Officially home to the first city center granted status by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and home to some of Europe’s most influential groups such as the Council of Europe, the Eurocorps, and the European Parliament (among others), Strasbourg is the capital city of the Alsace region of France, in the north-eastern portion of the country. From the towering spires of the Cathedrale Notre Dame to the Palais des Rohan, Strasbourg is a melding of ancient architecture blended together with modern, and the city practically screams “French!” at the top of its lungs.
Straddling the Ill River near the confluence of the Rhine just west of the German Border, Strasbourg sits in the Rhine Valley, just 12 miles east of the Vosges Mountains and roughly 16 miles out from the Black Forest. These natural surroundings put Strasbourg right in the middle of some of the most beautiful countryside on the planet, although it might be hard to see at first if you are within the boundaries of the city itself, what with the towering spires above. Most visitors find their time entirely taken up by the historical center of the city, otherwise known as Grande Ile, or Grand Island. An island in the middle of the river itself, the center showcases some of the best medieval architecture in the whole of France, and spreading out from the center itself one can find a variety of other churches, cathedrals, libraries, museums and more. Each area of the city is different, with many major styles in attendance, ranging from Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, Contemporary, to Gothic and more. You can find something to suit your architectural cravings at every corner while in Strasbourg.
But beyond the history of the place and the beauty of the buildings, Strasbourg is a thriving hub of education and commerce, making this easily one of the best places to experience French living outside of the glitz and glamour of Paris. If you are looking for an authentic French experience, Strasbourg is easily one of the best choices.
Gengenbach is the prettiest among the row of interesting towns and villages in the Kinzig Valley, the large valley which divides the Black Forest into a Northern and a Southern part.