Length: 8.4 km (5.2 miles), terrain flat
Strasbourg running routes:
Strasbourg Old Town run
Strasbourg European Quarter route
For more running routes, see Route List.
Photos courtesy of Flickr CreativeCommons
Strasbourg (Straßburg) is the capital of Alsace, once a German-speaking area, but in the last 100 years, after two bloody wars, has been basically francofied.
But the 20th century conflicts, as bitter as they were, also kindled a cross-border desire to overcome the old rivalries, and create a lasting peace. This determination has evolved into today's European Union (EU).
So what better home than Strasbourg to set up the most important EU institutions? Just north of the old town, in the Wacken neighborhood, you'll find the European Parliament, the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe and other flamboyant European buildings, the French/German Eurocorps army unit, as well as the French/German TV Channel, Arte.
|European Quarter, photo by joelkelly|
Like the other Strasbourg route, this one begins at the Place Homme de Fer, the old town's main tram station. Run south out of the square into the much bigger Place Kleber, where you turn left and run eastwards to the far side of the square.
|Place Kleber, photo by frankartculinary|
Run a straight ahead for few blocks. Then the street opens into the long, tree-lined Broglie market square.
Keep running northeast through the square, and you'll come to the statue-crowned, red sandstone opera house.
|Place Broglie with opera house, photo by pixxiefish|
You are now entering the circular Place de la Republique. On the other three sides it's lined by monumental buildings: the National Theater, the National Library, the provincial government buildings and the old kaiser's palace on the left side.
|Place de la Repbublique, photo by Mister Bing|
When you come to the next bridge at the River Ill, turn left onto Quai Koch.
Running the one block to the next bridge, you'll see the twin steeples of St. Paul's church ahead.
|View of St. Paul's, photo by nudaedalus|
Run along Quai Zorn until it ends at Rue Ohmacht, where you turn right and run till the next street on the left, Rue du General Ducrot. Run down this street until it ends at at the Ill River, on Quai Mullenheim, and you turn left to run north towards the European Quarter. The buildings are already visible down the river.
In one block, you'll pass the glass headquarters of Arte on the left, the French/German cultural TV broadcaster, one of my favorite stations.
Across the river on the right, you'll see wavy facade of the EU Parliament office buildings, while straight ahead the Parliament itself is an impressive circular building looking like a modern colloseum. There is a raised bridge joining the two buildings across the river.
|European Parliament, photo by flosch42|
The path will curve past the main entrance and head towards a bridge over a canal, to the north.
Cross the bridge and turn right, to run next to the tram tracks along the canal, heading southeast. You get a great view of the buildings again here, and you'll see another one coming up on your left: the modernesque European Court of Human Rights. It looks a bit like a couple of huge boiler tanks set out on a lawn.
|Court of Human Rights, phto by frankartculinary|
Turn right on Avenue de l'Europe and head southwest. In just 100 meters, you'll see the huge Palace of Europe on the right, the headquarters of the Council of Europe. The council is not part of the EU: it's an older organization, in which many non-EU members participate, not quite fitting into the modern European fabric. I'm not quite sure what the council does, and I doubt that most Europeans know that it exists.
|Council of Europe, photo by davenportweb|
|Orangerie fountain, photo by Francois Schnell|
After a half-kilometer, you'll come to Avenue de la Foret Noire, (Black Forest Avenue), where you turn right. You are now heading into the university area.
At triangular Place Arnold, you'll see the Botanical Gardens on the left. At the end of the garden, turn left on Rue Goethe, which soon curves to the right and runs northwest past more of the gardens and university buildings.
When the street curves to the left, you'll see the main university building on the left side, where you turn left to run by its main entrance.
|University main entrance, photo by faraway3000|
For the last part of the run, we'll try something different. Run straight across the place to the Palais du Rhin (the ex-kaiser-palace is now used for the river authority), then turn left to run to the Ill River. Then turn right and run along the tree-lined shore as it curves to the left, with the old town across the water.
|The Palais du Rhin, photo by Photos de Daniel|