Moving to Strasbourg
With all the twee timbered buildings in the historic centre, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled over the German border. Here in Strasbourg, France meets Germany in a unique blend.
Strasbourg is a European melting pot, which is just as well, considering Strasbourg is home to institutions such as the European Parliament, European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. It will come as no surprise that Strasbourg is often named the capital of Europe.
You won’t find anywhere like Strasbourg elsewhere in France, and its distinctive character will bowl you over. In the historic centre, full of medieval architecture, you won’t feel like you’re in a city. Quite the opposite, in fact, you’ll have the impression of being in a small town, where everyone greets you with a warm welcome.
Whilst Strasbourg may not be typically French, fear not, Strasbourg is home to a booming gastronomy scene. Alsatian food holds its own in the competitive world of French cuisine, thanks to its Germanic influence. The city is even home to not one, but two three-starred Michelin restaurants.
And of course, let’s not forget the region’s wine and beer, with the region’s dry white Riesling being a national favourite. Here in Strasbourg, you can expect a booming international environment, great quality of life, and a charming city to call home.
Business is big in Strasbourg, and along with one of France’s biggest student populations, Strasbourg is a thriving, vibrant city. There are ample business opportunities on offer in Strasbourg, but luckily, it’s not just work and no play.
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Strasbourg is the biggest financial hub in France after Paris, therefore, the tertiary sector accounts for just over two thirds of jobs on offer in the Alsatian capital.
Alsace is an important player in France’s industrial output. With corporate players such as Punch Powerglide Motors (formerly General Motors Strasbourg), Mars, and Kronenbourg having headquarters nearby, the automotive and agri-food industries are big sectors in Strasbourg.
At the time of writing, Strasbourg had an unemployment rate of 10.4% which is line with the national average of 10%. International business is a key part of Strasbourg’s job market so internationally focused jobs, ideal for expats, are common.
However, with Germany and the EU Parliament right on its doorstep, expats with language skills, particularly French and German, will have the edge in the Strasbourg job market.
Supermarket groceries are more expensive than the norm in Strasbourg with staple buys such as a litre of milk and a loaf of bread being around the €1 mark. 1kg of local cheese and 1kg of chicken breasts costing approximately €14-€15, and a 1kg of fruit or vegetables is around €1.50-€3. On average, you can pick up a 0.5l of domestic beer €1.34 a bottle, a 0.33l of imported beer for approximately €1.60 and a mid-range bottle of wine for €8.
If you want to treat yourself to a meal out, expect to fork out €15 for an inexpensive restaurant and €40 for a three course meal at a mid-range restaurant. A 0.5l glass of domestic beer will usually be around €5.25. A 0.33l bottle of imported beer costs just under €5.
Public transport in Strasbourg will cost you €1.60 for a one-way ticket and a monthly pass is around €45. If you fancy getting behind the wheel yourself, a litre of petrol will cost approximately €1.22-1.30.
Healthcare is, for the most part, funded by the state. Deductions for healthcare will be taken from your monthly salary. The amount deducted usually works out at approximately 7.5 per cent. This basic health insurance pays for 70 per cent of most health care costs. Most employees will pay into a top-up healthcare insurance (mutuelle) to cover the remaining costs.
Utilities for an 85m2 apartment can range from just under €160 to just over €190 monthly. Broadband internet with a speed of 6mbps will cost €30 per month.
In the city centre and the nearby suburbs, finding a two bedroom apartment or larger can be hard to come by, therefore most Strasbourg residents live in small apartments or venture further afield to live in houses.
The average monthly rent for a one bedroom and three bedroom apartment in the city centre come in at around €550 and €1,025 respectively. In the suburbs, the monthly rental prices fall to €433.33 for a one bedroom apartment and €866.67 for a three bedroom apartment.
Property prices are high in Strasbourg, despite having steadily fallen since the late 00s. Buying an apartment in Strasbourg’s city centre averages €3,200-4,000 per square metre. Outside of the city centre, the average property selling price per square metre ranges €2,500-3,000.
