Strasbourg is the economic and intellectual capital of the French region of Alsace. This small city sits on the French border with Germany, near the famous German spa town of Baden Baden. Strasbourg is also considered one of the four capitals of the European Union—the other three being Brussels, Luxembourg City, and Frankfurt—since the European Parliament and the European Councils are both located here. As you can imagine, it is well connected by rail and flight routes to the rest of Europe.
When traveling from Paris to Strasbourg, your main options are to go by train, bus, or car. Although the Strasbourg Airport is very popular, there are no direct flights from Paris. However, you can connect in the nearby city of Mulhouse, where it's possible to fly directly from the French capital. This might be a worthy option if you are flying through Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Strasbourg is quite far from Paris. It takes almost five hours to arrive by car, but a high-speed train shortens the trip down to just two hours, 20 minutes. The train is not too expensive, but the bus is even cheaper—although it takes nearly six hours.
|Train||2 hours, 20 minutes||from $30||Convenient and affordable|
|Flight||1 hour, 10 minutes||from $184||Quickest route|
|Bus||5 hours, 45 minutes||from $11||Budget travel|
|Car||4 hours, 40 minutes||305 miles (491 kilometers)||A road trip through Champagne|
In France, high-speed trains are called trains a grand vitesse, or TGV for short. There are 16 daily return high-speed trains between Paris and Strasbourg, taking two hours, 20 minutes. Strasbourg Station is the second-busiest train station in France and is the hub for eastern France and for journeys into Germany and Switzerland with 50 TGV departures daily to all destinations. There is a tourist information desk within the station that's less than a 20-minute walk from the city center. It's a modern glass building and is often considered one of the most beautiful train stations in Europe.
Ticket costs vary, but they generally start at $30 each way. During peak travel times, however, the price can be as high as $87. When booking tickets online, you may be prompted to buy a first-class ticket, which is usually between $4 to $17 more expensive than second class. Second class is perfectly comfortable, but first-class seats are a little bit more plush and roomier.
If you are coming from any other city than Paris, Strasbourg-Entzheim International Airport is just 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the Strasbourg town center via the motorway. Shuttle trains run per hour to the city center and leave every 10 minutes.
If you are flying from Paris, the only direct flight option to Strasbourg is to fly to EuroAirport in Mulhouse, France, which is a one hour, 20-minute drive away from the Strasbourg city center. You could also get to Strasbourg from Mulhouse by bus, which takes about two hours.
In France, there are many budget bus operators if you're looking for the cheapest way to travel, the most popular being FlixBus and BlaBlaBus (formerly Ouibus). You can find one-way bus tickets for as low as $10 and as high as $47 during peak travel times. Many buses will also leave directly from Charles de Gaulle Airport, which could be convenient if you are flying into Paris.
When booking your ticket, pay attention to the duration of the trip. The fivehour, 45-minute trip is the fastest route, but routes vary, and depending on how many stops the bus makes the journey can take as long as 10 or 14 hours.
The distance from Paris to Strasbourg is around 305 miles (491 kilometers), and the journey takes around 4 hours, 40 minutes depending on your speed. Expect to run into some tolls along the way. The fastest route is via the A4 Highway, which passes through the regions of Champagne and Lorraine.
For information on hiring a car under the leaseback scheme, which is the most economical way of hiring a car if you’re in France for more than 17 days, try Renault Eurodrive Buy Back Lease.
Along the way, Reims is another wonderful city worth visiting in France and is the capital of Champagne, France's most bubbly region. There are many vineyards in the area where you can learn more about how the drink is made, and the city itself also has a number of interesting attractions like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Museum of Surrender, which commemorates the place where the German Army surrendered on May 7, 1945, to officially end World War II in Europe.
Because it sits so close to the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg enjoys a blended culture. It's a place where you can experience French joie de vivre set in a typical German village complete with half-timbered houses and one of the most famous Christmas markets in France and Europe.
Among the must-see sights is the Strasbourg Cathedral, which once held the title of being the tallest building in the world between 1647 and 1874. The cathedral is also where you'll find the city's astronomical clock, which puts on a popular show every day at 12:30 p.m. For casual strolling, La Petite France is an extremely photogenic village within the historic city center and if you catch a rainy day, some of the city's best museums include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. If you're interested in politics, it's possible to take a peek inside the European Parliament as a visitor.
If you're looking for your next stop after Strasbourg, Colmar is a charmingly laid-back town about an hour's drive south of the city (and on the way if you're driving from Mulhouse). Whether or not it's the most beautiful city in Europe, a title which is argued over by many, there's no debating the fact that the city's historic center is incredibly well-preserved and picturesque.