Cathedrale Notre-DameApprox. Time: 3 hours
Activity Level: Easiest

With its single tall spire pointing upwards like an admonishing finger, it dominates the landscape over much of Alsace, this Cathedral is the symbol of a proud and independent city which had been praised by Erasmus as possessing "a monarchy without tyranny, an aristocracy without factions, democracy without turmoil, wealth without luxury and prosperity without arrogance."

One of the finest of the great Gothic cathedrals, it stands on the site of a roman temple, built on a mound above the marshy land surrounding the camp of Argentoratum, and an early church commissioned by King Clovis of the Franks. The first version was begun in 1015, but fire destroyed most of the original Romanesque building, and by the time work started on rebuilding it at the end of the 12th century, the Gothic style had reached Alsace, and stonemasons and master builders who had worked at Chartres were soon bringing their skills to this new project. After the defeat of their prince bishop, the bourgeoisie took charge of the work themselves, calling on the citizens to contribute to the building fund.