Strasbourg is fantastic for a city break. It has a beautiful historical center (Grande Île), that was marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. In the centre of Strasbourg is the Notre Dame Cathedral, but don't forget to visit Petite France, a picturesque area with half-timbered houses. In December there is a large atmospheric Christmas market.
The city has more than 270,000 inhabitants, but including the area surrounding Strasbourg, the population is more than half a million people.
Strasbourg is located in the northeast of France, near the border with Germany, on the Ill river which flows into the Rhine in the city. Alsace has always been a disputed area between Germany and France. The last time Germany annexed the city was during World War II.
Many institutions of the European Union are established in Strasbourg. Almost 9 out of 10 of the working class people work in either the public administration or the service sector. Yet there are also some industries in Strasbourg: automotive, pharmaceutical companies and two large breweries (Fischer and Kronenbourg).
The international airport is in Entzheim, about 20 kilometers southwest of the city. With a rental car you can reach the airport from the city center in about 20 minutes: follow highway A35 and take Exit 8 (Entzheim Aéroport). From the center you can also follow the D392 where you can take a right turn exit to the airport just before Entzheim.
The five tram lines form the heart of the public transportation system in Strasbourg. These ultra modern trams run very frequently. The transport company Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS) also operates an extensive bus line.
The historical centre of the city is mainly auto free. In the rest of the city it is not difficult to find your way. You can park your rental car in one of the parking garages or one of the P+R terrains on the outskirts of the city. Furthermore, a rental car is an excellent form of transportation to explore the surroundings of Strasbourg. So you can drive in one hour to the historical town of Colmar.
There is a great variety of hotels in Strasbourg, but keep in mind that many European institutions (notably the European Parliament) need hotel rooms for their representatives and officials. The prices are also high. The simple hostels are an option for budget travelers; these accommodations also have less problems with the influx of members of the European Parliament and their entourage. Also during the Christmas Market in December many hotels are fully booked.
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