Strasbourg makes for a perfect City Break, an easy 2 and half hour drive from Frankfurt means even the most active of kids doesn’t have time to be bored. Also, I want to mention how good the roads are but then realise I’m no longer living in India and this really is no surprise to anyone and more over, it’s expected!

Our air bnb is perfectly located, just up from Notre Dame (Strasbourg Cathedral) & the old city – everything we need is within walking distance & the car stays parked for much of the week end!  In my opinion, the weather is perfect, partly cloudy which always makes for more beautiful pictures.

day trips from Frankfurt

Why Visit Strasbourg?

  • Its history is immense!

For centuries Strasbourg has been a somewhat contentious issue between France & Germany exchanging hands between the two countries countless times!  Almost like a game of ping pong – it began it’s life under the Romans, a town called Argentoratum (hmmmm Argentoratum, Strasbourg – same same but different?) it then became a free imperial city in 1262, turned French in 1681, German in 1871, French again in 1918, German in 1940 and French again in 1944.). The influence of both countries very evident in the uniqueness of this beautiful city.  French restaurants serve up regional favourites of Spätzle noodles & flammkuchen, the German nuances undeniable

  • To wander the streets of Petite France

Ok so I love a bit of history as much as the next person but sometimes I wonder if it’s best not to be ignorant at times!?  For instance, one of the recommended things to do in Strasbourg is to wander the streets of Petite France.  So of course you immerse yourself in its ‘quirkiness’, the half timbered Gingerbread buildings.  You fall in love with the shuttered covered windows with petunia filled flower boxes and the undeniably narrow & cobbled streets.  Restaurants of all descriptions entice you with their chequered table clothes with the promise of wine and beer.  Now, skip forward, to another recommended thing to do, a guided boat ride.  Here you come to learn the origins of Petite France, a quarter you’ve now come to love was in fact the quarantine area for a Syphilis outbreak brought in by the kings soldiers.

day trips from Frankfurt
  • To Visit Notre Dame Cathedral

A lone Cellist sits playing his weathered instrument directly in front of the enormous doors of Notre dame.  Again the following day in the very same square buskers catch my attention.  Interestingly this time it’s group of Mongolian musicians.  Moreover it’s the deep raspy sounds coming from deep in the back of their throats that forces me to stop and watch.  Of course, these are not unfamiliar scenes in front of most landmark and historical places today.  And, for the most part I’m not a fan, however, sometimes they create something special sometimes they create a moment!

Notre Dame is not only absolutely spectacular from the outside, walk inside and during the few split seconds of darkness as eyes begin to adjust, the glow through the stain glass windows is even more breath taking – greens, blues, yellows and the reds, the reds just WOW!  Make your way round to the Astronomical Clock, an absolute Renaissance masterpiece complementing the otherwise Gothic structure!  After marvelling at the lady’s interior its time to scale her 330 spiralling steps to the viewing platform (this does require a moderate level of fitness but it’s well worth the effort!)

Also, find one the ingenious ‘hammock’ type structures built by the city and admire the cathedral from below.  The spire creates a rather dramatic view against the skyline!

day trips from frankfurt

Finally, get out of the city

Now, if your family is anything like ours city time needs to be complemented with some form of physical activity (best if it involves swimming!) then there are some lakes in close proximity to Strasbourg. Armed with our SUP (stand up paddle board) we headed out the city to Neubiltz-Reichsett and spent a day in the water.  Definitely recommend this for those with kids who can only do so much site seeing!

Where to eat and drink:

  • La corde a Linge:  set in a square in the Petite France it has an absolutely fantastic atmosphere with quick service.  Not even a stones throw away is one of the river locks which provides great viewing and entertainment for little humans!
  • Bistrot et Chocolat:  tucked behind just off the square of the cathedral is this gem of a place.  Vegan (for those who aren’t don’t let this put you off) serving absolutely flavour filled dishes, my boys had veggie bolognaise and were none the wiser!  And of course with a name that includes ‘Chocolat’ did not disappoint with a menu that would have even the most die hard dessert fan satisfied!
  • Cafe de L’Opera:  just glorious sitting on the steps of the Opera House for coffee & pastries
  • Cafe Broglie:  we had breakfast here one morning.  The scrambled eggs and bacon were delicious (a simple dish so many often get wrong!)
  • Le Gayot:  sundowners and happy hour.  Set in square just off Rue de Freres it was perfect.  Our kids found an enormous sculpture to climb and made a friend so were thoroughly entertained for hours
  • La Cantina:  in the same square as the Le Gayot we simply moved across the square for dinner.  Gorgeous setting as mentioned before and brilliant location with active kids as the square is easily contained.  The pizza was good but I wouldn’t say exceptional.

For other city break ideas check out our Getaways section