Strasbourg, France, a city in the region of Alsace and the capital of Bas-Rhin Department. It is on the Rhine River 250 miles (400 km) east of Paris. Located where railways and canals reach the Rhine, Strasbourg is the chief inland port of France and is also an important manufacturing city. It is a processing center for the fertile Alsace farming area and is known for its wine, beer, and food delicacies such as pâté de foie gras.
Strasbourg is one of eastern France's oldest and most interesting cities. In the heart of the ancient city is the great Cathedral of Notre Dame, with its soaring tower and intricate sculptural decorations. On narrow, winding streets around the cathedral are gabled and timbered houses dating from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The University of Strasbourg was founded in the 16th century. Museums in the city contain many paintings by European artists, including El Greco, Goya, and Rubens.
Strasbourg was originally a Celtic settlement and later became a Roman military outpost and then a Frankish town. It became a powerful independent city in the Middle Ages, but was annexed by France in 1681. In 1871, after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, it passed to Germany, but it was returned to France after World War I. Strasbourg suffered heavy damage in World War II. The Council of Europe, an organization founded in 1949 to promote unity among the nations of Europe, has its headquarters here. The European Parliament meets here each month.