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    Car hire in Strasbourg - Discovering Eastern France

    Strasbourg, the heart of the historic region of Alsace and one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is famous for its half-timbered houses, scenic canals and Gothic Cathedral, as well as its beauty and charm. Located a mile from the Rhine and flanked by the Vosges Mountains to the west and Germany’s Black Forest to the east, it was first settled in 1300 BC as a Celtic Market Town named Argentorate. 100 years later it was conquered by the Romans and renamed Argentoratum. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Alsace was occupied by the Alemanni and would only become French in the 17th century.

    Nowadays, the people of Alsace speak French while the historic Germanic culture of the city is tangible and part of Strasbourg's identity. Many signs are written in French and Alsatian (a German dialect) and signs on many historical buildings are written using the classical German Gothic script. But despite the language, most traditional dishes are more German than French. Flammküchen is a dish that’s a mix between a quiche Lorraine and pizza, and Choucroute is served as a major delicacy during Christmas time, when this breathtaking city transforms itself into a fairy-tale setting thanks to its many quaint street markets.

    With a car hire in Strasbourg, you can discover this popular city (the official seat of the European parliament) and even take a tour through Germany. Auto Europe works with the very best rental suppliers in the area so that you will get the best and most affordable rates when you book with us. Just compare the prices in three easy steps on our website by using our state-of-the-art booking engine or call our reservations specialists on +44 123 3225 114. Our friendly and award-winning rental agents are on hand and very happy to help you with your reservation or answer any questions you might have.

    How is the traffic in Strasbourg?

    Like in many other old cities, driving your car rental in Strasbourg can be a test of patience. As a medieval town it has many narrow streets as well as plenty of one-way streets, canals and bridges. There are also several roads designated for pedestrians and/or bikes. Whilst driving around this picturesque city, you will find that it is designed to promote clean air, so congestion charges and environmental restrictions are due to come into force from 2022 onwards. For tourists, the centre is easy to manage on foot and parking your car for a walk-around is highly recommended. The popularity of public transportation means that traffic congestion is rarely a problem, although it might occur during the rush-hour on the major motorway links in and out of the city. When you’re travelling, you should note that the French drive on the right-hand side of the road and speed limits can differ according to the weather. In normal weather conditions, the limit is 80 mph (130 kph) on motorways, 49 mph (80 kph) on other roads and 31 mph (50 kph) in built-up areas. For more useful tips, please consult our France driving guide.

    Where can I park my car hire in Strasbourg?

    Parking your car hire in Strasbourg won’t be a problem. There are several low-cost parking facilities connected to the public transport system just outside the city centre. On-street parking is colour-coded, with red and orange indicating you can park for up to two hours and green for a maximum of three hours. Costs will vary depending on which zone you park in; green is the cheapest and red the most expensive. The charges will apply from Monday to Saturday (9am to 7pm) and parking is free on Sundays and public holidays. Parking meters will allow you to pay with coins, credit and debit card, but also via the contactless mobile NFC system. During the process, you must type in the licence plate as a ticket is no longer printed, but you can still get a receipt (not necessary to place either a ticket or the receipt on the dashboard). You can also pay using three apps on your phone – OpnGO, Whoosh! and Easypark – and they allow you to alter your parking time. When using the app, you no longer have to go to the meter as your position is geo-localised by the app. There are also blue zones where parking is free as long as the maximum parking time is respected. Blue areas will require the European blue disc to be placed inside the car behind the windshield on the side of the pavement, after having indicated your time of arrival on the disc.

    Other parking solutions are available, such as managed car parks. For long-term and affordable options, we recommend Centre Historique (Petite France), Étoile P2 (movie theatre), Saint-Aurélie Gare and Wodli Gare. Medium and short-term alternatives are located at Saint-Nicolas, Étoile P1 (shopping centre), Tanneurs, Gare Courte Durée and Centre Administratif. If you are looking for a park and ride, the most affordable options are the Parking Relais + Tram (10 minutes from the city centre) and the Centre Historique Parking for a lower rate.

    Strasbourg Airport

    Strasbourg Airport is located in Entzheim, a short distance south-west of Strasbourg (6.2 miles/10 km). The airport consists of a single passenger terminal building with all of the major facilities you need. To rent a car in Strasbourg is easy and will allow you to explore the area at your own pace. It is possible to fly directly to Strasbourg with Jet2 from Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle. Flights with Air France, Iberia, Brussels Airlines and more are also available for other destinations. The car hire desks are located in the arrival area, opposite the baggage claim, and next the terminal entrance.

    Strasbourg Airport (SXB)
    Telephone: +33 388 646 767
    Address: RD 221 /Route de l'Aéroport, 67960 Entzheim, France
    Website: https://www.strasbourg.aeroport.fr/en

    What to do in Strasbourg

    Grande Ile or Grand Island (as the historic cite centre is known) has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its splendid architecture. There are numerous institutions of the European Union in Strasbourg, as both the European Parliament, the European Court for Human Rights and the Council of Europe all have their headquarters in the city. Driving your car rental in Strasbourg is the best way to discover its many nooks and crannies, and below you can find a list of the sights you should not miss on your trip here.

    • Christmas Market: If you have the chance, visit Strasbourg during Christmas time. This market has been a tradition since 1570 when it was called Christkindelsmärik (Market of the Baby Jesus) and is France’s oldest Christmas market. Throughout the historic centre, around 300 stalls sell Christmas decorations, hand-crafted gifts, gingerbread and other seasonal Alsatian delicacies. The market usually runs from the 27th of November through to the 30th of December.

