The 9 Best Museums in Strasbourg

The Rohan palace in Strasbourg. France. Europe.
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Strasbourg, the largest city in France's Alsace region, is often cast as old-fashioned, sleepy, and full of history but somewhat lacking in contemporary interest. However, this isn't an accurate picture. The Alsatian capital is dynamic and international, both proud of its heritage and history and forward-thinking. It's home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, which includes museums and collections that are as fascinating as they are varied. From fine-arts museums focusing on classical paintings, to city and regional history collections and avant-garde contemporary arts spaces, these are the best museums in Strasbourg.

01 of 09

Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts)

Hallway in the strasbourg museum of fine arts

Courtesy of Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

2 Pl. du Château, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 50 00

One of three museums housed in the grandiose Palais Rohan, the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) boasts an impressive collection of paintings from European masters including El Greco, Tintoretto, Van Dyck, Rubens, Raphael, Corot, Degas, and De Goya.

The permanent exhibit displays works dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century and covers schools as diverse as classicism, Romanticism, and Impressionism. There's also a fine collection of sculptures. While many of the museum's masterpieces were destroyed by bombs and fire during World War II, the museum has been growing its holdings since, recently acquiring important collections of Italian, Dutch, and Flemish paintings.

02 of 09

Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg

Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg

Mathieu Bertola / Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

2 Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 50 00

Strasbourg has a long and complex history stretching to the medieval period, and its dual French and Germanic influences only add to the complexity. To take a deeper look at the city's origins and evolution, pay a visit to the Historical Museum of Strasbourg.

Housed in a 16th-century building overlooking the Ill River, the museum's permanent collections take you on a journey across hundreds of years of city history. Paintings, scaled city models, objects from daily life, weapons and military regalia, archaeological artifacts, furniture, and other items populate the displays, which are arranged chronologically from the Middle Ages to the mid-twentieth century.

The museum recently added new thematic displays and rooms that cover the period 1800 to 1949. Audioguides (including in English) are free, and activities for younger visitors throughout the exhibition make this a family-friendly museum.

03 of 09

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The Strasbourg Modern and Contemporary Arts Museum

Strasbourg Tourist Office

1 Pl. Hans-Jean-Arp, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 50 00

For modern and contemporary arts fans, this museum overlooking the banks of the River Ill is an essential destination. Housed in a boldly futuristic glass building, the Strasbourg Modern and Contemporary Arts museum boasts a large collection of works from the likes of Monet, Kandinsky, Picasso, and Brauner, as well as from more contemporary artists.

The permanent collection includes paintings, decorative arts objects, sculptures, and stained-glass windows. A historical section traces the evolution of modern art from 1870 to 1960, spanning from impressionism to fauvism, expressionism to surrealism and pop art. Temporary exhibitions focused on single artists or group shows allow visitors to catch a glimpse of the latest trends in contemporary art.

There's also an art library, auditorium for film screenings and other events, and a restaurant-cafe with a panoramic terrace—make sure to go up to take in memorable views of the Petite France neighborhood and the Covered Bridges.

04 of 09

The Alsatian Museum

Alsatian Museum, Strasbourg

Mathieu Bertola / Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

23-25 Quai Saint-Nicolas, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 51 52

If you're interested in learning more about the history of Alsace, head to this charming collection, nestled within the walls of three interconnected and historic houses dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. Opened in 1907, the Alsatian museum offers visitors an intriguing look at daily life in the region during the 18th and 19th centuries—a story told through more than 5,000 artifacts and artworks.

From traditional Alsatian clothing and costumes to homeware, tools, toys, furniture, and religious artifacts, the collection stretches across 30 rooms. Some rooms are recreations of typical interiors found across the region. Visit the "workshop" of a pharmacist-alchemist, a typical Alsatian kitchen and its cooking implements, or the common room of a regional farm.

