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Map of Strasbourg

Typical house of Strasbourg : Click to enlarge picture
STRASBOURG owes both its name – "the City of the Roads" in German – and its wealth to its position on the west bank of the Rhine, long one of the great natural transport arteries of Europe. If you want to sleep in a Strasbourg hotel, have a look at this site. Self-styled "le Carrefour de l'Europe" ("Europe's Crossroads"), it certainly lies at the very heart of western Europe, closer to Frankfurt, Zurich and even Milan than to Paris. The city's medieval commercial pre-eminence was damaged by too close an involvement in the religious struggles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but recovered with the absorption into France in 1681. Along with the rest of Alsace, Strasbourg was annexed by Germany from 1871 to the end of World War I and again from 1940 to 1944.

Today old animosities have been submerged in the togetherness of the European Union, with Strasbourg the seat of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament. Prosperous, beautiful and easy to get around, with an orderliness that is Germanic rather than Latin, the city is big enough – with a population of over a quarter of a million people – to have a metropolitan air without being overwhelming. It has one of the loveliest cathedrals in France and one of the oldest and most active universities: this is the one city in eastern France that is definitely worth a detour.

Pages in section ‘Strasbourg’: The City, Arrival and information, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Entertainment, Listings, Cathedral, Museums, Petite France, European institutions.

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