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Situated about 483km (300 miles) southeast of Paris and tucked in the elbow of northwest France, Strasbourg ping-ponged between Germany and France for centuries. Today this capital of wine-growing Alsace blends Teutonic might with a cosmopolitan flair. With the majestic gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame and its astronomical clock, the maze of cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and the poetic canals of La Petite France, this UNESCO World Heritage Site on the River Ill weaves fairy-tale charm with the European Parliament’s political clout.