Strasbourg City Guide

Strasbourg boasts of exquisite architecture, but this does not mean it’s old and boring. The city is known for its enthralling, vibrant, and cosmopolitan districts. Threading through the narrow streets of the Saint-Michel quarter to the buildings from the 60s and 70s in Mériadeck, 2.5 million annual visitors would realize how the life of this city has radically evolved without losing its own identity and character. The city’s nightlife is bustling too, with countless cinemas, cafes, bars, theaters and nightclubs to pop in. Shopaholics can also enjoy shopping in the center of the city along Rue des Grandes Arcades and Rue des Francs Bourgeois. Those who neither enjoy the nightlife nor shopping can surely not take for granted the beauty of Black Forest and Rhine River over the city’s edge. Tourists can get pleasure from daytrips into Alsace (city capital) or Germany every day. Either way, it will definitely make their trip worth the while. Did you know that Strasbourg was once a military camp of the Romans? Its former name is Argentoratum and was the main outpost of the empire of Rome against Northern Europe’s Germanic tribes. When the Roman Empire collapsed, its new name, Stratisburgum, emerged, which later evolved to its present-day name. The medieval period was a prosperous era for the city when it became the heart of European trade routes in the North. Taxes levied on commodities helped the city to develop. When it eventually became an independent republic in the 15th century, it attracted philosophers and reformists which influenced in shaping its culture further. The Republic of Strasbourg was annexed by France in 1697, which brought further prosperity and dramatic cultural renewal. However, in the 18th and 19th century, turmoil recurred. For six weeks of siege, the city suffered mass destruction of monuments and buildings and it became a part of the German empire. Shortly after World War 1 though, it became a French territory again, and a German territory again, during World War II. Being on the Franco-German border, it is no wonder why this city is controversially owned by two countries one after another. The importance of Strasbourg as a city was confirmed in 1949 when it was selected as the headquarters of the Council of Europe. Another confirmation of its significance is it being the seat of the 15-member Parliament of Europe since 1979, and the European Court of Human Rights since 1994. Cuisine Strasbourg offers mouth-watering cuisines that are a perfect combo of German boldness and French gourmet. Some must-try’s are: - Baeckoffe and Coq au Reisling – These are local specialties. Baeckoffe is composed of meat stews, potatoes and spices while Coq au Reisling means chicken in Reisling (wine from a white grape variety). This is usually paired with a German noodle called spaetzle. - Eau de Vie – Literally meaning “water of life”. This is clear fruit liquor produced by going through the processes of fermentation and double distillation. Compared with American brandy that is sweetened by sugar, eau de vie is sweetened solely by fruit. - Visiting a Winstub – Pronounced as “veenshtub” meaning a wine bar-restaurant that serves local specialties. Winstubs are hubs to traditional Strasbourg traditional food. The atmosphere is welcoming with outdoor seats, ornate brass fittings, wooden beams, and old paintings.