This bicultural and bilingual region at the junction of France and Germany is an economic and scientific powerhouse as well as the optimal platform for driving pan-European business development.
Ideally located at the crossroads of France, Germany and Switzerland, Alsace is a land of cultural and commercial exchange. The region enjoys a good balance between nature and urbanization, and quality of life is an asset valued both by the local inhabitants and tourists.
The heritage in Alsace is particularly rich, especially for the number of old castles and fortified towns, as well as remnants of the industrial revolution. It reflects the strong identity of the region, forged over the centuries. Contemporary culture also holds an important place in Alsace as attested to by the numerous museums, amusement parks, theatres and auditoriums.
Then, there is the art of gastronomy that has been generously refined over the centuries. And to accompany a great meal, the ‘grand cru’ of Alsace is perfectly adapted to local dishes. The finest wines are on the wine lists of the world’s best restaurants.
More than 250 museums and collections throughout Alsace look forward to welcoming visitors keen to discover their rich heritage, ranging from prehistory through to contemporary art.
Alsace boasts Europe's highest concentration of feudal castles, bearing witness to its turbulent history. Without a doubt the most famous of these is the Haut Koenigsbourg castle which is one of France's most frequently visited monuments. Alsace has more than 400 ruined castles, including the recently restored Hohlandsbourg castle.
The region has also been heavily marked by warfare throughout the ages. The Alsace-Moselle Memorial traces the tragic history of the Alsace and the Moselle areas from 1870 through to Franco-German reconciliation and the beginning of the European construction process. The Struth of concentration camp (the only camp of its kind built on French soil) and the Maginot Line including in particular the “Four à Chaux” fortifications in Lembach bear witness to the region's tragic history.
EURO - France joined 11 other EU members to launch the Euro on 1 January 1999, with Euro coins and banknotes completely replacing the French Franc in early 2002.
The number 112 can be dialled to reach emergency services - medical, fire and police - from anywhere in Europe. This Pan-European emergency number 112 can be called from any telephone (landline, pay phone or mobile cellular phone).
Calls are free. It can be used for any life-threatening situation.
Electricity in France is 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second.
Plug type: Two round pins plugs.
French - The dialect is used throughout the whole of Alsace as well is in part of the Moselle area. It is one of the most widely spoken regional languages in France. It is also a key aspect of the region's identity, being the result of Alsace's turbulent history. Unlike several decades ago, today you won't find any Alsatian under the age of 60 unable to speak French, as the French language became compulsory at school after the liberation. Unfortunately, the transmission of the Alsatian language from one generation to another is in constant decline, particularly in urban areas.
Although originally derived from Alemannic, the Alsatian dialect is clearly distinct from German. Firstly because this is above all a spoken language. Secondly, because Alsatian has not evolved in the same manner as German, having absorbed a number of words from the French language. Although spoken in a relatively limited area, the Alsatian dialect varies from place to place.
A small region with a huge natural diversity.
Thanks to its varied climatic influences, Alsace possesses a number of very different natural environments guaranteed to capture the imagination of anyone who enjoys rural tourism or waterborne tourism. Alsace possesses a generous and abundant natural environment, including the Rhenish jungles on the Rhinau island, the plains with their parks and gardens, the abundant forests including the Erstein Forest, or the outstanding biological diversity to be found in Alsace's Petite Camargue.
France is to ban smoking in all public places from February 2007.
The capital and principal city of the Alsace region in Eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking, explaining the city's Germanic name. In 2006, the city proper had 272,975 inhabitants and its urban community 467,375 inhabitants. With 638,670 inhabitants in 2006, Strasbourg's metropolitan area (aire urbaine) (only the part of the metropolitan area on French territory) is the ninth largest in France. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau had a population of 884,988 inhabitants in 2008.
Strasbourg is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. The city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine.
Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island) with Petite France, was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is fused into the Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a bridge of unity between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the largest in France, and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture.
Economically, Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as of road, rail, and river communications. The port of Strasbourg is the second largest on the Rhine after Duisburg, Germany. In terms of city rankings, Strasbourg has been ranked third in France and 18th globally for innovation.
Central European Time - GMT +1.
European Community passport holders do not need a visa to visit France. Many other nationalities are also exempt for stays up to 3 month, however if you have doubts we advise you to check before travelling on French embassy in your country.