Recent renovations have made this collection accessible to visitors with limited mobility and people who use wheelchairs

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Aubette 1928

Aubette 1928, Strasbourg

Courtesy of Strasbourg Tourist Office

31 Pl. Kléber, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 50 00

Behind the doors of an 18th-century neoclassical building on the busy Place Kleber, you'll find one of Europe's most interesting and well-preserved experiments in avant-garde art and architecture. In 1928, three artists named Theo Van Doesburg, Hans Jean Arp, and Sophie Taeuber-Arp transformed the space into a functional work of conceptual art, with bold geometric forms and colors that might make you think of a painting from Mondrian or other masterpieces from the Dutch De Stijl movement in art.

The "leisure complex" is comprised of a cinema and dance hall, a cafe-bar, and an events room. Following a series of restorations, the "Aubette 1928" was reopened to the public in 2006 and classified as a historic monument. Come to explore the fascinating spaces, and see temporary shows, multimedia "happenings," dance performances, and other events.

06 of 09

Decorative Arts Museum

Museum of Decorative Arts, Strasbourg

M. Bertola / Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

2 Pl. du Château, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 50 00

Occupying the ground floor of the Palais Rohan, the Strasbourg Museum of Decorative Arts is divided into two main sections. The first presents the lavish apartments of the prince-cardinals of Rohan, who occupied the palace during the early 18th century. Sumptuous fabrics, antique furniture, artworks, and other objects offer a picture of daily royal life within the palace.

The second part of the museum displays a collection of decorative arts from Strasbourg, mostly from the 18th century. Ornate cabinets and other furniture, ceramics, chinoiseries, clocks, and other decorative objects compose the collection. There's also a selection of antique mechanical toys.

07 of 09

Le Vaisseau (Discovery Center of Science and Technology)

Le Vaisseau, a children's science museum in Strasbourg

Courtesy of Visit Alsace

1 Bis Rue Philippe Dollinger, 67100 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 69 33 26 69

This family-friendly museum is a science discovery center that's ideal for visitors with kids aged 3 to 15. Hop on board Le Vaisseau (the vessel) to learn about science and technology through some 130 interactive displays and activities, covering a wide variety of topics including the human body, plants and animals, building and construction, as well as mathematics and logic. Exhibitions are offered in three languages: French, English, and German.

There's also an enormous garden where kids can play and explore further, as well as a cafeteria serving hot and cold meals and drinks.

08 of 09

Archaeological Museum

Archaeological Museum, Strasbourg, France

Courtesy of Strasbourg Tourist Office

Palais Rohan, 2 Pl. du Château, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 50 00

First inaugurated in the 18th century, the Musée Archéologique is one of Strasbourg's oldest museums and has a collection of more than 600,000 artifacts. Its diverse collections were eventually moved in the 19th century to the Palais Rohan (alongside the Fine Arts Museum and Decorative Arts Museum), where they remains open to the public today.

The museum's enormous holdings offer sweeping perspectives of Strasbourg and Alsatian history, stretching from prehistory to the early medieval period. As such, they complement the collections of the Historical Museum, which covers the city's history from the Middle Ages to the modern period.

An incredible treasury of objects, mostly recovered from archeological digs around Strasbourg and the surrounding region, awaits within the collection. You'll see prehistoric human bones and skulls, ancient pottery, jewelry, and other objects of daily life along with inscribed tombstones and other funereal objects, armor and weapons, and even Egyptian antiquities. Some of the holdings are relatively recent, acquired during digs conducted in the past few decades. Temporary exhibits offer a more in-depth look at particular periods or themes.

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

The Tomi Ungerer Museum - International Illustration Center

Tomi Ungerer Museum, Strasbourg

Mathieu Bertola / Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

2 Av. de la Marseillaise, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Phone +33 3 68 98 50 00

Housed in the handsome Villa Greiner across from the Strasbourg National Theatre, this intimate collection is consecrated to the work of celebrated French and Alsatian illustrator Tomi Ungerer. Best known for his whimsical children's books, including bestsellers such as "The Three Robbers" and "Moonman," Ungerer is also a master of illustration in other forms and media.

The collection contains around 8,000 drawings, posters, sketches, and sculptures from the artist, of which around 300 at a time are displayed on a thematic visitor's trail. The permanent exhibition is frequently refreshed.

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The 9 Best Museums in Strasbourg