Strasbourg, Europe’s cathedral

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Part of France since 1681, notable visitors to the town include Louis XVth, Marie-Antoinette, Mozart and Goethe. It is in Strasbourg that Rouget de Lisle composed the hymn of the army of the Rhine, later to become the Marseillaise.

Strasbourg carries the mark of a two thousand year history and is now a European capital. Its town centre on the “Grande Ile” is attached to the remainder of the city by 21 bridges and footbridges and was classified UNESCO heritage in 1988.

The cathedral’s spire emerged from the town’s centre, itself as if crowned by a gathering of houses from the middle ages in the Rhine style. A treasure of gothic architecture that was started in 1176 and completed in 1439. Of particular note is the richness of the tympanum, the delicate central rose and the splendour of the stained glass.

The Cathedral’s Astronomic Clock. Completed in 1547, it is a must see. Visits at 12h30 every day when the mechanism triggers all the movements. It is impossible to describe this impressive work, you just have to see it and admire it for yourself. You’ll walk out dazzled in the midday sun.

The Museum and gothic garden of the order of Notre Dame. In the shadow of the cathedral, a small garden has been reinstated following the tradition of the medieval garden inspired by the painters and sculptors of the Rhine region in the XVth century, quite charming. The museum contains masterpieces, sculptures from the Middle Ages and stunning stained glass windows. 3, place du Château.

Tomi Hungerer Museum. The International Centre for Illustration was inaugurated in 2007 thanks to a donation from the graphic designer and illustrator, Hungerer, a native of the city. Villa Greiner, 2 avenue de la Marseillaise.

L’Aubette 1928. Just as Gustave Doré, Hans Arp was born in Strasbourg. One can admire a selection of their works at the modern art museum alongside works by Kandinsky, Ernst and Buren. L’Aubette also holds an avant-garde leisure complex, classified historical monument that Arp created with Théo Van Doesburh of the Dutch Movement Stijl. Place Kléber.

La Petite France. Discover it by taking a boat trip on the river Ill or hoping on a mini-tram.

The historic cellar of the Strasbourg Hospices. An exceptional place that can only be discovered by entering the buildings of the Civilian Hospital. A historic cellar dating from 1395 that testifies to the importance of wine in the history of the Hospices. The hospitable monks would welcome, cure and comfort the sick. Wine was a supreme brew. Reinstated thanks to the goodwill of the wine growers in 1990, the vaulted cellar holds 1395 perfectly aligned tuns and barrels, carefully looked after by Philippe Jünger. The crowning piece is a barrel from 1472, which preserves the oldest wine in the world religiously, a white Alsace wine which remains drinkable according to the latest tests! Visit the shop for advice or to buy wine from more than twenty producers belonging to the cellar. 1 place de l’Hôpital. Tel.: +33 3 88 11 64 27.

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La Cour du Corbeau. A skip and a hop from the Cathedral, the Cour du Corbeau is a delightful hotel that has been completely renovated in one of the most attractive set of buildings dating from the Renaissance. The chic and practical place to stay. Place du Corbeau. Tel.: +33 3 90 41 75 35.

Chez Yvonne. Warm food until midnight even on Sundays and this since 1873.
The tradition is maintained throughout the winter when warm food is even more appreciated! This is a lovely Winstub, where the regional dishes on the menu are prepared with only the best produce. Chef Dominique Radmacher makes his selection from Annie Diemer’s potatoes and Marthe Kehren’s seasonal vegetables. The choucroute comes straight from Paul Baur, the cheeses are matured by Cyril Lohro and the coqs and other poultry are from René Meyer. The wines are produced by small wine estates and all certified organic. The mass has been said, you can enjoy your meal! 10 rue du Sanglier. Tel.: +33 3 88 32 84 15 .

La Casserole. Ah, homemade duck foie gras! It melts in your mouth and you’ll remember its taste as it was one of Proust’s madeleines. Chef and host Girardin, one Michelin star to his name, has been looking after the kitchen for ten years now. His ten dish tasting menu means the place is a fully booked every Saturday night. The decor is streamlined, with no more than ten tables. This minimalistic approach serves to put the spotlight on just the dishes. Booking is recommended. Tel.: 03 88 36 49 68.

Arts and Collections of the Alsace. A window display of the best books “Made in the Alsace”. A collection of both traditional and modern objects that have brought international fame to artists and artisans from the Alsace region. Traditional linens from Kelsch, blue ceramic ware, kouglof tins, decorated woodwork by Martine Missmer, delicate hand-blown glass and Christmas decorations. 4 place du Marché aux Poissons. Tel.: +33 3 88 14 03 77

The Old Gangloff bookshop. A bookshop that specialises in old and rare books from the Alsace region managed by charming and highly literate ladies. 20 place de la Cathédrale. Tel.: +33 3 88 32 40 52.