The historic and important city of Strasbourg, France is the largest in the Grand Est area in the far eastern section of France where it borders Germany. What started as the Roman Camp of Argentoratum in 12 BC is now the 2,000-year-old city of Strasbourg with a population of almost 300,000 people.
It is also home to the historic region of Alsace, known for its wineries and the Alsace wine region. With almost 1.9 million residents, the Alsatian culture is alive and well in this area with both German and French persuasions.
Rain can happen at any time of the year in Strasbourg but it is most often seen from May through August with about 10 inches of rain per month compared to the eight inches during the other eight months. But there is always something to do on rainy days here from major attractions to stunning museums and covered boat tours.
If you want to find out the best tours and attractions to visit in Strasbourg on a rainy day, stop by the Tourist Office next to the Cathedral. They have all the travel tips from the museums in the historic district of Petite France to the Animal Park in rural Illkirch-Graffenstaden.
Whether you are into modern and contemporary art, local wines, the city's history, or just a fascinating experience, you can find all that and more on a rainy day in Strasbourg. But first, find the nearest luggage storage site to leave your belongings for safekeeping and to keep them dry. Then you can enjoy the city at your leisure!
Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Spend a rainy day in Strasbourg at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art to enjoy some fantastic artwork done by the masters as well as new and upcoming artists. It is one of the largest art museums in France and boasts an extensive collection of more than 18,000 pieces of graphic art, sculptures, paintings, and more.
One of the most famous sculptures in the world, The Thinker by Rodin is found here as well as the Portrait de Marie Le Coeur by Renoir and pieces done by Picasso, Monet, and Rossetti. The museum also boasts several new temporary art exhibits every year. While visiting, be sure to stop at the gift shop for souvenirs.
Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
Also known as the Notre Dame and found in the Petite France historic district, this building was the tallest in the world from 1647 until 1874 at 107 feet tall. Although it was started in 1015, it was not finished until 1439. Before that, the Roman settlement of Argentoratum was there from 12 BC until the first cathedral was built in 575.
Today, the most famous attraction here is the historic astronomical clock as well as the Romanesque choir with neo-byzantine frescos from the 1800s. Possibly the reason it took so long to build was because of the thousands of small sculptures all over the building inside and out. The Notre Dame Cathedral is one you do not want to miss on a rainy day or any other day.
Strasbourg Oeuvre Notre-Dame Museum
Located just across from the Notre Dame Cathedral, this unique museum features Rhenish decorative and fine arts dating to the early Middle Ages. It is most well-known for its original collection of architectural pieces, stained glass windows, and sculptures.
The purpose of this museum was to organize a collection in the center of Strasbourg to hold the Rhenish art from the pre-1600s. See the 14th-century Gothic stained glass window by Mutzig, the Romanesque stained glass Head of Christ from the 11th century, and a baptismal font from the Master of Eschau.
The Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg
What used to be the city's slaughterhouse in the Middle Ages is now a historical museum. The building was full of butcher's stalls where they cut up their meat and sold it. In 1586, the building was rebuilt in stone with a great hall on the main floor to be used by other merchants.
After the meat market was moved, the building was used as the Decorative Arts Museum from 1859 until 1920. Here you can learn the history of Strasbourg from the middle ages until the modern days. You can take a guided tour or a free audio guide on your own. Either way, you will learn all about the people of Strasbourg, France.
The Rohan Palace, or House of Rohan, is the previous home of the cardinals and royals of France. It was constructed from 1732 - 1742 and is a masterpiece of French Baroque architecture by Robert de Cotte. Over the years, it has been home to Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, and Loius XV to name a few.
Besides being a palace, it is also home to three of the most important museums in Strasbourg. So this is definitely the perfect place to spend a rainy day in Strasbourg. You can spend all day and evening here and still not see it all. But you can come back another day whether it is raining or not.
The Archaeological Museum in the basement of the Rohan Palace is the oldest museum in Strasbourg and has been collecting important items for more than 300 years. Learn how Alsace and Strasbourg began from Prehistoric Times until the Merovingian Dynasty from the 5th - 7th centuries.
Find out about the Franco-Prussian War from 978 - 980, the construction of the Tramway in 1878, and the Caius Largennius funerary stele. Caius was a scion who died in 50 AD and was one of the founders of Argentoratum, the ancient city before it was named Strasbourg.
Museum of Decorative Arts
Also found at the Rohan Palace, the Museum of Decorative Arts has two sections. One side is a group of magnificent chambers of Empire, Rococo, and Baroque styles. The other half features a collection of Alsatian silver, gold, and porcelain masters' works from 1681 to 1870.
