Explore the heart of Europe in Strasbourg

Fairytale old city on the one hand, smartly suited centre of European administration on the other – just how does Alsace’s capital do it?

In the unlikely event you had time to visit only one European city, Strasbourg would fight off most contenders. French, but teetering on the border with Germany, the symbolic capital of the Continent manages to combine a medieval old town bursting with Brothers Grimm charm with the cosmopolitan sensibility of a centre of European government.

Throw in old-style taverns brimming with cheer and some superbly curated museums, and you have few better places to take the pulse of Europe today.

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Best of Strasbourg Culture

To sample the hybrid culture of a region that has passed between France and Germany five times in as many centuries, a first stop among things to do in Strasbourg should be the Musée Alsacien. Housed in three charming 16th and 17th century buildings, the collection surveys the lives of ordinary Alsace inhabitants from the medieval to modern period through an evocative collection of toys, furniture and even objects of pagan worship.

A superior church museum, the Musée de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame shows off resplendent treasures from the cathedral of the same name, one of Strasbourg’s best known landmarks. The collection includes the oldest piece of stained glass art in France – the luminous Christ de Wissembourg from 1060 – and moving works that are among the finest religious sculpture in the country.

One of the most memorable things to see in Strasbourg, the Musée Tomi Ungerer celebrates the work of one of Strasbourg’s most famous artistic sons. On display are hundreds of pieces, including children’s books, political satire and (family travellers might note) erotica from this controversial but esteemed figure.

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