travelgrove Travel Guides

Strasbourg History, France

For most people, Strasbourg is nothing more than a city where many EU institutions have their headquarters, and many potential visitors overlook this city, believing that it is nothing more than an administrative centre. However, Strasbourg can boast with some of the most beautiful historical buildings in France, second only to Paris, Bordeaux or Lyon perhaps, and its entire city centre was declared a World Heritage Site. Strasbough has an exciting cultural scene populated with museums, galleries and various events, but it also has a lively nightclub and café scene that welcome a very variegated crowd. But if you are planning on visiting Strasbourg, it’s important to know a bit about its history, so that you’ll fully appreciate its attractions. This Strasbourg History Guide will tell you all you need to know.

Strasbourg History - Foundation and early history

While there is some archaeological evidence that present-day Strasbourg has been inhabited since the stone-age, the first settlement has been founded by a Celtic tribe, who named their village Argentorate. During the Roman occupation of Gaul, Argentorate became Argentoratum, a city in the Roman province of Germania Superior. The city’s historical centre, Grande Ile, dates back to approximately 12 BC. The first church in Strasbourg was built around the 4th century AD, when the town became the seat of the Bishopric of Strasbourg. At this time, the Alemanni, a Germanic tribe, attacked Strasbourg and started t become an increasing menace for the Empire. For the following couple of centuries, various tribes marched through Strasbourg: the Alemanni, the Franks and the Huns. By the 10th century, Strasbourg was a flourishing mercantile town, despite the occasional clashes between the inhabitants and the bishop. In the 14th century the city declared its freedom, but this victory was followed by two great catastrophes: the Black Death in 1348, and the terrible pogrom of 1349.

Strasbourg History - Middle ages and modern history

The Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the city’s current landmarks, was completed in the 15th century (as far as historians know, the cathedral was the tallest building in the world at the time). The Middle Ages were quite eventful for Strasbough. The city was afflicted with the Dancing Plague, the University was established in the 16th century, and the first newspaper in the world was published at the beginning of the 17th century. During the French Revolution, Strasbourg lost its free city status, and in the 19th century it was heavily bombed in the Franco-Prussian War. During World War II, Strasbourg fell under Nazi control, and suffered great damages due to bombings. After the city became the headquaeters of the European Council, Strasbourg entered an age of prosperity, and nowadays it is one of the richest and most attractive cities in Europe.

Ask our travel experts a question about Strasbourg

Things about Strasbourg you may be interested in


Read our members' reviews about Strasbourg

  • adamStrasbourg,France
    review by adam posted more then 30 days ago
    Strasbourg is one of the most prosperous cities in France. It's a beautiful city, diverse culture with stunning city center. It is renowned for having both French and German influence, since it is close to the German border and you can see both architecture. The Cathedral, which is situated...
  • WazlingThings to know about Strasbourg
    review by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    It's a lovely city with it's own charme. Showing you an intersting inner city with it's old buildings it's an attraction itself. Besides that you can do alot of shopping, during that the man can enjoy a coffe at one of the restaurants. You should also visit the 'Musée des Beaux-Arts',...
view all

Read our members' travel tips about Strasbourg

No travel tips have been added yet for this category. Be the first to add a new one.


Members Who Have Been to Strasbourg

the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...

Strasbourg City Ratings

  • Rating77%
    City Rank171
  • History & Culture: rated for 95%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 70%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 75%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 70%
  • Food: rated for 75%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 95%
  • Shopping: rated for 60%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 65%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 85%
   Welcome to Travelgrove  register tell a friend bookmark it