Length: 4.4 km (2.7 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 beautiful, interesting and has a split personality. The streetlife is definitely French, the old buildings are definitely German, the streetsigns are bilingual. Even most of the people living here bridge two worlds, two cultures: most have French first names and German family names.
|Strasbourg, La Petite France at night, photo by Photos de Daniel|
You're lucky if you're spending some time in Strasbourg. You can take this route, which will lead you through the main sights in the old town, looping through Place Kleber, the cathedral, along the canal-like Ill River, to Petite France, down the old main street, Rue Grand, and back to the start again.
The old town sits on a large island in the Ill River, surrounded on every side by water, which flows into the Rhine a few kilometers downstream.
The Strasbourg Old Town Route
So, off we go... We'll start at Place Homme de Fer, with its ring-shaped glass roof over the busy tram station. This is one of the city's main crossroads for public transport, and easily reached from all parts of town.
Turn to the south, towards La Maison Rouge and run into the much bigger Place Kleber, the city's biggest square. Flanking the north side, to your left, is the 250-year-old Aubette building, now a hotel. A statue dedicated to General Kleber, a French Revolution hero, stands in the center. A diagonal line in the pavement leads you in the right direction.
|Place Kleber: follow that diagonal line! Photo by mksfca|
After a block, you'll see how the street got its name. All the shops on the left side have an arcade at street level, where shoppers can walk in comfort when it rains. In the middle ages, that was a common precursor to the modern shopping center.
Soon, you will run through the next square, Place Gutenberg. Gutenberg, inventor of the modern printing press, lived in Strasbourg for 10 years.
At the far end of the square, at the beautiful half-timbered house with the Bollinger shop, turn left on Rue Merciere. You will be running right at the amazing facade of the cathedral, the Münster.
|Approaching the cathedral, photo by kleintjef|
I always love stopping here and taking-in all the amazing statuary over the entrances. When you're better dressed, you'll need to come back and stroll through the gothic church itself. The little street leading off to the right is full of restaurants, and one of the town's main areas to go out in the evening.
|View past Kammerzell to Münster, photo by rick mn|
Run past the house, and then turn right at the next street, Rue des Hallebardes. Keep running straight northeast for about six blocks.
|Rue des Hallabardes, photo by Drumaboy|
Cross the little plaza and then turn left on Rue de la Courtine. Run the two blocks to the River Ill straight ahead. Across the bridge, you'll see the beautiful kaiser-era high-school.
But we'll stay on the island. Turn right here and run on the sidewalk along the water, on Quai St.-Etienne. It will curve to the right and follow the shore going southwest.
|Along the Ill, photo by MekTouB|
One bridge later, you will run past the old customs house.
|Looking back to the Customs House on left, photo by kleintjef|
Run past the massive red sandstone St. Thomas church, then turn left on Rue de la Monnaie (Mint street). You'll first run by the music school on the left, painted red.
The main street then curves to the right, but keep running straight along the narrow Rue des Dentelles. You'll run past a lot of restaurants until it opens up onto a square on the riverside. Suddenly, you're here, at Petite France, named after the French prisoners of war once kept here in a long-ago war.
|Tanners house. Cross that bridge to the left! Photo by Veejay Hast|
|In Petite France, photo by noukorama|
Keep running as the street curves to the left and bridges the main river at the back side of the red music school we ran past before. There is a great view of the scene from the bridge.
|View from turn-around point on bridge. Photo by noukorama|
At the end of the park, turn right at the impressive row of stone watchtowers.
|Watchtowers at Petite France, photo by mksfca|
Turn left on Seyboth and run north until you get to Grand Rue, where you turn right and run eastwards into the town center again. This was once Strasbourg's main shopping street, and is still full of stores and restaurants.
Run until you reach Rue du Fosse des Tanneurs, where you turn left. Run the last few blocks straight back to the starting place at Place Homme de Fer.