Marmoutier Abbey Church

Marmoutier, France

Marmoutier Abbey was a Benedictine monastery, first founded by Saint Leobard around 590. It was rebuilt in the ninth century by Drogo of Metz. Under Abbot Meinhard and his successors in the 12th century, the abbey enjoyed a long period of growth and prosperity, including the consolidation of the large territory. In the 12th century the abbey church of St. Stephen's was built, which still stands today as an imposing Romanesque church. The west end, with its three massive towers, is especially striking.

In the 13th and 14th centuries the abbey began to decline, becoming involved in long wrangles over its properties, mostly with the family of Geroldseck, lords of the town of Maursmünster, now Marmoutier, that had grown up round the abbey. The abbey was also badly damaged during the German Peasants' War in 1525, when a mob ransacked the building and destroyed the library, and again in the Thirty Years' War, when it was plundered by Ernst von Mansfeld's soldiers in 1621.

The latter part of the 17th century saw a revival of the abbey's fortunes, and in the 18th century, particularly under abbots Anselm Moser and Placid Schweighäuser, re-building was undertaken, including the quire of the church in the 1760s. However, the French Revolution saw the dissolution of the monastery and the demolition or sale of all its buildings.

Abbey Church

Built over a period of over 700 years, Marmoutier's church has a length of 74 metres and grows younger from West to East: the facade with its porch tower is Romanesque, the nave is Gothic, and the choir was rebuilt in the years 1765–1770 in an early Gothic Revival style.

The western facade of Marmoutier's church is famous for its massive but well balanced architecture, while inside, the 1710 pipe organ by Andreas Silbermann (completed in 1746 by his son, Johann Andreas Silbermann, and restored several times since) and the 18th-century choir stalls are among the most notable items on display.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Birth of Capetian dynasty (France)


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jennifer Youssef (4 years ago)
Took my breath away. Found it by accident while driving through Alsace. We saw this beautiful structure from the road and had to stop.
Alex Kovac (5 years ago)
Very old venerable church founded in 724.
Alex H. (7 years ago)
Very nice surprise. Do not forget to visit the creepy crypt and its skeletons (it's 2€). The total absence of tourist improved greatly our experience.
Escobaria Gracilis (7 years ago)
Very impressive old abbey.
MLVC CN (7 years ago)
Very simple facade with its own style. Check the interior of this church. Some local guides or locals themselves will tell you some interesting stories about this church.
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