The parliament has two chambers - one in Brussels, the other in Strasbourg - and a secretariat in Luxembourg.
For three weeks of the month the parliament operates in Brussels, where most committee and political group meetings take place, then for one week it decamps to Strasbourg.
This perpetual movement adds to the cost of running the parliament, and is unpopular with members of the European Parliament (MEPs), because of the extra travel involved.
However, the Strasbourg parliament is a matter of national prestige for France. Situated on the border between Germany and France, which fought two world wars in the last century, it is also a symbol of Europe's peaceful new order.