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Visiting the picturesque Petite France district in Strasbourg

Petite France is one of the most picturesque areas of Strasbourg. Located in the historic Grande Île district, this charming neighborhood is filled with winding cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses. It's also home to many of Strasbourg’s most iconic landmarks, including the Barrage Vauban ("Vauban Dam") and the Maison des Ponts Couverts ("house of covered bridges").

Petite France is a must-visit in Strasbourg. Let's visit it together!

About La Petite France district

Petite France was once the quarter of tanneries and mills of Strasbourg. This industrial activity explains the presence of many canals in the quarter, which were used both to feed the factories with water and to evacuate waste. The most notable feature of this district is its dams and locks. Visitors can take a boat tour through the canals and view the many bridges that link the two sides of the city.

It's a also great place to explore, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes to discover... and a photo-worthy spot, with its abundance of beautiful buildings and scenery: the rue du Bain-aux-Plantes, the covered bridges or the unmissable Pont du Faisan.

Over time, it has become a residential quarter, with typical houses of the Alsace region. These houses were once occupied by fishermen, tanners and millers, and are now much sought after by tourists.

Vauban Dam of La Petite France in Strasbourg
Vauban Dam of La Petite France in Strasbourg

La Petite France district must-see: what to do ?

For a complete visit of the district, here are some must-sees:

  1. Half-timbered houses: these typical houses of the region are one of the symbols of Petite France. Many of them are now hotels or restaurants with good gastronomy, but they still attract looks with their unique architecture.
  2. Canals: the canals of Petite France are one of the most romantic elements of the district. Take a boat for a romantic cruise or just stroll along the banks to admire the reflections of the houses on the water.
  3. Maison des Ponts Couverts: an old bath establishment then house of residence, the House of Covered Bridges is one of the most sought-after photo spots, especially in spring when its wisteria is in bloom
  4. The Vauban dam: it's a fortified building built in the 17th century. It has a panoramic terrace with a view on the district and on the Ill river. Another great photo spot!
  5. The Pont du Faisan: it's a small footbridge that you take behind the Maison des Tanneurs to go to the other side of the Ill river, near the old ice house. It is one of the main photo spots when it is activated at each passage of a fly boat to turn horizontally (and not vertically like a drawbridge) thanks to a hydraulic system.
House of Covered Bridges in Strasbourg in La Petite France district
House of Covered Bridges in La Petite France district

Petite France by boat to explore dams

One of the best ways to discover the district is by boat. Batorama offers fly boat tours of the Petite France and other parts of Strasbourg. You can board a comfortable boat and enjoy an audio system to inform you about the points of interest you will see. The cruise lasts about an hour and allows you to admire the traditional Alsatian houses, canals and other attractions by navigating on the River Ill.

Cruise on Batorama's fly boat by night
Cruise on Batorama's fly boat

Renting an electric boat is another more unusual option to discover Petite France. The company Marin d'eau douce offers small unlicensed boats and many itineraries. It's a more intimate and flexible experience than fly boat cruises, as you can choose your own itinerary and stop wherever you like. Renting an electric boat is also a more environmentally friendly option, as they're quiet and clean.

Petite France district at Christmas time in Strasbourg

Visiting this district in Strasbourg during the Christmas season is a truly magical experience...like a fairytale! The area is well-known for its traditional Christmas markets, historic buildings, canals, bridges, restaurants, and cozy cafés. The streets are illuminated with twinkling lights and garlands, and the atmosphere is filled with Christmas spirit. You can stroll along the rivers and canals, admiring the historic buildings and doing some shopping for souvenirs and local specialties. The Christmas markets are also a great opportunity to sample Alsatian delicacies and find unique gifts.

Find out more about Christmas market in Strasbourg 🎅

Where is Little France in Strasbourg?

The Petite France is located in the historic center of Strasbourg. It is easily accessible by foot from the streetcar station and the main points of interest in the city.

How to visit the neighborhood?

There are several ways to visit the Petite France neighborhood: on foot, by bike, by boat or by public transportation. If you choose the first option, you can discover the neighborhood in a more intimate way, getting lost in the alleys and admiring this Unesco world heritage site. If you prefer a more organized visit, you can opt for a boat cruise or a guided tour.

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.

Rent a bike in Strasbourg

By streetcar, I invite you to get off at the "Langstross Grand Rue" stop and then walk up this large cobblestone street. It will lead you right to this part of the city.

Where to park?

If you come by car, you can park in one of Strasbourg's underground parking lots. There are several in the city center, some of which are located near the neighborhood, such as the Parking Centre-Historique-Petite-France located on rue de Molsheim, next to the the Museum of Modern Art. All you have to do is walk along the Ill to get to the district La Petite France.

Where to eat in Petite France Strasbourg? The best restaurants

It's a lively neighborhood with many restaurants where you can enjoy typical local gastronomy. Here are some of the best restaurants in Petite France:

  • La corde à linge: with its huge terrace on the waterfront, this restaurant is nevertheless particularly popular in summer. You can taste there our traditional Alsatian pasta: the spatzle.
  • The restaurant l'Ami Schutz also offers an excellent fish sauerkraut as well as an exceptional roof on the waterfront overlooking the Ponts Couverts.
  • The Maison des Tanneurs is an excellent address to taste a royal sauerkraut in the typical setting of a half-timbered house
Terrace of La Corde à Linge restaurant at summertime
Terrace of La corde à linge restaurant on the cobblestone streets

Where to sleep? The best hotels in Petite France

It's not necessarily the best area to stay in Strasbourg. But 2 hotels are still worth a visit:

  • Le Régent Petite France: built in the old ice houses of Strasbourg, the Hotel Régent offers an exceptional and luxurious setting with a view of the Ill River in all rooms. It also offers an on-site restaurant and a wellness center with sauna, hammam and massage treatments.
  • Le bouclier d'Or: a luxurious hotel with spacious rooms, a wine bar and a wellness center with a spa bath, a sauna, a hammam and a massage room.
  • Nearby the district, I recommend the Hôtel des Haras, built in the magnificent setting of the former National Stud. The rooms are elegant, refined and comfortable, made with natural materials like wood and leather. Cherry on the black forest: the hotel has a beautiful indoor swimming pool... 2 steps away from Petite France!
Pool of Hotel Les Haras
Pool of Hotel Les Haras

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About Audrey
Hi, I'm Audrey! Since I arrived in Strasbourg for my studies, I've fallen in love with this city. I love good food, escape games and long walks. Hope to guide you well in Alsace:)
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