Strasbourg, Rhine

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Strasbourg, France

To visit Strasbourg is to walk a fine line between the cultures of France and Germany, with the two nations converging on the river L'ill in an explosion that encompasses the dynamic new and the rustic old. The waterway has shaped this city dramatically, and some of the best views can be picked out from the little picturesque neighbourhoods that it winds its way through.

Undoubtedly your first port of call upon landing is the mesmerising Gothic cathedral at the centre of the Old Town on the French side. Amid the twisting alleys lined with crooked half-timbered houses that look as though they have come straight from an illustrated edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales. There are various cross-cultural quirks to be explored. Alsatian taverns serving gourmet French cuisine alongside intoxicating beers, for example.

And then there are the Christmas markets, which are truly extraordinary. Every year, the streets are packed with authentic little stalls, and it's quite a challenge to visit them all. Sipping on mulled wine and sampling gingerbread men while wrapped in a woolly hat and scarf, you will truly understand the meaning of the festive season.

Wandering through the old houses that line the Petite France district, you'll find it hard to believe that there is a modern side to this incredible city. Head along to the EU Quarter - the incredible round building that you have no doubt seen on many a news bulletin stands tall, and know that the decisions being made inside will no doubt affect the future of the entire continent.

You can also count on an incredibly lively nightlife, thanks to the fact that the city is home to the second largest student population in France. Don't forget to say 'saunte' or 'proust', depending on which side of the river you're on!

Strasbourg, France

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