Strasbourg with Kids
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Family lore says that at least one side, and possibly both sides, of my family tree originates in the Alsace-Lorraine region of Europe. (Although, perhaps 23andMe will show something different.) This region has bounced between Germany and France for most of its history. We knew we wanted to pop into Strasbourg for two nights.
We parked the car in a lot outside of town. Parking rates inside the city are quite steep – €44/night. Moving to a lot outside of city center cut this in half. Strasbourg is easily walkable and has ample public transportation
We put ourselves in an Airbnb in the center of town. The loft apartment was a block from the Cathedral with ample room for our family of five. It was minimally furnished, which is exactly how I like it!
Strasbourg City Card:
The Strasbourg Pass gives you one free entrance to a museum and 50% off additional museums. It also includes a Batorama tour, climbing the church tower, entrance to the 12:00 astronomical clock show and a few other discounted items. To get your value from this card you need to plan to do all the activities. This was difficult for our family.
Batorama offers a dizzying array of tour options in a variety of languages. The city tour is included with the Strasbourg Pass and is given in English. These tours almost always fill up.
You will need to make a reservation in advance. If you don’t have the Strasbourg Pass you can do this online. If you have opted to get the card you should go to the Batorama ticket desk right away and make your reservation. We ended up on a 4pm tour.
In high season the boats leave every 15 min. There is an enclosed air conditioned boat and an open topped boat. You can ask when making your reservation for a particular type of boat. We opted for the enclosed air conditioned boat. We arrived the suggested 20 min in advance and were the last in line. We were unable to get seats for the five of us together, but got close.
The boat tour has an English audio tour as well as an English kids tour. It goes through two locks and goes all the way out to the European Parliament. Unlike in other cities, there is quite a bit to see from the water in Strasbourg. The boat tour is a good use of your time.
We used our one free museum coupon to visit the Tomi Ungerer Museum. This museum highlights his illustrations and designs. It is not aimed at children, though ours found plenty to look at here. There were plenty of English translations throughout to make it worth our time.
The kids particularly enjoyed a reading nook under the stairs with copies of some of Ungerer’s children’s books.
There was also a hands-on activity area set up so they could experiment with colors and shapes in the style of Ungerer.
The Little Little loved watching the commercials that featured Ungerer’s art. Although, I suspect he really just enjoyed the music.
The shoes as clothes were my favorite. I was so tickled by how each shoe should be both an outfit and a shoe. Some of them were certainly provocative, but also so charming.
As a note, the basement is not appropriate for children. We did not heed the warning. I figured it was nudes or something similar that my kids have been exposed to at other European museums. I was wrong. The basement is full of sexually explicit drawings. The elevator literally could not come fast enough.
Our favorite part of Strasbourg was simply walking around town. Strasbourg blends the beautiful features of France and Germany together into one compact city center.
The Cathedral was right outside our Airbnb so we opted to start there. We spent a few minutes enjoying the carvings on the outside of the Cathedral before it opened. Then we were some of the first visitors inside.
The astronomical clock is inside and it dates from the 1800’s. It’s actually the third clock to be in the church, the first was installed in the 14th century.
The clock puts on a show at 12:30 each day. (12:30 is the Solar Noon in Strasbourg.) You have to arrive at noon to watch a movie about the clock before you view the clock’s show. A line of apostles come out of the clock to pass in front of Jesus. The whole experience from movie to clock dance can be a bit lengthy for the kids.
You can also climb the church tower. On your climb keep your eyes on the statues. They are almost meant to be seen from these heights.
The church has only one of the two towers finished. You climb up the tower that is unfinished to the platform.
The views over Strasbourg from here are stunning.
A walk through Petit France is a must. This adorable section of town is full of cafes that run alongside the river. It is the historic center of the city.
Although we are not big shoppers this section of Strasbourg had many artisans at work with local little stores.
We wandered into a little pottery studio and watched a man throwing the pots in the back.
We also found a hat store that enchanted the kids. It reminded them of one of their favorite books, Happy Birthday Madam Chapeau.
The tower linked by bridges, Points Couverts, is a must see. There is a playground just over the bridges that lacked shade, but was perfect for the kids. There were several areas to play in and the entire playground is gated.
Cross the river again and you can walk over the Barrage Vauban, old battlement gates. The views from the top of these battlements into Petit France and up the river are lovely.
The kids loved running on the top of the battlements. A high wall makes this a good place for them to run. There is plenty to see as well.
Should the need arise, there are bathrooms on the main level.
Strasbourg is so lovely to walk around. We continued to find interesting features everywhere we went. We found a variety of small playgrounds and fountains for the kids to play in scattered on the streets of Strasbourg.
Jeff used nap time to visit the Cathedral Museum. It contains all the original statues from the church. (Those on display in the Church are not original for preservation reasons.) You could easily spend an hour here learning about the construction of the church. It does not make a great stop for kids though. (Jeff did see a few activities the kids would enjoy, but not enough to keep them entertained for your visit.)
There is no shortage of bakeries or grocery stories in Strasbourg. We easily stocked the apartment with breakfasts so everyone could eat as they woke up.
We visited a lovely all bio vegan restaurant, PUR etc., for lunch.
Inside a magnetic chalkboard with vegetable magnets entertained the kids while we ate. They had juice and meals in jars that were delicious and gave us some nutrients.
I did pick up noodles for the Litlte, Middle and myself one evening. Jeff took the Big Little out for a nice dinner across the street from our Airbnb.
Strasbourg is a lovely European city to visit. You will find enough to occupy a few days particularly if you add in a few sites that are outside of the city.
The Strasbourg Card was provided for the purposes of this review. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase through one of these links, Dutch, Dutch, Goose! receives a small payment at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own.