Encircled by the River Ill and the Canal du Faux Rempart, the Grande Île or “Big Island,” is the UNESCO–listed historic center of Strasbourg and home to the majority of the city’s top attractions. For most visitors to the city, the Grande Île serves as the prime focus of sightseeing tours. It also hosts Strasbourg’s world-famous Christmas market during the festive season.
Start your walking tour at the legendary Cathedral of Notre Dame, the city’s most iconic landmark, where you can take in views of the city from the 216-foot-high (66 meters) viewing platform. Next door, the Palais Rohan (Rohan Palace) is home to the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Galerie Robert Heitz, while the ornate Maison Kammerzell is a fine example of a half-timbered medieval townhouse. Additional highlights include the St Thomas Church and the picturesque La Petite France district, where the River Ill feeds a network of canalways crossed by the Vauban Dam and the historic Covered Bridges.