Cathédrale Notre-Dame

sights / Religious

Cathédrale Notre-Dame information

Strasbourg , France
Address
Street place de la Cathédrale
Getting there
Tram Langstross
Prices
astronomical clock adult/child €2/1.50, platform adult/child €5/2.50
Opening hours
7am-7pm, astronomical clock tickets sold from 11.45am, platform 9am-7.15pm
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Lonely Planet review

Victor Hugo declared it a ‘gigantic and delicate marvel’; Goethe professed that its ‘loftiness is linked to its beauty’; and, no matter the angle or time of day, you too will be captivated by Strasbourg’s centrepiece Gothic cathedral. At once immense and intricate, the red-sandstone cathedral is a riot of filigree stonework and flying buttresses, leering gargoyles and lacy spires.

The west facade, most impressive if approached from rue Mercière, was completed in 1284, but the 142m spire – the tallest of its time – was not in place until 1439; its southern companion was never built.

On a sunny day, the 12th- to 14th-century stained-glass windows – especially the rose window over the western portal – shine like jewels. To appreciate the cathedral in peace, visit in the early evening when the crowds have thinned and stay to see its facade glow gold at dusk.

The 30m-high Gothic-meets-Renaissance astronomical clock strikes solar noon at 12.30pm with a parade of carved wooden figures portraying the different stages of life and Jesus with his apostles.

A spiral staircase twists up to the 66m-high platform above the facade, from which the tower and its Gothic openwork spire soar another 76m. As Hugo put it: ‘From the belfry, the view is wonderful. Strasbourg lays at your feet, the old city of tiled triangular roof tops and gable windows, interrupted by towers and churches as picturesque as those of any city in Flanders.’