Strasbourg has all the excitement of a bustling international city, but maintains the charm of a medieval town. Cafés are tucked into streets that look much as they did 200 years ago, and medieval neighborhoods are alongside sleek new commercial districts. The city’s historic center, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honor was placed on an entire city center. Strasbourg is immersed in the Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture. The largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque, was inaugurated in 2012.
Strasbourg is the capital city of the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine region in northeastern France with approximately 275,718 inhabitants. The city is also the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. It is also the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine and the International Institute of Human Rights.
Located in the heart of Europe, Strasbourg is a train ride away from Paris, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland. The Vosges Mountains form a picturesque backdrop to a rolling countryside dotted with quaint villages, and the Rhine meanders through the Alsatian wine country nearby. Strasbourg boasts an active cultural scene, including opera, a ballet, a national theater company, and numerous museums.
- Goethe, Metternich, and Napoleon all went to Strasbourg to study.
- Gutenberg left Strasbourg suddenly in 1444 after an extended public trial, probably over the rights to his printing press.
- The streets of Strasbourg were originally laid out by the Romans. The two main Roman roads, rue du Dome and Grand’Rue, still run through the center of the city.