Strasbourg at Night
In 1805, 1806 and 1809, Napol?on Bonaparte and his first wife, Jos?phine stayed in Strasbourg. In 1810, his second wife Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma spent her first night on French soil in the palace. Another royal guest was king Charles X of France in 1828. In 1836, Louis-Napol?on Bonaparte unsuccessfully tried to lead his first Bonapartist coup in Strasbourg.
With the growth of industry and commerce, the city's population tripled in the 19th century to 150,000. During the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Strasbourg, the city was heavily bombarded by the Prussian army.
The German Renaissance has bequeathed the city some noteworthy buildings (especially the current Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie, former town hall, on Place Gutenberg), as did the French Baroque and Classicism with several H?tels particuliers (i.e. palaces), among which the Palais Rohan (now housing three museums) is the most spectacular.
Other buildings of its kind are the Hôtel du Préfet, the Hôtel des Deux-Ponts and the city-hall Hôtel de Ville etc. The largest baroque building of Strasbourg though is the 1720s main building of the Hôpital civil. As for French Neo-classicism, it is the Opera House on Place Broglie that most prestigiously represents this style.
On 24 August 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts was destroyed by fire, as was the Municipal Library housed in the Gothic former Dominican Church, with its unique collection of medieval manuscripts (most famously the Hortus deliciarum), rare Renaissance books, archeological finds and historical artifacts.
A belt of massive fortifications was established around the city, most of which still stand today, renamed after French generals and generally classified as Monuments historiques; most notably Fort Roon (now Fort Desaix) and Fort Podbielski (now Fort Ducrot) in Mundolsheim, Fort von Moltke (now Fort Rapp) in Reichstett, Fort Bismarck (now Fort Kléber) in Wolfisheim, Fort Kronprinz (now Fort Foch) in Niederhausbergen, Fort Kronprinz von Sachsen (now Fort Joffre) in Holtzheim and Fort Großherzog von Baden (now Fort Frère) in Oberhausbergen.
In 1871 after the war's end, the city was annexed to the newly established German Empire as part of the Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen (via the Treaty of Frankfurt) without a plebiscite. As part of Imperial Germany, Strasbourg was rebuilt and developed on a grand and representative scale (the Neue Stadt, or "new city").
Historian Rodolphe Reuss and Art historian Wilhelm von Bode were in charge of rebuilding the municipal archives, libraries and museums. The University, founded in 1567 and suppressed during the French Revolution as a stronghold of German sentiment, was reopened in 1872 under the name Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität.
Those forts subsequently served the French army (Fort Podbielski/Ducrot for instance was integrated into the Maginot Line), and were used as POW-camps in 1918 and 1945. Two garrison churches were also erected for the members of the Imperial German army, the Lutheran Église Saint-Paul and the Roman Catholic Église Saint-Maurice.
After World War I and the abdication of the German Emperor, Alsace-Lorraine declared itself an independent Republic, but was occupied by French troops within a few days. On 11 November 1918 (Armistice Day), communist insurgents proclaimed a "soviet government" in Strasbourg, following the example of Kurt Eisner in Munich as well as other German towns. The insurgency was brutally repressed on 22 November by troops commanded by French general Henri Gouraud; a major street of the city now bears the name of that date (Rue du 22 Novembre).
In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles reattributed the city to France. In accordance with U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points", the return of the city to France was carried out without a referendum. The date of the assignment was retroactively established on Armistice Day. It is doubtful whether a referendum among the citizens of Strasbourg would have been in France's favor, because the political parties that strove for an autonomy of Alsace, or a connection to France, had achieved only small numbers of votes in the last Reichstag elections before the War.
In 1920, Strasbourg became the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, previously located in Mannheim, one of the oldest European institutions. It moved into the former Imperial Palace. When the Maginot Line was built, the Sous-secteur fortifié de Strasbourg (fortified sub-sector of Strasbourg) was laid out on the city's territory as a part of the Secteur fortifié du Bas-Rhin, one of the sections of the Line. Blockhouses and casemates were built along the Grand Canal d'Alsace and the Rhine in the Robertsau forest and the port
Between the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and the Anglo-French declaration of War against the German Reich on 3 September 1939, the entire city (a total of 120 000 people) was evacuated, like other border towns as well. Until the arrival of the Wehrmacht troops mid-June 1940, the city was, for ten months, completely empty, with the exception of the garrisoned soldiers. The Jews of Strasbourg had been evacuated to Périgueux and Limoges, the University had been evacuated to Clermont-Ferrand.
After the ceasefire following the Fall of France in June 1940, Alsace was annexed to Germany and a rigorous policy of Germanization was imposed upon it by the Gauleiter Robert Heinrich Wagner. When the first evacuees were allowed to return, only residents of Alsatian origin were admitted. The last Jews were expelled on 15 July 1940 and the main synagogue was set ablaze, then razed. While the First World War had not notably damaged the city, Anglo-American bombing caused extensive destruction in raids of which at least one was allegedly carried out by mistake.
In August 1944, several buildings in the Old Town were damaged by bombs, particularly the Palais Rohan, the Old Customs House (Ancienne Douane) and the Cathedral. On 23 November 1944, the city was officially liberated by the 2nd French Armored Division under General Leclerc. In 1947, a fire broke out in the Musée des Beaux-Arts and devastated a significant part of the collections. This fire was an indirect consequence of the bombing raids of 1944: because of the destructions inflicted on the Palais Rohan, humidity had infiltrated the building, and moisture had to be fought. This was done with welding torches, and a bad handling of these caused the fire.
In the 1950s and 1960s the city was enriched by new residential areas meant to solve both the problem of housing shortage due to war damage, as well as the strong growth of population due to baby boom and immigration from North Africa: Cité Rotterdam in the North-East, Quartier de l'Esplanade in the South-East, Hautepierre in the North-West. Since 1995 and until 2010, in the South of Hautepierre, a new district is being built in the same vein, the Quartier des Poteries.
In 1949, the city was chosen to be the seat of the Council of Europe with its European Court of Human Rights and European Pharmacopoeia. Since 1952, the European Parliament has met in Strasbourg, which was formally designated its official 'seat' at the Edinburgh meeting of the European Council of EU heads of state and government in December 1992. . However, only the plenary sessions of the Parliament are held in Strasbourg each month, with all other business being conducted in Brussels and Luxembourg.
Those sessions take place in the Immeuble Louise Weiss, inaugurated in 1999, which houses the largest parliamentary assembly room in Europe and of any democratic institution in the world. Before that, the EP sessions had to take place in the main Council of Europe building, the Palace of Europe, whose unusual inner architecture had become a familiar sight to European TV audiences. In 1992, Strasbourg became the seat of the Franco-German TV channel and movie-production society Arte.
In 2000, an Islamist plot to blow up the cathedral was prevented by German authorities. On 6 July 2001, during an open-air concert in the Parc de Pourtalès, a single falling Platanus tree killed thirteen people and injured 97. On 27 March 2007, the city was found guilty of neglect over the accident and fined € 150,000. In 2006, after a long and careful restoration, the inner decoration of the Aubette, made in the 1920s by Hans Arp, Theo van Doesburg, and Sophie Taeuber-Arp and destroyed in the 1930s, was made accessible to the public again. The work of the three artists had been called "the Sistine Chapel of abstract art".
The city is chiefly known for its sandstone Gothic Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings, particularly in the Petite-France district alongside the Ill and in the streets and squares surrounding the cathedral, where the renowned Maison Kammerzell stands out.