With its cobbled streets, timbered houses and numerous inviting cafes, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Petite France quarter is one of Strasbourg's main highlights. It was once a poor district occupied by tanners, fishermen and millers, but today this area on the western end of the Grand Île is one of the top attractions in the city.
People flock to La Petite France to see the colourful fairy tale-esque buildings and their reflections on the Rhine River, which make for the perfect photo op. To get a feel for this picturesque neighbourhood, have a leisurely wander down the stone streets and soak in the old world atmosphere. You can also hop on a boat tour to explore the canal system surrounding Petite France.
Alsatian cuisine reigns supreme in this part of France, which means plenty of hearty dishes featuring pork, potatoes and cheese. But alongside traditional eateries you'll also find a wide variety of cuisine from around the globe. La Cambuse on rue des Dentelles is known for its divine seafood dishes and Asian-inspired menu. And La corde a linge, a classic French brasserie, has a prime location right alongside the canal.
The rustic Maison des Tanneurs, which is housed in an old tannery, is something of a Strasbourg institution. Here they serve up traditional French dishes like escargot and coq au riesling paired with lovely wines. It's a bit pricey for what you get, but it's worth it for the beautiful setting and unique experience.
For dessert, pop into Macarons & Inspirations on rue de la Vignette and treat yourself to a couple of sweet delights. Alternatively, pick up a scoop or two of gelato or sorbet at the popular Glacier Toscani on rue de la Lanterne.
If you've got children in tow, bring them to the playground in Square Suzanne Lacore, which has lovely views to admire while your little ones play. Kids are also likely to enjoy going on a boat tour around the canals and seeing how the locks work. Batorama offers 70-minute tours all year round, and children under six years old go for free.
The neighbourhood was named after a hospital that was established here in the late 15th century to treat soldiers who'd contracted syphilis during the Italian Wars, under the reign of King Francis I. At this time, the disease was known as "the French Illness", as it was typically seen as a French condition - hence the name Petite France.
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