We took a day trip from Saarbrücken to Strasbourg. At that time just changed the train schedule, and the only direct train departed only at 11:54 with arrival in Strasbourg at 13:37. It was too late for one-day trip, so I chose the variant with connection: Saarbrücken (08:40) – Sargemin (09:10; 10:14) – Strasbourg (11:37). On the first leg – the Saarbrücken streetcar No. 1 of STB, on the second – the French TGV class train. The cost of this RT trip is 29 euros for two people according to the “Saar-Elzas ticket”, the ticket is purchased at the DB vending machine on the Hbf. If you decide to buy a ticket at the ticket office – the cashier will take a fee of 2 euros. Streetcar goes from the station square, very comfortable, not many passengers, frequent stops. Through Saarbrücken along Kaiserstrasse, which is theoretically the central street of the city, but there are no sights on it, except the Town Hall. Unobtrusively, the streetcar goes beyond the city limits and makes its way to the German-French border. And here is the border station “Bad Rilchingen – Hanweiler”. The border itself, of course, no, but the border booth, just in case, left. At 9:10 am I was already in Sargemin, the station is very small, places in the waiting room no more than 10, of the arriving passengers, no one is waiting for the train to Strasbourg, everyone will be rushing about their business. We have an hour of free time, decide to walk around the city. It’s Sunday morning, the streets are completely empty, the offices are closed a priori, and the “patisserie” and “boulangeries” open later. From the very first minutes I recognize the French coloring: a big poster about the French (freestyle) wrestling championship match: Saargeminues vs Nancy. For some reason, I was immediately reminded of the good old French comedy, in which the competition was Paris vs. Yes, and the show “The Great Race” – where city-to-city, or even country-to-country competitions were held – is also a French invention. Gradually we come out to the river embankment, on the opposite bank there is a square and a beautiful bridge. On the embankment of the opposite bank we notice the liveliness, a lot of cars, townspeople rushing to the opposite bank with baskets. As expected – on the opposite bank is an agricultural fair. There you can buy a variety of agricultural products, including live chickens, geese, rabbits, piglets, goats, donkeys, and a cow with a calf. The important difference of European fairs from the domestic agricultural market is the presence of POS-terminals to pay by cards, of course wireless. The latter looked very colorful on the tables made of stumps. But we don’t have much time, we go back to the station where we are waited by a comfortable TGV with traditional French melodies before the announcements of the stops. The road to Strasbourg passed by endless French fields, in one of which we even watched a French hunt. Finally, the large number of branching railroad branches made it clear that a major train station was approaching. Strasbourg station is a huge glass building (which seems to cover the old building of the old station), integrated with the underground streetcar station (there is no metro in Strasbourg), in the transition between which was found a very original WC – door with a code lock, which will open if you put into the coin slot 3 coins: 20 eurocents, 10 eurocents and 5 eurocents.
All other combinations (20+5+5+5) do not work, the machine also does not give change, a coin of 50 cents pushed back with enviable persistence … The station is located on a beautiful square in the style of Belle Epoque, from where five streets diverge in different directions. We choose the shortest to the center, Maire Kuss street. The area is not yet touristy – a lot of fast food and cheap hotels. The center begins with the promenade of canals that encircle the historic center. In places you can see 19th- and 20th-century half-timbered buildings among the 19th- and 17th-century buildings. Bridges across the canal, also in some places old, with characteristic wooden towers. Along the Quai Desaix promenade, we move in the direction of the “Petit France” (Little France) quarter. The river at this point runs through the rapids, it is about 1/3 blocked by a dam. All elements of this hydraulic structure look so old (even in places overgrown with moss), that in general their technical serviceability raises questions. As it turned out, not for nothing. After a couple of minutes in a wide open space comes up a narrow and long boat with tourists (very similar to the Parisian “bateau-mouche”), rather dashingly turned around, this boat rushed in the direction of … this old lock! And surprisingly, it was able to fit in, although the distance between the sides and the walls of the lock was less than 1 meter. Then, as it should be, the gates behind the boat closed, the dam started to work, the water level in the lock began to go down, until it was synchronized with the level below the threshold. Then the front gate began to open. But something went wrong: halfway through the gate “got stuck”, opening at about 30 degrees. The boat, of course, did not go through the gate. After a moment’s