A masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
With its 142 m spire, Notre-Dame de Strasbourg was the tallest building in all of Christendom until the 19th century. Victor Hugo thought it to be a “wonder of the gigantic and the delicate”.
• Inside: the pulpit, the many stained-glass windows, including the rose window (measuring 14 meters across) above the central gate, the great organs, the Pillar of Angels depicting the Last Judgment, and the Astronomical Clock right beside it, dating back to 1574 and fully restored in the 19th century (free entry, except for the parade of the Apostles, every day at 12:30).
• Outside: the lacework façade in pink sandstone from the Vosges mountains, the spire, the sculptures and low relief carvings, most of which had to be replaced after the French revolution. Take the time to examine the ornate tympana around the doors, particularly the central gate. For an overall view, head to rue Mercière or place du Château.
• The observation deck (place du Château): the view of Strasbourg and the surrounding area when the weather is fine is well worth the 332-step climb (we counted them all, we promise).
• The place du Château: we could sit there for ages, just enjoying the light breeze that’s always blowing around the Cathedral, and taking in the details of the architecture and the intricate work of the stonemasons who turned stone into lacework centuries ago. The place du Château leads directly to Palais Rohan and its museums.
From place de la Cathédrale, make sure to pass through rue Mercière and rue du Maroquin.
Best views of the Cathedral
Walking around Strasbourg will allow you to see the Cathedral from different angles. The color of the sandstone from the Vosges mountains changes depending on the time of day, the weather, and the light. Here are some vantage points from which to see the Cathedral:
• rue Mercière
• place du Château and the courtyard of the Palais Rohan (entrance from place du Château)
• place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait
• place Gutenberg
• place Kléber
• rue du Vieil Hôpital
• place des Tripiers
• rue du Chapon
• rue des Couples
• passerelle de l’Abreuvoir
• quai des Bateliers
• the platform of the Vauban dam
• Ponts Couverts
• pont d’Auvergne
• rue d’Or
• place de la République
• avenue de la Paix-Simone Veil
🔵 Visit the Musée de l’œuvre Notre-Dame (place du Château), for a more in-depth exploration of the Cathedral. (Take a look next to the entrance to the museum, where a little Gothic garden lies hidden behind a gate).
🔵 Explore the Carré d’Or and Strasbourg’s pedestrian city center:
– The Carré d’Or is the historical quarter of shops and restaurants around the Cathedral. Starting at the Maison Kammerzell (the façade of this restaurant, which is one of the oldest in town, resembles a pirate ship), play at getting lost in the charming side streets of the Carré d’Or, rue des Orfèvres (try to pronounce the name of Alsatian village on the coats of arms above the street and imagine all the points they could win you at Scrabble), rue du Sanglier, rue du Chaudron…
– The pedestrian center: after the Carré d’Or, continue your walk to place du Temple Neuf (at the end of rue des Orfèvres) and rue de l’Outre, which will take you directly to place Kléber (the largest square in the center of Strasbourg).
On your way:
• rue de la Mésange, the luxury shopping street
• place Broglie, where you will find City Hall, the opera and different markets, such as part of the famous Christmas market
• rue du Dôme
• rue des Hallebardes
• place Gutenberg, with its merry-go-round
🔵 From the Cathedral, go to la Petite France, through the streets or along the river:
– Through the streets: take rue des Hallebardes to place Gutenberg. Continue to rue Gutenberg, then Grand-rue, and take a left on rue du Fossé des Tanneurs to reach la Petite France
– Along the river: take rue Mercière to place Gutenberg, then rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons. Take a right on quai Saint-Nicolas, then walk along the Ill to pont Saint-Thomas. Cross the bridge. Enter la Petite France, by taking a left right after the bridge.
See the other must-see sights of Strasbourg