The chambers are full of period furniture and decor like murals, wood carvings, Chinoiserie, and Gobelins tapestries. The artistry and craftsmanship are stunning. On the other side, you can see porcelain pieces from the Strasbourg factory owned by Johann and Paul Hannong. The museum also features pieces of the first astronomical clock of the Strasbourg Cathedral.
Museum of Fine Arts
This important museum located on the first floor of the Rohan Palace lauds a stellar collection of European paintings dating back to 1870. Beginning with the primitives of Flemish and Italian artists like Memling and Giotto and ending with the 20th-century masters including Courbet, Corot, Chasseriau, and Delacroix.
Perhaps the most popular section in the museum is the Classicism, Naturalism, and Baroque artworks from the 17th and 18th centuries. These rooms include El Greco, Raphael, and Botticelli to name a few. There is also quite a collection of sculptures from artists like von Hildebrand, Vittoria, and Bandinelli.
Strasbourg Chocolate Museum by Schaal Geispolsheim
Take a break from all the history and artwork and take a walk through the Strasbourg Chocolate Museum for a different kind of history. Learn all about the secrets of Schaal, which is the main chocolatier in France. You will trace the past from the Equator to the chocolate factory of today.
Even though it is small, there are a plethora of fascinating items like old chocolate boxes from the monarchy times and the tools they used to make the chocolate. And of course, there are samples to try and a gift shop where you can get some delicious souvenirs.
The Planetarium Strasbourg
Spend your rainy day in Strasbourg at the University of Strasbourg searching the skies for planets and stars. When you visit this museum, you will be amazed at the things you can see. Discover the constellations in the southern sky like the Southern Cross and take a cosmic trip to the stars.
At the Vault of the Stars, there are dozens of interactive exhibits with learning screens to tell you all about the astronomical history of Strasbourg and search for planets above the country of France. Be sure to take the time to see the Coronelli Globe.
Strasbourg Zoological Museum
Right next to the Planetarium, the Strasbourg Zoological Museum may not be the typical zoo you are used to but it is certainly full of animals. In fact, here you can see over 1.3 million invertebrates, with 10,000 mammals, 1,300 amphibians and reptiles, 18,000 birds, and one million insects.
Unlike your traditional zoo, here you can get up close and personal with a huge polar bear, walrus, elephant seal, and chimpanzees. Most of the collection features endangered animals from Alsace including fauna from the Ried, Rhine Forest, and the Vosges Mountains.
Alsatian Museum Strasbourg
Established in 1907, the Alsatian Museum is open to visitors with free entry to visit whether it is a rainy day or sunny day in Strasbourg. There are more than 5,000 items and exhibits spread over three renovated Renaissance houses located along the Ill River in the center of the city. The houses are linked by a maze of passages to see how German and French communities merged.
The homes are redone with traditional decor and furniture from the times with 30 rooms full of tools, costumes, toys, dishes, and other housewares. There is one section dedicated to the Alsatian Jews dating back to 1165. Besides all that, the museum hosts revolving exhibits several times per year.
Batorama Covered Boat Cruise
Just because it is a rainy day in Strasbourg, France, it does not mean you cannot take a cruise on the Ill River. The Barorama Covered Boat Cruises will keep you dry while you get unique views of places of interest that you cannot see on land. There are several different routes you can choose from.
Each one of these cruises is just over an hour long and narrated with all the data and information about the local attractions. See the historic bridges, the imperial section, Petite France, and a variety of European Institutions. You may have already visited some of these but you did not see them from this point of view.
Grande Ile of Strasbourg
In the center of Strasbourg, you can find an island with attractions like palaces and churches, shopping, and dining, inside and out. Surrounded by the Ill River on one side and the Faux Rempart Canal on the other, the island is a UNESCO Heritage Site due to its medieval cities and monuments.
You can visit Kleber Place, the St. Thomas Bridge, the Strasbourg Cathedral, and Petite France all in one space. There are also four other old churches including St. Etienne, St. Pierre le Jeune, and St. Thomas as well as historic hotels and palaces.
A terrific time on a rainy day in Strasbourg
If it is still raining and you are looking for more to do, check out the tourist office right next to Notre Dame Cathedral. Here you can learn about the interesting places that are not on the map but are hidden gems you do not want to miss. You may not be able to visit all the rest of the city in one day, but you can see a lot on a rainy day in Strasbourg.
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