Seven things to do in and near La Petite France

This small historic quarter is labelled as the ‘most charming’ district and is easy to get around on foot or by boat. Enjoy quayside walks, the narrow-cobbled streets or take a short walk to visit the gothic, imposing cathedral

Known for its canals, half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets, Strasbourg’s La Petite France is labelled as the ‘most charming’ district and it’s easy to see why. Flowers adorn the streets, chocolate box houses reflect on the waterside and quayside walks make for a pleasurable afternoon.

Located on the western end of the Grande Île, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is certainly the most picturesque district of old Strasbourg.

However, this area wasn’t always so popular. Tanner, millers and fishermen once lived and worked in this part of town where the streets have been built level with the waterways and was known for its bad smells from the hanging of skins and furs in the street.

The half-timbered houses date from the 16th and 17th centuries and their sloping roofs opened out onto lofts where hides were once dried.

Further, the name of the district goes back to the hospital “Blatterhüs” where, during the 16th century, French soldiers suffering from syphilis were treated.

Today, however, La Petite France is a tourist hub and a pedestrian zone where you can wonder the narrow streets, enjoy the sights with ice cream or sip tea and coffee in one of the boutique cafes.

Maison des Tanneurs

One of the most famous buildings in the area is the Maison des Tanneurs (House of the Tanners), which dates from 1572.

Today it is a restaurant, famous for its choucroute (sauerkraut).

Regarded as a typical Alsace house, it is surrounded by other beautiful houses and restaurants, providing a center point for La Petite France.

Address: 42 Rue du Bain aux Plantes, Strasbourg, 67000

Opening times: open Tuesday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 4:00pm and 7.00pm – 10:00pm.

Saint-Thomas Church

The city’s main Protestant church, this building is located in the district’s far east.

Rebuilt at the end of the 12C, this church has five naves and became a Lutheran church in 1529, then a Protestant cathedral.

Containing the famous mausoleum of Marshal Saxe, by the 18th century artist Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, it also has a copy of the Sielbermann organ keyboard used by Mozart and then Albert Schweitzer.

Address: 11 Rue Martin Luther, 67000 Strasbourg, France.

Opening times: 10:00am – 7:00pm.

Place Kléber

Previously called the Barfüsserplatz (meaning barefoot square), the square became the Waffenplatz (weapon square) in the 17th century and then Place Kléber in 1840.

It is bordered by buildings from differing periods, ranging from the Middle Ages up to the late 20th century.

Address: Place Kléber, 67000 Strasbourg

Opening times: 24/7

TIP: Look out for the statue of Jean-Baptiste Kléber (1753-1800), a famous local boy, who stands in the centre of the square.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

An outstanding masterpiece of Gothic art, this dominating cathedral has a 142m spire and up until the 19th century, was the highest building in the whole of the Christian world.

The construction of the Romanesque cathedral, of which only the crypt and the footprint remain, began in 1015.

Its facade offers detailed ornamental features and contains hundreds of sculptures and the cathedral’s stained-glass windows date from the 12th and 14th centuries.Its huge organ includes a remarkable case equipped with animated figures.

The building’s pink sandstone changes according to the time of day and the colour of the sky.

Address: Place de la cathédrale 67000 Strasbourg.

Opening times: Varying times according to month and prayer times.

Entry costs: Cathedral is free admission but access to the tower costs €5 per adult.

TIP: You can easily walk to La Petite France from the cathedral.

TIP: The Renaissance astronomical clock, (the mechanism of which dates from 1842) is a masterpiece in its own right and visitors can admire a parade by the apostles every day at 12:30pm.

Les Ponts Couverts

Keeping their name despite losing their wooden roofs in the 18th century, the bridges are overlooked by four towers dating from the 14th century.

The set of three bridges and towers were built for defence purposes and have been classified as a Monument historique since 1928.

Address: Ponts Couverts, 67000 Strasbourg.

Opening times: 24/7.

Rhine boat trip

Enjoy a boat trip down the river to see everything from the Ancienne Douane, covered bridges and the European Parliament.

Batorama offers up to 70-minute tours down the Rhine every day of the year in several different languages.

You can choose between an open-topped boat or a closed boat with air conditioning and short or long cruises.

Address: Departs from: the pier at Palais Rohan for the ‘Strasbourg, the European’ tour; piers between Palais Rohan and Ancienne Boucherie for the ‘Strasbourg Grande Île’ tour; and Palais Rohan for the ‘Strasbourg, 20 centuries of history’ tour.

Entry costs: Tours range from €9.00 – €15.00 per adult.

TIP: Batorama’s ticket office can be found at 18 Place de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, around 1min walk from the cathedral.

Barrage Vauban

This dam spans the width of the River III and was used principally as a bridge and as a defensive structure.

It now currently houses modern art exhibits.

TIP: Climb to the bridge’s rooftop terrace to see panoramic views of Petite-France

Checking out C & J.

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