Strasbourg Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg) // France

February 26, 2018

One of the most special days of our entire Viking Rhine River Cruise was our day in Strasbourg. I think that y'all know that in the way I have shared so many posts about this amazing city! (*smiles*) As I mentioned that day we had the option of free time in Strasbourg after our guided tour in the morning which we took advantage of. So our day started with a guided tour where we learned about the history of Strasbourg (which you can read about HERE) as we took a walk through the historic section which you can read about HERE

As we walked the beautiful French streets we learned all about the inspiring Place Saint Thomas which you can read about HERE! Our tour ended in front of the Strasbourg Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Strasbourg) right before Mass was to start. 
We decided to attend Mass and it was honestly one of the most special parts of our day. For those who may be curious- you can attend Mass as a visitor but there is no photography during the actual service. It is in French, but it was truly a beautiful experience that we really loved. 
It's hard to pick a "favorite" Cathedral that we saw on this trip as we saw so many different and beautiful ones that were all unique in their own ways. The Strasbourg Cathedral though was one of our favorites and it is simply a beautiful structure architecturally. 
At nearly 470 feet (466 exactly) it was at one time the world's tallest building in the years between 1647 and 1874. Even though it is not the tallest building anymore it remains the 6th tallest church in the world and is the highest structure to have been built in the Middle Ages. On a clear day the Cathedral can be seen even from the Black Mountains (which is on the other side of the Rhine). 
Goethe described it as a "sublimely towering wide-spreading tree of God" and one of my favorite authors, Victor Hugo (I believe we have well established my fervent love for Les Miserables!) said that it was a "gigantic and delicate marvel". 
The intricacy and details of the Cathedral were absolutely exquisite. 
The Cathedral has a long and detailed past that is rich in the way that it came to be and the way it was constructed. But even beyond the early years of construction the Cathedral was a point of interest for those in the last century.
During World War II, the Cathedral was actually considered a symbol for both of sides. Hitler actually visited the Cathedral in June of 1940. At the time he intended to transform the church into a national sanctuary for the German people. 
There was also talk by Hitler of turning it into a monument to the Unknown Soldier. Neither things took place. 
Almost a year later in March 1941 General Leclerc (a French General) made a promise that he would only rest his weapons when the "beautiful colors fly again on Strasbourg's Cathedral". 
During the war the Cathedral was hit by British and American bombs during air raids on Strasbourg. Much of the stained glass from the Cathedral had been taken out and stored in a salt mine but the building was still damaged. What was surprising to learn was that the final repairs to the war damage were only completed recently- in the early 1990s. 
As we sat in the pews during Mass we took in all of the beauty surrounding the inside of the Cathedral. The stain glass sections, the tapestries, the arches, etc. were all so deliberately and delicately designed that it was truly a marvel to see.
Have y'all ever been to the Strasbourg Cathedral? If you haven't put this on your bucket list- you will not regret it! 

Interested in reading more posts from our Viking River Cruise on the Rhine River? Simply click on the links below! 

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