    • Cathédrale Notre-Dame: Considered the world’s tallest building from 1647 to 1874 and still the sixth tallest church in the world today, this astonishing Gothic masterpiece of pink-tinted Vosges sandstone reaches a height of 466 feet (142 metres) making the Cathedral visible as far as the Vosges Mountains and even the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine river. The cathedral was built on the foundations of a Roman Basilica and its Gothic façade is so ornate that its rose window looks like lacework in the middle. If you have the chance, try to get there at 12.30am so you can hear the clock chime and see the Apostles parade before Jesus. And above all, don't let the arduous 332-step walk up the spiral staircase defeat you. Just head up to the top platform of the bell tower and you will be rewarded with the most splendid views stretching for more than 19 miles (30 km).

    • La Petite France: Wandering around Little France will take you right back in time. This picturesque and well-preserved historic quarter once housed the local fishermen, millers and tanners. Most of the houses are surrounded by four canals and date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. On the corners are four 14th-century towers that are part of the original ramparts. The narrow streets are full of restaurants and shops, making it the perfect place for lunch or a coffee.

    • Parc de l’Orangerie: This wonderful park located opposite the European Parliament and the Court of Human Rights took shape during the revolution when 140 orange trees were planted. Nowadays, only three of the 140 trees remain but you can still see them on certain days. There is more to this lovely park than the orange trees! You have a large boating lake, long leafy avenues and even a mini-zoo for the kids.

    • Imperial Quarter: Also known as the German Quarter, here you can discover a range of architectural styles, including Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Rococo, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, Haussmanian and more. Most of its avenues were destroyed or severely damaged throughout the centuries due to the French defeat and the 1870 siege. It is an interesting area with large open squares, tree-lined avenues and several impressive houses – both private and public.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Strasbourg

    When you opt to rent a car in Strasbourg, your holiday in this medieval place won’t be complete without some day-trips to some of the most interesting neighbouring areas. Thanks to its convenient location, the city is also the perfect base from which to embark on a longer road-trip in the EU. Below we have put together some of our top suggestions for an enjoyable day-trip whilst visiting Strasbourg;

    Alsace Wine Route

    These world-famous vineyards are located along the eastern slopes of the Vosges in an area known for its pretty villages, some of which are classified as the most beautiful villages in France. This enchanting journey of 106 miles (170 km) covers the north and south of Alsace. Your first stop should be at the historic vineyards of Cleebourg where the first vines were planted in the 8th century and all the Alsatian grape varieties are represented here. Colmar is a mandatory stop as it is the Alsatian wine capital and you'll end up driving alongside the vineyards. Next, you should set off to discover the vineyards of Guebwiller, which is the only town with 4 classified Grands Cru wines in its area. Your journey will end in Thann where you can discover Rangen, Alsace's most southerly (and steepest) vineyard.

    Colmar

    Besides being an essential stop on the Wine Route, you’ll need to take time to fall in love with Colmar, or little Venice as it is known due to its many canals, in addition to numerous architectural treasures ranging from the 13th century to the neo-baroque early 20th century. Take a tour on the little boats of Little Venice to see two different parts of the city and don't forget to look up because the houses are painted with intricate details under their eaves.

    Baden-Baden

    The 19th-century spa town Baden-Baden located on the edge of the Black Forest has been a getaway for over 200 years. Get ready to cross the border for a relaxing day at one of the many historic thermal spas. There are nude saunas here, but if you’d prefer to avoid them you have a vast number of indoor and outdoor pools, steam rooms and even a brine inhalation room available. Don't forget to try the many local delicacies, such as Maultaschen (German ravioli) or Käsespätzle (cheesy egg noodles with fried onions) paired with a glass of fine local wine.

    Europa-Park

    If you are looking for thrilling adventures and breathtaking rides, you cannot miss Europa-Park. The biggest theme park in Europe has been run by the same family since its opening in 1975 and is located in the Black Forest. There are 13 roller-coaster rides and a representing of the different countries in its 950,000 square-metre area (Russia, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Iceland and many more). There are several water rides, themed hotels, restaurants and endless shows and entertainment.

    How to get around Strasbourg

    As mentioned, Strasbourg’s historic centre is very easy to discover on foot but if you prefer to use public transport when getting to and from different sights, then there are several ways for you to get around. A good number of taxis circulate the city and you can hail one on the street or book one on the Strasbourg Taxi webpage. Renting a car is a good option, especially if combined with other transport options below

    Bicycle

    As in many other French cities, there is a bike-sharing programme called Vélhop. You can register at their booth on 3 Rue d’Or or at the train station.

    Bus and Tram

    The Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS) operates the bus and tram systems in the city. Trams run daily between 4am and midnight and every few minutes during the rush-hour. Buses run daily between 5am to midnight with limited services on Sundays. The most useful lines for visitors are the numbers 4 and 6 for travel and sightseeing in and around the city centre. Tickets can be bought from CTS offices, post offices and ticket machines at tram and bus stops. You must stamp your ticket for validation in dedicated machines upon boarding the bus or before boarding the tram.

    Train

    Gare Centrale de Strasbourg is the second-largest train station in France. It offers a wide range of connections to other parts of France, in addition to countries such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. With the high-speed TGV train, Paris is just 2.30 hours away. There are ticket shops at the station or you can pre-book and pay for your tickets online for a better rate.

    Useful links

    Experience Alsace

    Visit Alsace

    Visit Strasbourg