A French city with a touch of Germany and tons of charm
Strasbourg is the capital city of the Alsace region and is situated on the border of France and Germany. Consequently, visitors can admire a blend of both French and German architecture and cuisine. This city is also the seat of the European Parliament and hosts many other important European institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. The historic center Grande Île is the main reason why you should see Strasbourg. There you will find museums, remarkable old buildings, restaurants, shops and cafés.
Basic info and car hire in Strasbourg
- Location: Eastern France
- Population: 275,718 (2013)
- Official language: French
- Currency: Euro (€)
- Weather: Oceanic climate. Warm, relatively sunny summers and cold, overcast winters. The average winter temperature is 3°C (37°F) and the average summer temperature is 20°C (68°F). the average spring and autumn temperature is around 10°C (50°F)
Driving in Strasbourg
- Suitable for tourists: Very good connections. Motorways offer quick travel on large distances.
- Problematic areas: There are no major problematic areas - driving into Strasbourg’s old city is relatively easy. However, some streets are off-limits to cars since the centre has been transformed into a pedestrian priority zone.
- Age limits: 18 (In order to rent a car some companies require that a driver must have a driver license for at least a year and be older than 21.)
- International Driving Permit: Yes
- Additional papers: ID (passport) and the proof of insurance (It is advisable to buy insurance at the rent a car company, in case that your policy does not cover your insurance while driving in France.)
- Additional requirements: A warning triangle is compulsory and a reflective jacket must be kept within reach of the driver inside the vehicle. There is no current legislation demanding a fine for not carry a self-test breathalyzer (alcohol test) in the car, but it is required by the law.
- Children in the car: Children under the age of 10 years must travel on the back seat. If they weigh less than 15 kg, a child seat is needed and if they weigh from 15-36 kg, they have to use a booster seat with an adult seatbelt.
- Drink & drive: maximum BAC = 0.05 % (0,02 % for new drivers with less than 3 years of experience in driving)
- Driving side of the road: Right
- Lights: Dipped headlights are recommended day and night and must be used not only at night but also in poor daytime visibility.
- General speed limits: 130kph on motorways (110kph in wet weather and on urban motorways), 90kph on other roads outside built-up areas, 50kph in build-up areas.
- Parking suggestions: There are many large garages surrounding the old city if your hotel does not have its own parking facility. Some carparks are more expensive than others, especially for longer stays.
- Best time to visit: Strasbourg is enchanting throughout the year so it depends on your seasonal preferences: the summers are warm, the winters are cold, the autumn is colourful and the spring is filled with blooming new life. The busiest season is during summer due to summer holidays. Christmas season also brings more tourists to the area, as they want to experience a White Christmas there.
What to see in Strasbourg
Main sights: Grande Île is a quaint medieval centre of Strasbourg. Walking around this neighbourhood will make you believe in fairy tales again. Its magic got it listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climb up the covered bridge/castle Terrasse panoramique du Barrage Vauban (English: Panoramic Terrace of Barrage Vauban) for a picturesque view of historic UNESCO area called Petit France. This popular quarter is known for its half-timbered houses and is definitely worth seeing from up close also.
Our favourite spots
Le Palais Rohan (English: Rohan Palace)
This is a majestic Baroque building, which also houses three museums: Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts. The view from the River Ill is especially impressive. Parking options: Bateliers and Gutenberg are 5 min away.
La Place de la République (English: The Republic Square)
In the heart of the "German quarter" lies a blooming square with private homes and cultural buildings. There is a war memorial in the center, dating from 1936. It features a woman with her two sons, one who has died for France and the other for Germany, a moving situation which was unfortunately all too real for the people of Alsace during the two world wars. Parking options: Gutenberg and 13 Place du Temple Neuf are 3 min away.
Ponts Couverts are a set of three bridges and four towers on the River Ill. Great for a pleasant walk. Parking options: Pont Couvert (2 min) and 1 Place du Cygne (5 min).
L’horloge astronomique (English: Strasbourg Astronomical Clock)
This is 300-year old impressively crafted clock. And it is still working! Parking options: Gutenberg and 13 Place du Temple Neuf are less than 5 min away.
L’Eglise Saint Thomas (English: St. Thomas Church)
This 6th century Protestant church was also a place where W.A. Mozart played its organ. Parking options: 2-3 Place Saint-Thomas (1 min) and Gutenberg (5 min).
Carousel de la place Gutenberg (English: Carousel at the Place de Gutenberg)
As the name suggests, this is a French carousel. Set your inner child free and take a ride. Parking options: Gutenberg (1 min) and 13 Place du Temple Neuf (3 min).