Located right next to Strasbourg's majestic cathedral, this museum invites you to take a walk through seven centuries of art. Following a chronological trail through 40 rooms, you'll be transported to the treasures of medieval and Renaissance art, with the added bonus of a larger-than-life view from the top of the cathedral spire and a nature break in the heart of the city. Let's discover the Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame!
A museum closely linked to Strasbourg Cathedral
The Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame has close links with Strasbourg Cathedral. Founded to oversee the construction and, to this day, the upkeep of the cathedral, Œuvre Notre-Dame was behind the creation of the museum.
The museum houses masterpieces of statuary from the cathedral, as well as splendid architectural drawings. You can admire original pieces, some of which have been moved to protect them from the weather and pollution.
The museum also offers a fascinating insight into the development of art in Strasbourg and the Upper Rhine region from the 11th to the 17th century.
Some must-see pieces from the museum's collections
Here is a selection of the must-see works from the museum's collection:
- Christ of Wissembourg: This stained glass panel, dating from the second half of the 12th century, is the oldest intact figurative stained glass window in the world preserved in France.
- The bust of a leaning man by Nicolas Gerhaert of Leiden: This stone sculpture is an emblematic example of late medieval art in the Upper Rhine.
- The statues on the Cathedral's western portals, in particular the Tempter and the Virgins, bear witness to Gothic art and its refinement.
- The two panels of the Doubting of Saint Joseph and the Nativity of the Virgin by the Master of the Paradise Garden illustrate the international Gothic style and depict biblical scenes with great attention to detail and a rich use of colour.
- The architectural drawings of Strasbourg Cathedral, particularly those by master craftsmen such as Erwin de Steinbach, represent an architectural treasure trove. They offer a detailed insight into the construction techniques and style of the period, which you can discover in a digital version.
These works, among many others, help us to understand Strasbourg's importance as an artistic centre at the confluence of the Latin and Germanic worlds.
The Gothic garden of the Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame
Located in front of the museum, the Gothic garden is a haven of peace. Created in 1937 by Hans Haug, the museum's curator at the time, the botanical layout was inspired by medieval gardens and the 13th-century precepts of the Dominican friar Albert the Great.
The jardinet is divided into nine distinct squares, each dedicated to a different type of plant: three for ornamental plants (summer aster, mallow or provence rose), three for medicinal plants (mint, Christmas rose or chelidonia) and three for aromatic and condiment plants (sage, fennel, horseradish).
These ancient plants give an idea of how plants were used in the Middle Ages. They are accompanied by numerous elements borrowed from 15th-century works, such as the crenellated flower pots similar to those in the Paradiesgärtlein painting on display at the Museum, a small meandering stream and a pink sandstone stele installed in 1988 by the artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, entitled Les cimetières des naufragés (The Cemeteries of the Shipwrecked). The garden is surrounded by a group of Gothic tombstones, the most remarkable of which is that of Louis V of Lichtenberg.
It's possible to visit a museum with children!
Very few museums offer activities that are really adapted for children. The Musée de l'Œuvre-Notre-Dame has had the good idea of offering games for children, some of which can also be played at home or in the car! All you have to do is ask at reception to collect them free of charge.
With my 6-year-old daughter, I was able to try out the hunt for the monsters hiding in the museum. Using the leaflet, we had to find 11 details hidden in different parts of the museum collection. The leaflet shows the drawing of the detail, tells us which room to look in and includes a little riddle to help us. This is also an opportunity to find details of the neighbouring cathedral, with reproductions or originals preserved here, such as our famous devil or the unicorn.
Practical information to prepare your visit
Located at 3 place du Château in Strasbourg, the Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame is open every day except Monday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm on weekdays, and from 10am to 6pm at weekends. The full price is €7.50 and the concessions €3.50.
Strasbourg City Card - 7-Day City Pass
Explore Strasbourg with a 7-day city pass that offers discounted rates for attractions and activities. Climb up the Strasbourg Cathedral, take a guided walking tour, or visit the Château Vodou Museum.
To help you make the most of your visit, a number of tools are available free of charge. If you would like to learn more about the works, guided tours of the original drawings are organised on Sundays at 11am and 11.30am.