City break in Strasbourg, the eco-friendly epicurean of Alsace and Europe
Epicurean, eco-friendly, cosmopolitan at the heart of Europe, Alsace’s capital has a lot going for it. From the Ill to the Rhine, via its museums, hotels, winstubs and Michelin-starred restaurants, it offers an enchanting and singular art of living. The first French historic urban center to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, in 1988, the border city boasts an incomparable architectural heritage, a palpable energy and some highly recommended addresses.
Staying at the brand-new Léonor
From 1732, the residence of Marshal Léonor Marie du Maine du Bourg, Governor General of Alsace and later Marshal of France, became a court house after the French Revolution, then a courthouse and police station until 2009. The historic building has now been restored to its former glory, becoming the hippest hotel in the Alsatian capital. The renovation, masterfully carried out by Jean-Philippe Nuel, responsible for the metamorphosis of the Hôtel Dieu in Marseille and the Molitor swimming pool in Paris, was driven by the desire to weave a story between the different parts of the building, converting a heritage space into a living space. A successful gamble… As soon as you pass through the majestic 19th-century façade, the lobby opens onto an immense inner courtyard, transformed into a terrace in fine weather. Guests flock here to savour the menu devised by Nicolas Stamm and Serge Schaal, the famous duo behind Obernai’s two-star Fourchette des Ducs restaurant. Served only in the restaurant until spring, the menu reflects the signature of these culinary creators who sublimate the best of local resources to deliver a cuisine of terroir, whose solid classical foundations allow for creative flights of fancy. The Alsatian accent meets the intonations of a cuisine d’auteur, perfectly executed by Axelle and Mathias Stelter. The 116 rooms and suites follow in the same vein, drawing comforting warmth from the colors of Strasbourg. Tailor-made furniture hybridizes uses, and wallpapers, custom-made from motifs found on the site, provide an enveloping decorative element. A thebaid that the people of Strasbourg have been quick to make their own!
11 rue de la Nuée-Bleue,
03 67 29 29 29 – leonor-hotel.com/fr
Shedding tears... of pleasure at Crocodile
Relais & Châteaux since 1984, this is THE best restaurant in Strasbourg, which chef Emile Jung once crowned with three stars. A crocodile – legend has it that a grognard brought it back from Egypt – sits enthroned in a glass case, a reminder of the historic dimension of the famous establishment. In 2020, following a complete renovation, the establishment reinvented itself with continuity. In terms of decor, Cédric Moulot, the head of the house, wanted to maintain a sober elegance: black walls, Lalique sconces and tablecloths highlight the large 19th-century peasant fresco. In the kitchen, chef Romain Brillat, former second-in-command to Mathieu Viannay in Lyon and Gilles Goujon at Fontjoncouse, strikes just the right balance between classicism and sophistication. This is demonstrated by his original work with scallops (walnuts, bards and coral) and black truffles, as well as more classic dishes such as turbot à la grenobloise. His vigorous score, superbly mastered and full of zest, earned him an immediate return (and that’s rare!) of the macaron he had relinquished on taking up his post…
10 rue de l’Outre, 67000 Strasbourg
au-crocodile.com – relaischateaux.com/fr
Slumming it at Yvonne's
Winstub founded by Eugène Jacquemet in 1873 under the name S’Burjerstuewel (the bourgeois frying pan), at a time when drinking wine was a sign of loyalty to France, the establishment owes its name to Yvonne Haller, who managed it from 1956 to 2001. A veritable institution in Strasbourg, whose reputation extends far beyond Alsace’s borders, Chez Yvonne ticks all the boxes of an authentic address: wines in pitchers, traditional dishes generously served, rustic furniture, small checked curtains and souvenir photos of Boris Eltsine, Helmut Kohl, Johnny Hallyday, Jeanne Moreau and Jacques Chirac… Her favorite menu? Escargots for starters, followed by sauerkraut, washed down with a Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Kaefferkopf and a nice cold Corona! But you can also enjoy a fillet of pike-perch on sauerkraut, a Maennerstolz “pride of man” (smoked sausage) with potato salad, or a young Riesling rooster with spaëtzle.
