488km (303 miles) SE of Paris; 217km (135 miles) SW of Frankfurt
The capital of Alsace, Strasbourg is one of France's greatest cities and the birthplace of pâté de foie gras. Here Rouget de Lisle first sang "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem. Strasbourg is one of France's major ports, only 3km (1 3/4 miles) west of the Rhine. In addition to being the site of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament, which convenes at the Palais de l'Europe.
In 1871, Strasbourg was absorbed by Germany and made the capital of the territory of Alsace-Lorraine. It reverted to France in 1918. One street is a perfect illustration of the city's identity crisis: More than a century ago it was avenue Napoleon. In 1871, it became Kaiser-Wilhelmstrasse, and then boulevard de la République in 1918. In 1940, it became Adolf-Hitler-Strasse, and it ended up as avenue du Général-de-Gaulle in 1945.
Now one of the most happening cities in France, Strasbourg is home to the University of Strasbourg, once attended by the likes of Goethe, Napoleon, and Pasteur. Today, some 40,000 students follow in their footsteps.