hesitation, the captain (or XO – there were two men at the helm of the boat), went out on the edge of the board and called the whistle somewhere. In about three minutes, a man in overalls came running from somewhere. Having appraised the scale of the situation, Monsieur Engineer stepped into the unremarkable booth at the edge of the shore, and carried out some secret manipulations, as a result of which the gates opened fully and the ship continued its journey. Quarter “Little France” is located on a narrow peninsula and is a few rows of houses right on the shore, so that from the front door you can step aboard the boat, almost like Venice. The buildings are of varying degrees of antiquity, mostly stone, but you can also find half-timbered houses. There are many flowerpots on the outside of the houses, as well as on numerous bridges. Opposite – is a building of an old dam (built by a military engineer Vauban), if you climb on which – a very good panorama of the old city. After reaching the end of Petit France we come to the fashionable hotel “Regent Petit France”. The Rue des Moulins, which partially turns into a bridge, is to the left of the hotel. The bridge was not an easy one either. As soon as we crossed it, the engineer we already knew began to block it with barriers. As soon as the bridge was closed, the engineer pulled a lever and the bridge instantly became movable, rotating about its axis by 90 degrees. As soon as the lever was pulled, the bridge shifted around 90 degrees, while another bateau with tourists calmly sailed down the canal. Two minutes later the bridge returned to its original position. And in the meantime we arrived at the Place B.Zix. Here already dominated the tourist quarter – cafes, souvenir shops, etc. Through Fosse des Tanneurs we came to the main street – Grand Rue. It is surprisingly not very crowded.
Most of the stores are closed (apparently because it’s Sunday). But it is very pleasant to walk along this street. I noticed the fact that in the historic center of Strasbourg street names are duplicated in German in addition to French. Outside the historic center (especially near the Republic Square or Central Station), I did not observe that. We are gradually approaching one of the central squares in Strasbourg, Gutenberg Square. Today there are folk festivals on it – “French carousel”, local brass band, lots of stalls with different tasty things, including two stalls with young wine (1 glass – 1 euro). Lunch. From Gutenberg Square you can already see the Cathedral on the Central Square. In fact, this is the center of Strasbourg. The number of visitors per square meter exceeds the reasonable limits – in principle the explanation is simple – it’s warm, it’s Sunday, vacations in schools may begin…. To the left of the Cathedral is an ancient quarter dominated by a corner house called Maison Kammerzell (built in the mid-15th century), characterized by a colossal volume of carved decor and 75 (seventy-five) windows. On the right is Castle Square, where the Post Office and the Palais Rohan are located, and down the slope is Rue du Maroquin, along which an endless line of red-tented cafes and restaurants winds. In general I am not a frequent visitor in France, Strasbourg for me is only the third French city I have visited, but the red tents (umbrellas) above the tables as well as the red cloth “visors” over the entrances to the cafes / stores have become integral symbols of France in general, and the holiday in particular :-). We did not go into the Cathedral, because there was a solid line at the entrance. Militarized security was also present. If you want you can climb the dome of the Cathedral on foot (entrance 6 E). Further plans – to go to the Republic Square, where by streetcar to the European Quarter (complex of the European Union offices), located in a very remote area, almost outside the city. And then – actually already to the station by streetcar to the return train. So, on Rue de Dome, passing by the info-center with paid city maps, we go to Broglie square (on the way I met a small Monop’, which unfortunately did not have my favorite Coursel cognac). This square is famous for the Hotel de Ville (City Hall, in French) and the ancient building of the Opera, which has a restaurant between the entrance columns. We cross the bridge over the canal to the opposite shore, on the right is Avenue de la Marsellaise, on the left Quai Jacques Sturme. Both names sound very militant. In contrast, the Republic Square, which is right behind the crossroads, is a big quiet park with benches and a fountain (very cool in the 25°C heat in the middle of October) and a big tramway hub, which connects the area to most other parts of the city. On different sides of the park are the City Theater and the Rinn Palace (the latter houses one of the city’s museums). To get to the European Parliament, take streetcar number E and to Strasbourg Gare – number C. The cost per trip for 1 person is 1,80 euros. If you buy a daily unlimited ticket (valid for a company of up to 3 people) – the price will be 6.80 euros. Tickets are sold only in vending machines at stops, vending machines accept only euro coins or payment cards.