10 rue du Sanglier, 67000 Strasbourg
03 88 32 84 15
Eco-responsible dinner at Boma
The Boma, an “easy living hotel” opened in 2017, cultivates an offbeat, friendly spirit. Just like its restaurant, which serves refined cuisine enhanced by lively, traditional wines selected by Michelin-starred chef Thierry Schwartz, and a lively live music program. Maud David, a young chef trained by Gérald Passedat and Lionel Levy, creates a short but sharp menu based around 4 starters, 4 main courses and 4 desserts, sourced, preferably locavore, but always infused with southern flavours. In keeping with the times, the flexitarian menu offers home-cooked, seasonal, heartfelt and anti-wasteful cuisine, where each product is valued in its entirety. The marinated organic egg is paired with Chinese cabbage topped with kimchi; the velouté of the moment scented with herb oil is matched without counterfeit with a mixture of seeds; the rack of veal celebrates its wedding with rutabaga in all its states and cauliflower offers a variation without false gourmet note. The result? A real place to live, a favorite meeting place for guests and Strasbourgeois alike.
7 rue du 22-Novembre, 67000 Strasbourg
boma-bistro.com – 03 90 00 00 20
Engaged dreaming at the Tomi Ungerer Museum
From the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain to the Palais de Rohan, Strasbourg has a rich cultural offering. The exhibition not to be missed at the start of the year? “Folon. A committed dreamer”. Until July 3, as part of the “Rencontres de l’Illustration” program and in partnership with the Folon Foundation, the Musée Tomi Ungerer is honoring this protean creator, too long assimilated to the psychedelic credits of the early days of Antenne 2. One hundred and fifty original works tell the story of a free spirit, a man of encounters, a humanist with tireless curiosity. Painter, poster artist, sculptor, set designer, Folon is a witness to an era. His poetic graphic style and strong, simple line quickly won him international acclaim: from posters for Woody Allen and Amnesty International to a MacMan project for Steve Jobs, the Belgian knows how to put ideas down on paper. And even if his main concern is to illustrate the major ills of contemporary society with his iconic little Universal Man, a blue man in a hat who evolves in a labyrinthine, mechanized world, he makes a point of ensuring that his “colors live love stories together”.
Musée Tomi Ungerer,
2 avenue de la Marseillaise, 67000 Strasbourg
Letting go at the Haras
This nugget of Strasbourg’s heritage, transformed into a hotel, has been shining brightly for the past five years. At the gateway to Petite France, Les Haras opens a dialogue between calm, comfort and innovation over more than a hectare. Behind the classic facades, design and gastronomy rival each other in boldness. The brasserie, entrusted to double Michelin-starred chef Marc Haerberlin, offers popular market cuisine. The decor, by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, tames outsized volumes: strong gestures, like the masterly circular staircase, that contribute to its success. The rooms follow the same codes, while respecting the architectural integrity of these former National Studs, listed as a historic monument. Using natural materials such as wood, leather, linen and cotton, the asceticism of the lines and shapes nurtures the elegance of these cocoons that offer travelers the luxury of time to themselves, as if suspended: a precious invitation to reverie and rest. Today, the hotel is expanding to include 60 new rooms, a spa and seminar rooms, all housed in a new building redesigned by Jouin and Manku. Connected to the Haras by a stunningly designed tunnel, this extension is set in a luminous space where fine materials and a zen art of living reign supreme. In the basement, the 450 m2 spa is an architectural success designed as a protective envelope for the body. In the three cabins, one of which is a duo, therapists dispense a host of Nuxe treatments, specifically developed for the hotel. The curvaceous sauna and hammam, and the spectacular eighteen-metre-long swimming pool opening onto a rock garden, complete the experience of letting go.
23 rue des Glacières, 67000 Strasbourg
les-haras-hotel.com/fr – 03 90 20 50 00
Escape to Hotel La Diligence
A charming medieval town on the famous Alsace wine route, Obernai is just half an hour’s drive from Strasbourg. Ideal for a weekend in this picture-postcard village, which boasts two Michelin-starred restaurants, Hotel La diligence houses 33 rooms behind its historic half-timbered façade. Designed by the Frög agency, they exude a modern, elegant charm. The top floor features two suites for romantic getaways. One, designed as a maze leading to an attic bedroom, overlooks the city walls. The other opens onto the enchanting spectacle of Obernai’s main square, where a fountain flows past the church and the Halle au blé… On the first floor, Le Comptoir offers a light, vitamin-packed restaurant where you can enjoy simple, committed, balanced, seasonal dishes in a warm, designer atmosphere. Lots of local produce and a clear commitment to quality and good taste.
Hôtel La Diligence
23 place du Marché, 67210 Obernai
hotel-diligence.com/fr – 03 88 95 55 69