find somewhere more authentic, though.

Le Foyer Des Pêcheurs
The BEST place for flams is out of town, in a small forest near the Campus D’Illkirch tram stop. It’s walkable but is unlit at night, so you may want to take a taxi. They cook their flams in an outdoor oven, while you sit under the stars, and keep bringing you food until you beg for mercy. An Alsacien delight.
1 Chemin du Routoir, 67400 ILLKIRCH
Tel: 03 88 66 14 85

Maison Kammerzell is next to the Cathedral and is a tourist trap par excellence. The half-timbered building dates back to 1427, and the décor includes pre-WW1 murals. The food is local specialities, but it’s not the best you can get. Ask your hotel for their top tips.

For a healthy and delicious lunch, OUR top tip is Vertuose, 19 rue d'Austerlitz
Salads, wraps, sandwiches, wine … all with excellent service. To eat in (or outside) or to go, you will love your lunch and your body will love you too!

Other places we used for an easy bite:
McDonalds – in the city centre just SE of Place Kleber
Café de l’Ill – outdoor café on Place du Marche aux Cochons de Lait
Kohler Rehm – outdoor café in Place Kleber
Comptoir Kanter – nice café in the main station with a good breakfast offering

Sights:

Boat trip: Batorama tours are available from the quay behind the Palais des Rohan. They last about 90 min and go through Petite France and up to the European institutions.

Mini-train: a 40 minute ride, starting in Place Gutenberg, taking you through the historical parts of town, which you can visit on foot later.

Cathédrale Notre Dame: with a 142 metre tower (the highest in France).
The tower has over 330 steps and is worth it. The Astronomical Clock in the cathedral is open all day, but rings noon at 12.30pm (don’t ask). The cathedral closes when it is ringing, you have to queue separately.
Nearby on place du Château is the Musée de l'Oeuvre Notre Dame – a museum of medieval religious art related to the cathedral (closed Monday)

All museums are open 6 days a week from 10am to 6pm

Palais des Rohan:
Museum of Fine Arts, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts (all closed Tuesday)
nearby, the Historical Museum (closed Monday)
Musée Alsacien, quai Saint-Nicolas: (closed Tuesday). This museum features articles from the daily lives of Alsatian peoples from the 13th to 19th centuries: clothing, furniture, toys, tools of artisans and farmers, and religious objects used in Christian, Jewish, and even pagan rites. The exhibits are in rooms connected by wooden staircases and balconies in adjacent houses around a central courtyard. A fantastic historical visit.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, 1 place Hans-Jean Arp (Closed Monday)
Works by Kandinsky, Max Ernst and Picasso, and temporary exhibitions. It is also home to the first-floor Art Café with views across the canals, good food and cheerful service

Petite France: the area of the city between the rivers, home to some of Strasbourg's prettiest and most photogenic streets and buildings, with half-timbered townhouses. On Saturdays there is a fleamarket stretching from Petite France to the Palais des Rohan, in front of the Bourse.

Take tramline E to Droit de l’Homme and walk from here to see:

Parc de l’Orangerie: avoid the zoo, which is small, instead look for the storks nesting around the Orangerie building.

European institutions: Council of Europe (Le Palais de l'Europe) (1977), built by Henry Bernard; European Court of Human Rights (1995), built by Richard Rogers; European Parliament (1999), built by Architecture Studio

Place Kléber, the largest in the city and home to the renovated L'Aubette building with its 1920s De Stijl interior, which is only open Wed-Sat 2-5pm


Shopping:

Shopping centres:
Place des Halles, 24, place des Halles, with over 100 shops and restaurants north of the city centre, tram stop Ancienne Synagogue Les Halles.
Rivetoile, opened at the end of 2008 at Place d'Etoile, at Etoile Bourse tram
Auchun hypermarket and other shops, at Baggersee tram stop on the A line south of town.

Gingerbread: an Alsacien speciality. The best shop for it is Pain d’Epices, 14 rue des Dentelles, run by Mireille Oster. She has over 15 different flavours of what would be unfairly described as gingerbread – the name Pain d’Epices really means honey spice cake. You will buy all of your take-home gifts here!



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