Before boarding the streetcar – the ticket must be stamped in the electronic punch card also at the stop. The streetcars run at intervals of 12-15 minutes, very modern and fast. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the European Parliament, but the distance is quite decent and the route goes through the old, but not touristy parts of the city (at least there were no cafes). The complex of buildings of the European Parliament is on the outskirts, around the private sector, the building itself can not be approached closely, 40 meters away are fences, but the photos are still very picturesque. Immediately behind the main building is a river with a promenade on both sides. On the opposite bank, as I understand – also the continuation of the European quarter (but the bridge was far away, so we did not cross). By the way, behind the fence was a pier, apparently for the service river transport. The buildings around – one-storey and suspiciously typical (absolutely no decor) are straight rows of good-quality simple houses, almost no courtyards. Personally, I was haunted by thoughts of company housing, especially as there were no apartment blocks or hotels within a kilometer around… I took the streetcars back to the station, too, with an interchange on the Republic Square. The C streetcar also passes through the center, tangentially passing the Kleber square with its old buildings. On the way back there were no direct trams (direct buses going too early), so we decided to take the same route: Strasbourg (18:15) – Sargemin (19:36 ; 20:16) – Saarbrücken (20:46). All clearly without delays. Noticed that our evening STB flight was escorted by the police.
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Re: Strasbourg in 1 day
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From Paris to Strasbourg for 1 day
Strasbourg is located in France, but has a German name. The city has always been at the junction of two cultures, belonged alternately to Germany and France. Now it has become a symbol of united Europe, the parliamentary capital of the EU. Strasbourg is one of the cultural centers of France, with the old University of Strasbourg.
The city is almost two thousand years old. In the old quarters there are still Christian churches built in the 12th century. The historic center, located on a picturesque island in the middle of the river Ile, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the sights are in the central part of the city, and the old houses now house restaurants and stores.
How to get to Strasbourg?
The distance between the cities is about 400 kilometers. In one day you can leave Paris, see the sights of Strasbourg and come back.
Electric trains to Strasbourg depart hourly from Gare de l’Est from 6:40 to 8:50 p.m. The fastest train goes from Paris to Strasbourg in 1 hour and 45 minutes. All in all, about 2 hours and you’re in the capital of Alsace. The cost of tickets in a second class car starts at 20 euros, but that’s if you buy very in advance. Usually, the price ranges from 60 to 80 euros one way. You can find the exact train schedule on this website.
If you travel in France by car, it is very easy to get to Strasbourg. You can rent a car for the trip, for example, here.
The bus ride is longer, but cheaper, the road takes 6-7 hours. But we’re going for 1 day, so it won’t suit us.
On foot, by bike, by river streetcar…
We advise to explore the historic center of Strasbourg on foot or by bike. Strasbourg is the most bicycle-friendly city in France. They are here at every step. You can rent two-wheeled transport here.
Walking on a river streetcar can be regarded as a tour of the city. As you float along the canals, you’ll see the main sights of Strasbourg and surprises will be the bridges and locks. To save on cruise tickets and major attractions, you can purchase the Strasbourg City Pass, valid for 3 days, which will give you free or half-price access to 10 key places in the city. You can buy tickets and see the ship schedule at this link.
And if you’re heading out on foot, we have a great offer for you. We’ve prepared an audio guide to Strasbourg that starts very close to the train station. Inside our guide are 33 of the city’s main attractions. There’s the cathedral, Little France, and other places we’ll tell you about below. Your walk will take 3-4 hours, but you will see the whole city. So feel free to download our audio guide.
What to see in Strasbourg?
One of the main tourist attractions in the historic part of Strasbourg is the Cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The building began to be built back in the 12th century, but it is still unfinished. From the mid 17th to the late 19th century, the cathedral was the tallest church building in the world.
