Exploring Strasbourg's Hidden Gem: The Enchanting River L'Ill

Written by: Rachel Vogeleisen



Time to read 4 min

The landscape in Strasbourg is punctuated by the Ill river, which flows through the city and provides a beautiful backdrop to many of its sights. It's a place of peace and tranquility for locals, tourists and visitors alike.

Strasbourg is the city of my heart, since I left this place it has changed tremendously. It's not just that bicycles and pedestrians are at the centre; they also got rid of cars in downtown Strasbourg! In this blog post you'll be taking a walk along l'Ill river with me for a city walk in Strasbourg that will start at Strasbourg Train station.

Strasbourg Train station to Place Benjamin Zix

From the station take the Rue du Maire Kuss and follow the river l'Ill trail towards Quai de Turkheim, in front of you will see the "barrage Vauban" also called the Great lock built by the admiral Vauban in the 17th century. The function of this lock was to protect the city by raising the river level in case of an attack. The building on the right of the great lock used a to be a prison for women, it was also a former convent, nowadays it's the headquarter of the French school of administration (ENA).

Continue to walk towards the Pont Couvert Bridge with the four towers that where erected in defence of the city during the 13th century .

On the bridge you will spot a gorgeous villa with an alley way covered in Wisteria, the wisteria is usually in bloom during the month of May. I invite you to walk down along the river behind the restaurant l'Ami Schutz this will give you a nice view over the half-timbered houses opposite and the restaurant au petit bois vert.

Walking along the river spot the beautiful half-timbered houses, this path will take you to the the turning bridge called the Pont du Faisan leading into the rue du moulin. Continue walking along that street and turn right towards the square Benjamin Zix, this is a beautiful square to wander during summer time and dine al fresco.




Strasbourg Petite-France

Place Benjamin Zix to the Cathedral

From the square Benjamin Zix continue towards the lock you are basically walking on the river, if you're lucky you will see a river boat waiting for the water to level inside the lock. This will give you a beautiful view point onto the Maison des Tanneurs, one of Strasbourg most famous restaurant to eat a choucroute. Continue walking along the river where you will cross under the bridge Pont St Martin and spot another famous restaurant on your right called the Pont St Martin and the half-timbered houses next to it.

Strasbourg Maison des Tanneurs

Continue your walk under the bridge and walk along the river, you will spot another famous Restaurant called l'Ancienne Douane and Pont du Corbeau next to it. After crossing under the bridge you will enter the river boat area where you can embark on a river cruise, one of the best way to discover Strasbourg.

Strasbourg Quai des Bateliers

Spot the imposing and very French building in front of you The Palais Rohan you're at the back of the Palais Rohan Museum. This museum was the former residence of the Rohan a noble french family from Brittany and was built in 1730. The palace has hosted a few French "celebs" like Louis XV, Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon and Josephine. The Cathedral is basically just on the other side but I invite you to walk along the river a little further. When you come out the of the back of the Palais, cross the bridge towards the quai des Bateliers but don't forget to stop in the middle for a beautiful panorama over the river on the right towards the Pont du Corbeau and on the left over the Passerelle de L'abreuvoir how many bicycles can you spot over the passerelle?

The quai des Bateliers is now completely pedestrian and the waltz of bicycle makes it a typical sight. Continue along the Quai to cross the River again over the Pont St Guillaume. Stop on the bridge for a beautiful sight right and left of the river. Eglise St Paul on your right and Passerelle de l'Abreuvoir on your left. Continue walking along the river over the Quai St Etienne to the Pont St Etienne where you will spot the Lycée International des Pontonniers Strasbourg the very selective International school.

Walk back into rue de la Courtine towards place Ste Etienne, and take the Rue des Frères that will lead you to the Cathedrale. Don't forget to stop en route at the Place du Marché Gayot a very animated square and gorgeous outdoors to dine or lunch al fresco.

Strasbourg Place du Marché Gayot

This way will lead you to the most famous monument in Strasbourg the Cathedral entirely built in pink sandstone. The cathedral was a massive project launched in 1015 and completed 400 years later! Due to the fragility of the sandstone the building is in a constant state of repair. The building is one of the most famous example of rayonnant gothic. Go and visit the inside and walk up to the tower is you're brave enough. Celebrate your walk with a lunch or dinner at Strasbourg famous Maison Kammerzell, a well preserved medieval building in Gothic architecture. The house was erected in 1427 and belongs to the German renaissance style. Take the time to wander around the Cathedral building and the small streets that will take you back to medieval Strasbourg.