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Learn French… in Strasbourg!

cultural visits | destinations tips | organizing trips
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“In Strasbourg, the eye never gets bored,” said Le Corbusier. 

Strasbourg is a choice destination for a language and cultural travel. The city, at the forefront of soft mobility such as cycling, has developed a wide range of activities and visits, fun and dynamic, at accessible prices for young people. The Alsatian city offers with a lot of creativity and hospitality, its history and its works of art which make it a jewel of the UNESCO world heritage.

European city par excellence, Strasbourg seduces a large public because it arouses everyone’s curiosity and greed. Follow the Vacances Actives Linguistiques guide! 

 

Poetic Strasbourg: discover the Alsatian city on foot or by boat

Vacances Actives Linguistiques trips always focus on culturally rich destinations, and Strasbourg is an excellent subject. The Alsatian city can be visited on foot, by bike or by boat, and inspires a lot of poetry, already present in the names of its districts, like Petite France…

Stroll through the district of La Petite France

traboule  du Vieux Lyon

The district of la Petite France de Strasbourg is a picturesque and charming little paradise, colourful and flowery, inspiring calm along the waterside. We discover half-timbered houses, medieval heritage, following a route on the banks of the canals, from one bridge to another.

It is a true haven of peace (despite the tourist crowd) which welcomes strollers on its sunny terraces. Locks, Revolving Bridge and Covered Bridges, atypical and charming homes at the same time: so many curiosities that appeal to visitors, seduced by the adorable character of this district!

The Maison des Tanneurs is representative of this original architecture, and of the history of Petite France, a former district of craftsmen, millers, fishermen…

Further on, the Vauban dam (an opportunity to introduce this talented architect to foreign students) is open to the public, and offers, through a staircase, a unique panorama of Petite France and the Covered Bridges.

Travel on the Grande Ile, UNESCO heritage

lyon-quartier-croix-rousse

On foot or by boat? 

The boat trip on the canals allows you to retrace 20 centuries of history and construction in Strasbourg. Accompanied by our French-speaking guide, students and travellers soak up the historical events of the city and understand its evolution along the way: from the Grande Île, the imperial district (or German Quarter or Neustadt) to the European district.

To explore the Grande Ile, it is better to explore the subject on foot! This historic centre of the city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. Our guide has his favourite circuit to help travellers and learners of French discover what makes it an example of a medieval city. From the Place du Marché Gayot to the Rue des Juifs, from the Orfèvres district to the long Place Broglie, from the Grand Rue to the Place des Tripiers: the walk ends in front of the Maison Kammerzell, very close to Cathedral of Strasbourg.

Decrypt the facade of Maison Kammerzell like a book of magic spells

atelier cuisine de chef en groupe à lyon

Archetype of the Alsatian half-timbered house of the 16th century, this historical monument has been the property of wealthy craftsmen and great families of merchants. Its architecture is unusual by its decoration both rich and strange, judging by the bottom-of-bottle windows! Its facade holds many surprises: a real open book recounting scenes from secular or sacred life, the signs of the zodiac, and featuring great characters from History such as Caesar, Charlemagne, or Godefroy de Bouillon! 

Going back in time in Notre Dame de Strasbourg 

atelier cuisine de chef en groupe à lyon

The Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg is the oldest of the Gothic cathedrals in the world. It is also one of the tallest with its spire reaching 142 meters.

Victor Hugo described it as a “prodigy of the gigantic and the delicate”…

It is time to motivate the students to climb the 330 steps and reach the platform at an altitude of 66 m. There, dominating the copper roofs, enjoying the view of the Vosges and the Black Forest, visitors rub shoulders with the gargoyles of Notre Dame De Strasbourg!

The cathedral houses a unique and still functional astronomical clock. It is a masterpiece of horology and mathematics. Since 1574, it has been showing the time, the calendar and astrological information, with a set of automatons (not to be missed every day at 12:30 p.m.!).

Dome de l'Opera de jean Nouvel à Lyon
Dome de l'Opera de jean Nouvel à Lyon

Visit contemporary and fun Strasbourg

After a visit to the past, the visit continues in the contemporary. Strasbourg has a full cultural and artistic life! It is ideal for satisfying the curiosity and developing the creativity of our students and young French-speaking travellers. 