In the cathedral there is the famous astronomical clock, which shows not only the time, but also the location of the planets, the signs of the zodiac, and many other interesting events. Every hour puppets come out of the clock and show the performance. There is an old staircase that leads to the tower. From the observation deck at the top of the cathedral offers an excellent view of the city and the surrounding area.
During the Great French Revolution they wanted to demolish the spire of the cathedral, which was too high. It sort of fell out of the idea of universal equality. A local blacksmith cooled down the hotheads by coming up with a ruse: he suggested placing a Phrygian cap on the spire. This is how the building’s exterior appearance was preserved. The cathedral belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, so there are no guided tours during services.
District of Little France
This picturesque quarter is very popular among tourists. It got its name during the German rule. There were many houses where girls of easy virtue offered their services. Despite such an unattractive reputation, the quarter has a rich history. In the 16th century, fishermen and tanners lived on the streets of Petite France, causing a peculiar smell to take root in the neighborhood.
Now Little France is a sophisticated neighborhood with cozy houses, quiet alleyways and beautiful covered bridges. The neighborhood is sparse and can be covered in half an hour at a leisurely pace.
Or in 2 hours, with a local Russian-speaking guide who, without boring facts and dates, reveals many interesting legends and stories. Learn more and sign up for a tour at this link.
Sessions of the European Parliament are held in Strasbourg. More than 20 EU administrative institutions are located in the city. They are concentrated in the European quarter, consisting of several districts. The quarter occupies a place next to the river Ile and the canal Marne-Rhine, are complexes of buildings built in an ultramodern style.
The river Ile flows into the Rhine and the French-German border is three kilometers from Strasbourg. Next to the Marne-Rhine Canal is a large building with two large towers in the shape of beveled cylinders – the Palais des droits de l’Homme.
The Botanical Garden occupies a small area (less than 4 hectares), but will delight flora lovers with several thousand plant species. The park was founded in the 17th century on the site of the monastery pogost. In the territory of the Botanical Garden is also located the Planetarium of Strasbourg.
It is deservedly recognized as the second most important archaeological museum of France. The museum’s collection began to be assembled at the end of the 18th century. The patron who formed it bequeathed his brainchild to Strasbourg. The museum exhibition covers the period from 600,000 years BC to 800 AD. The collection of exhibits is constantly being added to, both through gifts from benefactors and through discoveries. There are many archaeological investigations around Strasbourg, the results of which are placed in the museum.
Museum of Fine Arts
The museum collection came into existence in 1801 as a consequence of the French Revolution. Places were set up all over the country to store works of art taken from the church and nobility. During its history, the museum has burned twice, so not much remains of the original collection.
Some of the exhibits were transferred from the Louvre, and several private collections were donated. As it happens, the Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts has assembled a collection that any museum in the world could envy.
Museum of Modern Art
The city is home to one of France’s finest museums of modern art. Its full name is the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The museum originated quite traditionally. A local collector donated his collection of modern art to the city. The city authorities combined the gift with their own collection and built a museum building with 19,000 pieces on display.
Audioguide to Strasbourg in Russian
Always want to know more? Then download our Strasbourg audio guide to your smartphone. It costs about a cup of aromatic coffee at a local restaurant, but the pleasure will bring much more, becoming a personal pocket guide. With him you can stroll around and get to know the city at your own pace. Fascinating stories and urban legends, educational and just fun facts about the sights and inhabitants of medieval Strasbourg await you. You have time to see all the most important things in one day.
What to try in Strasbourg?
In Strasbourg it is worth paying attention to the original Alsatian cuisine. Local chefs prepare aromatic stews. One of the delicacies is rabbit stewed in wine sauce. Another popular dish is baked pork ham.
Masters make many kinds of different sausages that you can buy in the city markets. Fish lovers will be offered cooked carp. The first fish of this breed were introduced by the locals back in the 12th century. It has become a tradition in all Strasbourg restaurants.
The city is famous for its bakeries, many of which have been baking bread since the 14th century. The recipe for the unique salted pretzel was known only to local bakers for many years. Strasbourg’s bakers offer meat pies and buns.
What souvenirs to bring?