Strasbourg is in the Northeast of France on the confluence of the Ill and Rhine rivers. Alsace has its own language, Alsatian, a Germanic dialect that has survived attempts by both the French and Germans to impose their own languages.
Strasbourg originated as the Celtic fishing village of Argentorate before it became a Roman garrison under Nero Claudius Drusus in around 40 BC. By the second century BC the town had 20,000 inhabitants. In the fifth century it was occupied by the Franks who named it Strateburgum, or ‘city of roads’, due to its key position on the road between France and Germany. In 842 it was the site of the signing of the ‘Serment de Strasbourg’, the oldest written example of Old French. In medieval times the town prospered, reaching its zenith in the sixteenth century. Several leaders of the Reformation lived in Strasbourg, including Calvin between 1538–42 and Martin Bucer. An Alsatian by birth, Bucer moved to Strasbourg in 1523 following his...