Canals and medieval houses run through the heart of Petite France, a quaint region in Strasbourg. This part of the city is remarkably charming with its many covered bridges and waterways that reflect light at night. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this pretty area, as you stroll past shops, cafés and restaurants.
Historically, Petite France was associated with slaughterhouses, flour mills and tanning houses where leather was made. Although its name evokes romantic connotations, it actually derives from a hospital for syphilis, which was known among Germans as the “French disease.”
Take a grand tour of the area on the Petit Train to see its sights in style. Hear stories, commentary and historical information as you ride. Take photos of the timeless timbered houses facing the banks of the canals. Gaze up at the Ponts Couverts, an iconic bridge featuring medieval towers. Look for the Vauban Dam guarding the southwest side of the Grande Île. Admire the grass-covered roof of this former fortress and learn about its intriguing history.
Come to the district in the morning to avoid the crowds or in the evening to view the bridges and houses illuminated in warm light. This area is like a large open-air museum, with its old structures giving a sense of how Alsace may have appeared in the Middle Ages.
Purchase souvenirs, such as postcards, books and T-shirts, which capture the spirit of this serene neighborhood.
This part of the town and its bridges are free to visit and remain open at all times. A small fee is required to ride the Petit Train.
Find the historic Petite France quarter on the western end of Grande Île, where the River Ill splits. Arrive at the city’s main railway station and walk southeast for around 10 minutes to reach Petite France. Alternatively, take a bus to one of the many stops in the district.