City Guide: Strasbourg

In a blend of cultures not found anywhere else in Europe, Strasbourg borrows from both France and neighbouring Germany to create a unique atmosphere like no other.
For a city that’s often described as the capital of Europe, an expat new in town will be surprised at how much Strasbourg feels like a small town or village. Despite being the seat of several important European institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, the historic city centre has retained its medieval timbered architecture and in 1988 was the first city centre to be named a world heritage site by UNESCO.
As you walk alongside the river Ill and take in the colourful and distinctive Franco-German inspired architecture, you’re likely to be greeted with a warm welcome from all, adding to the impression of being a small village rather than a major European city.
Because Strasbourg is home of the key infrastructure of modern Europe, it naturally has a thriving expat community from all corners of the continent, and the characteristic blend of French and German cultures makes for an exciting place to live and work.
It’s not just politics that’s big in Strasbourg though – business is a major employer, as well. Strasbourg is the biggest financial hub in France after Paris and is also an important centre for manufacturing and engineering. Kronenbourg, Mars and Punch Powerglide Motors (formerly General Motors Strasbourg) all have headquarters located nearby. Being such an important hub for European business, expats with a second language – particularly French or German – will have an advantage in the jobs market here.
As for property, Strasbourg is a relatively expensive city despite a steady decline in property prices since the start of the economic slowdown. Prices average around €3,200-4,000 per square metre in the city centre and €2,500-3,000 outside.
There are many distinct city neighbourhoods to suit the tastes of any expat moving to Strasbourg. For families, the Ostwald area has a number of reputable schools, beautiful nearby parks, leisure centres and excellent public transport links. Robertsau, just north-east of the city centre, is also home to a thriving family community while offering accommodation close to the EU Parliament.
Upmarket L’Orangerie is another popular area for expats. It’s the home of the famous Parc de l’Orangerie, which boasts a lake, French gardens, a neo-classical castle and zoo.
Once you’ve enjoyed all that’s on offer in the park, there are plenty of other sights to see in Strasbourg. Being a city of such rich cultural and historical significance, there are plenty of museums showcasing the city’s great treasures. Uniquely, fine art is distributed among the museums in Strasbourg according not only to type and region, but also epoch.
Strasbourg is also host to numerous internationally-renowned institutions of music and drama, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg – one of the oldest symphonic orchestras in Western Europe – and the Opéra National du Rhin.
And when it comes to fine dining, although though the food is neither typically French nor German, Strasbourg boasts a vibrant gastronomy scene, with two three-star Michelin restaurants. Try the region’s Reisling dry white wine – a national favourite – or visit the nearby L’Académie de la Bière to sample the world-class beers on offer.
If you are considering moving to France from London, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. However you decide to spend your leisure time after moving to Strasbourg, you’re guaranteed to be enchanted by the city’s distinctly European charm.