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Strasbourg is located in northeastern France directly on the French-German border. It is the capital of the Alsace region with 280,000 inhabitants in the city area and more than 600,000 inhabitants in the extended area; it also the largest city in the region. Strasbourg calls itself the “Capital of Europe”, as many European institutions are found in the city area including the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights.
Strasbourg has a temperate climate with cold winters by French standards. Summers are short and hot and there is a high probability of precipitation throughout the year. The warmest month is July with daily maximum temperatures of 25° C, making it the best time for a holiday in the city. The coldest month is January with the lowest temperatures at -2° C and maximum temperatures at +2° C. The annual average rainfall is 613 mm with most of the rain coming in the months of May and June.
The Ill River, a tributary of the Rhine, branches into the city area of Strasbourg. Between the two arms of the river lies the Grande Île, or “big island”, where the historic old city can be found, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The landmark of the city is the Romanesque-Gothic Strasbourg Cathedral that is still surrounded by the numerous timber-framed houses of that period. One of the most beautiful and best known is the Kammerzell House, a bourgeois timber-framed house from the late German Gothic period with an elaborately carved façade.
At the opposite south end, the 18th Century Palais Rohan is the former city residence of the bishops of Strasbourg. Today it is home to several museums you can visit, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts), Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Art), the Musée Archéologique (Museum of Archaeology) and the historical palace rooms. Also worth seeing are the buildings from the German Empire such as the train station, the School of Arts, the Palais du Rhin or former imperial palace, the court and the university.
Very popular with tourists is the Quartier des Tanneurs (Tanners District), which lies on the banks of the river Ill in the district of La Petite France (Little France) and the many Ill canals with narrow lanes, picturesque timber-framed houses and their typical dormers. Several beautiful parks and gardens in the city area or boat trips on the river Ill invite you to relax and enjoy between sightseeing tours.
The region around Strasbourg also offers a great variety of excursions and recreational activities. On the 170-km long Alsace wine route you pass through vineyards and wine villages where a visit the wine cellars is well worthwhile, and you also come upon one of the most visited tourist spots in France, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg (the High King’s Castle).
UNESCO designated the Parc naturel régional des Vosges du Nord (Natural Park of the Northern Vosges), together with the adjacent Palatinate Forest Nature Park in Germany, as the first cross-border biosphere reserve in Europe. Together the two nature parks comprise an area of over 3,000 square km, of which about 74% is forested and only 5% is inhabited. 5 km from Strasbourg, nature lovers can explore the forest treetops on several walkways or adventurers can test their climbing skills in a high ropes course, as well as in slacklining, archery, orienteering, geocaching, etc.
In addition, you can discover the Alsatian landscape around the capital with canoe trips on the river or from the air with flights over the Vosges and the Alsace plain. Special insights into the culture of the region are offered, for example, with a visit to see asparagus production in a farm in the Alsace “Asparagus Capital” of Hoerdt during the asparagus season from April to June or with a visit to a roasting house.
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