There are many faces to Strasbourg: the bourgeois and high-end neighbourhoods of L’Orangerie and Robertsau, the trendsetting, modern quarters, the up-and-coming, emerging areas and the 60s high-rise estates. Knowing which neighbourhood is best for you is the key to your house search in Strasbourg.
Family-Friendly: Conveniently located close the EU parliament, Robertsau offers perfect family homes close to work. The suburban neighbourhood of Otswald is another good choice, being home to a thriving family community. It’s got good public transport links, reputable schools, parks and leisure centres for all the family.
Upmarket: The most prestigious neighbourhood in all of Strasbourg has to be L’Orangerie. With Strasbourg’s biggest park, Parc de l’Orangerie on its doorstep, you can see why property there is in hot demand. Another high-end option is Tribunal which offers modern, newly built accommodation, with all the mod-cons – a rarity for Strasbourg.
Hip and Trendy: Kruteneau is the life and soul of Strasbourg’s nocturnal goings-on with students and professionals alike living here. For those who wish to free themselves from city life, Koenigshoffen is a fine example. The neighbourhood’s quiet and tranquil streets are full of historic homes with lots of character. Koenigshoffen is also home to a community project with a shared garden and urban parks.
Up-and-Coming: Since the introduction of the TGV (high speed train line) to Strasbourg, the Quartier de la Gare has been on the up. The neighbourhood is a vibrant one, but for those who seek peace and quiet, there are a few calm spots. Whilst Cronenbourg’s reputation may precede it, it’s slowly but surely being rejuvenated, and now is time to take advantage of the neighbourhood’s revival.
Cost of Moving
The cost for the average family of four requiring a 20 foot container FCL to move to Strasbourg are as follows:
Schools and Education
There are approximately 70 primary schools and 30 secondary schools in Strasbourg. Children begin école élémentaire at the age of 6, before attending collège from the age of 11-15/16.
Students then have the option to attend lycée or a vocational education college. The ages for compulsory education are ages 6-16. There are a few international schooling options available such as the Robert Schuman International School and the Strasbourg European School.
The Université de Strasbourg is the second biggest university in France, with over 43,000 students and 4,000 researchers. Université de Strasbourg ranks as one of the top 250 universities in the world with notable alumni such as German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Arsenal football manager Arsène Wenger, and former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori.
Ranking against the world
With Strasbourg having close ties with Germany, Strasbourg is not the stereotypical French city, in comparison with the likes of Paris and Lyon. However, that is part of Strasbourg’s charm, especially when you consider that the city’s aesthetic beauty.
Alsace is the second biggest industrial region in France, with market leaders in the automobile and agri-food industries based near to Strasbourg.
Thanks to European institutions such as the EU Parliament and the Council of Europe, there is a thriving expat community in Strasbourg. The blend of French and German culture make Strasbourg an exciting place to live and work. Living costs, whilst cheaper than those of Paris, are still higher than the norm in France.
A day in the life
Start your day by getting your sweat on at Parc de l’Orangerie. Known as the lungs of the city, you can walk, run, or cycle around the park. If you’ve got the kids in tow, you could even visit the zoo and farm there. If you just want a breath of fresh air, you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings by getting on one of the lake boats.
Now you can make up for your saintly behaviour by enjoying a leisurely brunch. All along the Grand Rue in Petite-France or in the achingly Krutenau are a variety of brunch options. Afterwards, wander around the medieval city centre and allow yourself to get lost. There are so many nooks and crannies to be found, you’ll discover something new each time.
If it’s winter time, warm up with a cup of vin chaud at one of Strasbourg’s world-renowned Christmas markets. If it’s summer, then you’ll have to make do with a glass of local Alsatian wine or a pint of beer! You can sample some of great beer at a Strasbourg institute, L’Académie de la Bière, or if that doesn’t take your fancy, you can find a tranquil spot to sit, have a quiet drink and people-watch.