Here is some information about why you should Visit Strasbourg, France and a brief story about my visit with my girlfriend at the time!
I am not sure if I have ever met someone who does not want to go to France. Believe it or not, the first job I landed after college had an annual trip they would do for the firm every year, and some how the same year I got hired they wanted to take a special trip.
Typically, this trip would be to Vegas or Hawaii or somewhere warm, but this year was different. This year our firm had reached a new milestone and they wanted to celebrate. They wanted to go to France.
Dream of Paris Tonight
Let’s back up for one moment. In early 2018, I was in a relationship with a girl, and she had always dreamed of going to Paris. So much so that she had Eiffel Tower notebooks, wall decorations, and obviously computer wall paper.
One night out of the blue, I was trying to be sweet before bed. I told her,
“Hey babe, dream of Paris tonight.”
I had never said that phrase before, and I was not sure why I did say it that evening. She laughed and smiled and said goodnight over the phone.
The next day, I strolled into work as usual and my mentor quickly caught a glimpse of me. Without missing a beat, he walked over and said,
“Good morning man! Did you hear the news?”
Without coffee to bring me to life, I muttered,
“Morning! No, I havn’t.”
I usually need an hour or so when I stroll into work to get woken up and functional. No judgement right?
With a big smile on his face he said,
“Well you better start working on your French, because we are going to Paris in June.”
At the time, I was still an intern as this company which is even better. After a few back and forth moments of questions, I found out that not only was I going to Paris, but I could bring my girlfriend. Talk about getting the golden ticket.
Traveling to Strasbourg
Fast forward a few months and it was wheels up. Before we knew it, the plane had taken off with passports in hand. From door step to AirBNB it took us over 20 hours to get to our destination. While everyone thinks Paris is the best place to visit, I had my sights set on another small town in France, Strasbourg.
To make a long story short, during my sophomore year I actually had a chance to attend school in Strasbourg, France for 6 months. The program was set to house us in a sort of castle in the country side while we took classes locally from English speaking professors. Sad to say, I did not take the trip.
The Famous Small Town
Already, you can see why I had to go to this town. I had missed my chance previously in my life, so I was not going to miss it again. The town is famous for a massive chapel right in the middle of it, a surround river that goes around the city, and a huge Christmas tree that they put up in December for a celebration.
We left with plenty of time to see both cities, Paris and Strasbourg, but to our surprise we ended up enjoying Strasbourg way more than expected.
Traveling to Strasbourg
After landing in Paris, we headed straight to the train station to catch a ride to Strasbourg for a few days before returning to Paris for the business meetings and extended vacation. The train station was nice, and luckily they had a Starbucks!
The train ride took only 2 hours, but we unfortunately had to wait 4-5 hours for our train. Upon reflecting on the trip, this was a serious logistics flaw because we were exhausted and desperately wanted to shower and change.
By the time we got to the town, we also had no idea how to get to our Airbnb, so we walked! Suitcases and all rolling over the cobble stone pathways, looking at random stores and enjoying being in a new world, we were excited.
Staying in Strasbourg
Luckily, I had mapped out where the town center was and got us a place to stay as close as possible.
The Airbnb was absolutely perfect! Right below our place was several amazing restaurants, a little courtyard, and easily a great view of the cathedral. Three streets over lead us directly to the front of it as well, so we were in prime real estate!
To be honest after arriving, we showered, changed and took a quick nap before we went out exploring. Afterward, we walked and walked until our feet hurt.
Every single night we would try a different restaurant and sit outside on the street tables to view the sunset and people watch. Easily, Strasbourg had some of the best food I had during my entire Paris trip. Every meal was an experience, and that is just the way we wanted it.
Sites to See in Strasbourg
Hands down, there was plenty to see in this town. We walked different directions everyday and never were we not amazed and mesmerized by the other cathedrals and stores. Every evening we would always come back to the Cathedral and get some ice cream at a famous ice cream spot right in the center of town.
One night, we noticed a bunch of college kids laying at the bottom of the Cathedral. Apparently, it was normal for people to get ice cream and lay at the bottom of the cathedral looking up and enjoying the view! We thought this was awesome and had to try it. The reason you have to lay down to see the entire thing, is because it is massive!
Another great feature of this town was the river. Every day there were amazing sunsets that would bounce off the water and give some awesome photos. It was like being in a magical place.
Additionally, there were plenty of stores to shop and shop until you were broke. Amazingly, most of the stores in this town were nice and had very expensive clothing and items to check out.
Best Thing About Strasbourg
By far the best thing about this town was the bakery. Almost every street corner had a bakery on it with authentic French style pastries.
Before this trip, I was never to keen on croissants, but after having authentic ones from France, I loved them. At one point I even bought a bag full of them to take back to our place, and easily ate all of them before the night was over.
For breakfast most days, we would walk over to the bakery and get sandwiches. The sandwiches in France are small baguettes that had fresh salami and cheeses in them. By far, these were some of the best sandwiches I had ever had. Being a bread lover, I was in heaven.
Walking Around Strasbourg
One thing to note about this town and Paris, is you will walk and walk and walk. Make sure you pack comfy shoes or get in shape before going to France at all.
Now in Paris, you can always Uber anywhere in the city for a small fee. In Strasbourg, it is harder to Uber anywhere reasonable since the streets really do not have many cars going through them. Almost everyone in this city walks or rides a bike. Therefore, in order to maximize your visit I highly recommend just walking!
While walking down alley streets you never know what you will find! The city is very safe as well, and we never felt in danger or unsafe at any point while visiting this city.
I would say Strasbourg is the most family friendly and safest city I have been to in Europe.
Another awesome thing that happened during the trip was Marché de l’Esplanade, the Monday French Market! This was even better because we had no idea this was a thing in the town. This market is basically for locals to stock up on all the supplies they need for the week.
Monday morning we woke up as usual and the second we stepped out side we were flooded with tents and vendors all selling amazing looking produce, meats, cheeses, and fish! I easily could have spend all of my money here trying to buy up all the things I found that looked delicious, and I wanted to cook.
The same market also had plenty of independent looking stands from locals selling trinkets, heirlooms, antiques, and just about anything. It was amazing to see the town at full life with everyone scurrying around to prepare for the week.
Christmas Time Market
The last thing I want to touch on, that unfortunately I did not get to experience was this town during Christmas time.
Sadly, I have not been able to go back, but if you ever want to visit Strasbourg, make sure to go during Christmas time. Similar to the market mentioned above, the entire town throws a market in December called Christkindelsmärik. The city was even nicknamed the capital of Christmas since this well known market has been going on since 1570.
It is estimated that this market alone draws in around 2 million people each year! That is a serious market since the town itself only has around 300,000-400,000 people living in it.
Now that you know the best place to go in France, make sure you get that special person and visit Strasbourg! Trust me you will not be disappointed, and you may even want to stay.