Strasbourg Cathedral has to be one of the most striking cathedrals in France. And if you know France, that’s quite the claim! Set in a stunning historic city, full of riverside charm and tourist potential a-go-go, this Gothic beauty is one of those bucket list French icons you have to visit!
Plus the beauty of Strasbourg’s Medieval centre, as well as the amazing day trips outside the city you can also enjoy here, make it one of my ultimate French destinations. So if you’re planning a trip to this part of the country, either as part of a Strasbourg city weekend or a longer Alsace region adventure, you can’t miss Strasbourg Cathedral! And here’s everything you need to know about visiting this giant to help you plan the perfect trip…
One of the leading Catholic Cathedrals in France, Strasbourg’s is a leading example of Gothic architecture and to say it’s an impressive one would be an understatement! For many years the tallest building in the world, for 227 years from 1647 to 1874 to be exact, Strasbourg Cathedral is now 6th tallest building in the world. Pretty impressive for a structure, largely assembled in the Middle Ages!
Decadently ornate, with beautiful views across the city, the Cathedral can even be seen from Germany’s Black Forest on a clear day and in its time, has won singing praises from writers as famous as Victor Hugo and Goethe. Construction on the current Cathedral is widely thought to have begun in 1176, but before that was a Roman site of worship here, meaning its religious roots extend way back.
The building you see today was completed in 1439 and has certainly stood the test of time. The staggering spire of the Cathedral, as well as its heavily decorated façade (which has hundreds of sculptures built into it), are its key feature and now, set in a beautiful square, this massive building can be admired from all angles. The pink hue of the stone looks gorgeous at all times of the day, but is particularly beautiful during golden hour just before sunset.
At night, during the summer months, Strasbourg Cathedral is now home to an impressive light show, which can be watched for free several times in an evening. Walking to up to and around Strasbourg Cathedral is definitely the best way to take it all in. Coming from any side, as you round the corner of Rue Merciere, the vastness of this dominating structure in front of you is suddenly overwhelming! I think I did a little gasp when I first saw it! Set in a charming, car-free square, filled with cafes, restaurants and original medieval buildings, strolling all around the outside of the Cathedral, snapping away, is certainly the way to first enjoy this beauty of a building.
First up you can wander into the Cathedral and take in the huge expanse of the body of this church. Entrance to the Cathedral is directly infront of you if you wander up Rue Merciere and entering via the grand front doors, you can enjoy the long nave and the amazingly original stained-glass windows, especially with the rose window which sits on the entrance side. The huge organ, the pulpit and Renaissance astronomical clock are 2 other worthy features you shouldn’t miss.