The Euroculturer is proud to introduce you to our new project: the Euroculture City Guides! In this edition, Céliane Breuyre (French) and Diego Gómez Pimienta (French/Mexican), currently studying their second semester at the University of Deusto, Bilbao, will tell you all about their first-semester homebase, Strasbourg in France, where they studied at the University of Strasbourg.
The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.
Section 2 | Questions & Answers
Euroculturer Magazine (EM) Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city? (what inspired you about the city?)
Céliane Breuyre (CB): Strasbourg is a very beautiful city that I had already visited before starting the Euroculture semester. It is a very lively city as well, especially on the weekends. Unfortunately, Covid did not allow us to take advantage of this but normally, it is a student-friendly city. As one of the European capitals, Strasbourg also has a multicultural dimension.
Diego Gómez (DG): I always wanted to live in France, and Strasbourg seemed really nice to live in. Having the EU institutions there was certainly a bonus since I aim to do an internship there.
EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?
CB: What I liked the most was that the best means of transportation is your bike. Many of us rented a bike (28€ for 3 months) because it is very easy to go through the city this way.
The only disadvantage in Strasbourg is that it can be very cold during winter.
DG: The city is beautiful and there are a lot of places to have a cup of coffee or grab a bite. Something I did not like is that the city can be a bit expensive. Luckily, cheaper supermarkets are easy to find in nearby Germany (15 minutes away) to do cheap grocery shopping.
EM: Was it easy to communicate with the locals or did you encounter any issues? Do you have any tips on how to deal with the language barrier?
CB: Well, since I am French, I did not have any communication issues.
DG: As in any French town, it is always better if you speak the local language, because not everyone speaks English.
EM: If you were in the city for 1 day as a tourist, what would you certainly do?
CB & DG: For sightseeing, you can visit the cathedral, the Kleber square, the Petite France neighbourhood (nicknamed Little Venice, by far the most beautiful place in the city), the Pontonniers high school and the Palais des Rohans. The European neighbourhood is also worth a visit.
EM: Do you have recommendations on nice places in the surroundings of the city to take daytrips to?
CB: Colmar! I think the train ticket is just 5€ and Colmar is really lovely. A must-see in the region. You could also plan a daytrip to Metz. I went on a daytrip to Zurich in Switzerland as well. It was far (3 hours by bus) but worth it.
DG: Besides Colmar and Metz, the Vosges are also pretty nice to go for a hike or spend a day surrounded by nature.
Extra tips from Hannah Bieber: I also recommend a day trip to Europapark in Germany. They have amazing roller-coasters and the park is beautiful. It’s a bit expensive but definitely a must try in the area. The ticket for the park usually includes a free bus-ride from Strasbourg.
EM: What would you consider the best local dishes and which places serve them best?
CB & DG: Tarte flambée, without any hesitation. We especially enjoyed the tartes flambées at a restaurant called Mama Bubbele, the inside of the restaurant is very nice. Also, a restaurant called Au Brasseur makes tarte flambée for 3€ during the happy hour (before 18:30). The restaurant called Le Gruber was also good, it is situated close to the cathedral. The staff is nice, and the authentic decoration makes the atmosphere welcoming. One cannot come to Strasbourg without trying Pretzels. We can buy them in bakeries, I recommend the one called Le Pain de mon Grand Père.
EM: Where would you go to have a drink or on a night out with friends?
CB & DG: We could not go out much because of the pandemic, but we went for drinks to “boat cafés” by the Ill river, very close to the Saint Paul Church., especially to the one called Le Rafiot. We also went to a restaurant called La Corde à Linge several times for drinks: it is located in the Petite France neighbourhood and the view from the terrace is very nice with the river and typical houses.
Extra tip from Hannah Bieber: It is also worth mentioning the “Krutenau” area which is the place to be for student bars with happy hours and cheaper drinks. The best bars in my opinion are: “Le Télégraphe”, “Le Public House” and “Le Comptoir d’Eugène”. Also, in case the clubs reopen I can also recommend “Le studio Saglio” and “La Kultur” for techno music & “La salamandre” for more mainstream pop/reggeaton music.
EM: How do the prices of the city compare with the one you were in for your other semester? What were some of the cheaper goods and what were some of the more expensive goods? (e.g food, museums, public transport)
CB: For me, the prices in Strasbourg and in Bilbao are similar. Visiting museums was cheaper in Strasbourg though, with the student card we could visit them for free. One tip for groceries: go to Kehl in Germany, food is cheaper there. It is just 15-20 minutes away by bike, you can also take the tram.
DG: Supermarkets are not particularly expensive, and Kehl is definitely a good option. However, restaurants and drinks can be quite expensive. In that aspect, Bilbao is cheaper.
EM: Which websites/sources did you use to find an apartment in the city and what tips would you give to someone moving in the city?
CB & DG: In France, the universities sometimes have an accommodation called CROUS, through which you can find nice student apartments. The Euroculture coordinator referred us to this system and we both found nice apartments through this.
EM: In short, to whom would you recommend choosing your city as an Euroculture semester destination?
CB: To anyone who is willing to live in a multicultural city where the atmosphere is lively and where locals are welcoming.
Picture Credits: Personal Pictures