Are you interested in learning more about the European Parliament in Strasbourg? There are a number of ways to do so. You can take a guided tour of the Parliament building, attend a public hearing or committee meeting, or participate in a conference or event. Let's visit it together and get all the practical information you need! Follow to the guide 🙂
Strasbourg, the European city
Did you know that Strasbourg is home to the major European institution, the European Parliament? The Parliament has been based in the Alsatian capital since 1958. At that time, it shared the Council of Europe's hemicycle, and then, from 1977, the Palace of Europe. With the development of the European Union and, in particular, in anticipation of its expansion in 1995, it was decided to build a dedicated building to host the European MPs.
On December 14, 1999, the European Parliament in Strasbourg inaugurated its new seat: a magnificent 220,000 sqm building that embodies openness, dialogue, and debate. It is named after Louise Weiss, a French journalist and politician who was committed to European unity and the sciences of peace.
Practical information to visit the European Parliament
The visit of the European Parliament is free. Free access for individual visitors.
Guided tours and groups
For groups of 20 or more people, registration is required on the Parliament's website. Groups will benefit from an information session in one of the 24 official languages, during which a member of staff will detail the powers and role of the institution, followed by a Q&A session and topped off with a one-hour visit of the hemicycle gallery to attend the plenary session.
Monday to Saturday, from 9:30am to 12:00pm and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
Visits are also possible during plenary sessions.
The European quarter is accessible by tram E: stop "Parlement européen" to visit the Parliament and stop "Droits de l’Homme" for the Council of Europe and the ECHR. Buses 6 and 30 also serve a "Conseil de l’Europe" stop. It's also very easy to go there by bike.
Access for the visit is through Rue Lucien Febvre. Please note that you will need to show your ID at the entrance to access the buildings.
Strasbourg: 1-Day Bike Rental
Rent a beautiful bike for a day and discover the beauty of Strasbourg. Ride safely and take in the main sights such as the European Parliament and the Cathédrale.
Where is the European Parliament in Strasbourg?
The European Parliament is located in the European quarter of Strasbourg, where most European institutions such as the Council of Europe or the European Court of Human Rights are located, as well as many diplomatic representations. This neighborhood is located in the north of the city, between Wacken, Robertsau, and Orangerie.
If you walk around the surrounding streets, you may see flags of many countries waving on the facades of beautiful mansions. I invite you to follow the "Parcours de l'Europe" to visit the European quarter of Strasbourg on foot or by bike.
How to visit the building of the European Parliament in Strasbourg ?
Originally, the European Parliament in Strasbourg was meant to be a place that was open to European citizens. Unfortunately, security standards have changed and it has become difficult to visit the building outside of Heritage Days.
However, in order for people to learn more about its operation and role, the Parliament teams have created a secure tour. As such, curious citizens can still discover the inside of the building for free, including its hemicycle and the Simone Veil Parlamentarium. The tour lasts between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes.
If you have no reservation to visit, you can show on the opening hours to the Parliament and visit it with audioguides (24 languages are available for the visit).
Simone Veil Parlamentarium
Located inside the Louise Weiss building, the Simone Veil Parlamentarium is an interactive and fun space that was inaugurated in 2017 where visitors can discover the European Union and its institutions, and more particularly the role of the European Parliament. It is divided into 4 zones:
- A 3D room where the hemicycle is projected on a 360° panoramic screen to experience a virtual session,
- A role-playing game to experience being an MEP,
- A display area with touch screens,
- A photo booth to take pictures in front of the visual of your choice
Thanks to touch screens, have fun finding the MEPs from your country or understanding the functioning of the European institutional triangle. It is done in a very playful and educational way.
There is also a cinema room that offers a film on European issues in the 24 official languages, as well as an exhibition on the journey of Simone Veil, the first elected President of the European Parliament and the first woman to hold this position.
If you're part of a group of 16 or more people, you might be able to participate in a role-playing game where you can experience being an MEP and confront the legislative work in a fun way. Don't forget to take a souvenir photo in the photo booth before you leave!
Visiting the hemicycle, the beating heart of the European Parliament
The hemicycle is a must-see during your visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This is the room where MEPs sit once a month for debates and votes. This is where decisions are made that impact the entire European Union, including some historical votes on climate, the economy, or peace.
Before entering the hemicycle, you will pick up a video guide and headphones at the entrance. Once the doors are pushed open, you will access the gallery overlooking the hemicycle. The view is simply breathtaking: below you are the 751 seats of the MEPs, the European flag in the center surrounded by those of the 28 member states. Sit for a few minutes to enjoy and listen to the comments of the guide in the language of your choice.
Take a look at the ceiling as well. You'll see some funny waves that are actually an ingenious lighting system designed to properly light each MEP, no matter where they are sitting. And if you listen carefully, you can also appreciate the perfectly studied acoustics of the room, which makes parliamentary sessions feasible.