MAMCS what?

portrait Paul Bocuse

(Do not try to pronounce his name) A visit to the MAMCS, Strasbourg museum of modern and contemporary art is a must! Change of scenery: our guide takes you to meet the works of Kandinsky, Ernst, Braque or Kupka, to immerse yourself in another vision of artistic creation and awaken all the faculties of interpretation among travellers.. 

Street art and the children’s play street

bouchon lyonnais intérieur

On the Grande Ile, there is a colourful street, painted pavement after pavement. The “children’s play street” is an artistic initiative launched by an association: each paving stone on the ground has been painted in a different colour… enough to see the rainbow on earth. 

More generally, students and travellers who come to Strasbourg will appreciate the richness of street art in the city. Hundreds of works can be observed, from immense frescoes like that of the MAMCS, to the smallest creations: the mailboxes of the Post Office are a favourite medium for urban artists… An interactive and collaborative map of Strasbourg street art has even seen the light of day, to locate all of the city’s finest achievements online, create your own street art route (Street Art map) and supply the map with new discoveries. 

Immerse yourself in the history of Europe in the European district of Strasbourg

Another stage of our language and cultural stay in Strasbourg is the visit of the European district: enough to awaken the civic soul of the students coming from the Old Continent! This urban area located north of Strasbourg city centre brings together the major monumental structures that are decisive for the European Union.  

The European Parliament

photo de femme - fete-des-lumieres

The shape of the European Parliament is inspired by an ocean liner. Designed in glass, metal and wood, this extraordinary building is established on the banks of the river Ill. It impresses with its lighting at night, its immense 800-seat hemicycle, and its 20 levels. At the “Simone Veil” Parlamentarium, students and visitors will be able to understand how this institution works. 

The visit continues at the Palais de l’Europe (seat of the Council of Europe) and at the Human Rights Palace where the European Court of Human Rights sits. These two large buildings impress with their powerful and symbolic architecture. 

The Lieu d’Europe

photo de femme - fete-des-lumieres

In this villa, everything is designed to understand Europe, its role, its institutions, its history, but also its cultural riches in an educational and fun way. European issues are dealt with in the form of exhibitions, games, screenings, etc. a very popular place with guides and teachers of French as a foreign language working with Vacances Actives linguistiques. 

Gourmet Strasbourg: from winstub to small travel-size specialties!

Enjoying a traditional dish in a “winstub”

photo de femme - fete-des-lumieres

So no, sauerkraut, an essential and emblematic dish of the Alsatian region, cannot be transported on the plane by our travellers: it would not endure the journey.

Strasbourg counts among its specialties, great tasty and rich dishes that can be tasted in the “winstub”. These traditional restaurants serve the typical preparations of the region: wädele (ham), flambékueche (tarte flambée), baeckeoffe and of course sauerkraut. This gastronomic experience leads students of French as a foreign language to also learn the Alsatian language! 

Vacances Actives Linguistiques guides know the best addresses, even those of the presidents: Chez Yvonne is the most famous winstub since Jacques Chirac and Helmut Kohl dined there together. 

Bringing small Alsatian specialties back in your luggage

Strasbourg has so many good things to share, that students and visitors will inevitably find specialties to bring back in their luggage to share with their families. The city is world famous for its Christmas markets (read our article on visiting France at Christmas).

 

photo de femme - fete-des-lumieres

At this time, markets and shops are full of treats and traditional savoury treats and sweet, such as:

  • bredalas, 
  • gingerbread Gertwiller, 
  • the Strasbourg foie gras
  • jam rosehip
  • and Kouglof 

Learners of French therefore exchange their French breakfast croissant for an excellent kouglof with small Alsatian grapes!

Strasbourg is a creative and modern city, where students and learners of French will be warmly welcomed! And there is so much to discover in the Alsatian region: by the Wine Route or by the Route des Crêtes, there is no shortage of excursions! Between the Vosges and rows of vines, picturesque villages such as Eguisheim, Obernai, Mittelbergheim, and the emblematic cellars of Alsace wine, the region has so many wonderful cultural and taste discoveries in store.

To find out more, discover the activities and excursions in Alsace of Vacances Actives Linguistiques.

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