Benedictine Abbey    Gallo-Roman Site     Reinacker convent
The castles of Grand et Petit Geroldseck


The Abbey
Marmoutier abbey is doubtless one of the oldest in Alsace.
According to legend, it was founded in the 6th century by an Irish monk, Leobard, a disciple of Saint Colomban, on a stretch of land donated by King Childebert, in around 589. The monastery took the name of its founder, “Leobardi Cella”.
Throughout its history, the abbey has known alternating periods of decline and prosperity. Destroyed by fire on a number of occasions (670, 717, 827, 950, ...), it always rose from its ruins until its confiscation in 1792.
In the 8th century, the monastery enjoyed a veritable boom under the abbacy of Saint Maur, which introduced the Benedictine order and gave it its name: Maurimonsterium.
The abbey became a religious seigneury, the economic, political and administrative centre of a vast area of more than 80 towns and villages, called the March of Aquilée.


Southern facade

In 816, Benoît d'Aniane directed the monastery for 10 months and wrote the current Benedictine order there.
Thanks to the introduction of these new rules, it guaranteed it a spiritual and religious influence without precedent.
As of the 13th century, local barons such as the Geroldsecks gradually monopolised power and land ownership. Up to the end of the 17th century, the convent underwent a period of decadence.
In around 1705, thanks to the bishop of
Strasbourg, François Egon de Furstenberg, the abbey regained a large part of its original possessions. Abbots Anselme Moser and Placide Schweighaeuser reconstructed the monastery and ushered in a new era of prosperity.
By suppressing the monastic establishment, the French Revolution put an end to the abbey and took all of its assets into state ownership.


front facade
Detail of Romanesque Art on the facade Choir in the Church of St Etienne


The Abbey
It is one of the most remarkable monuments in Alsace. It combines various styles, a Romanesque facade, a Gothic nave and an 18th century choir.
A passage runs through the tithe barns and cellars in which sculpted lapidary fragments are encased and which currently houses the "European Organ Centre".

A complete guide in French and German is for sale in the tourist office for € 6.


The archaeological crypt
During earlier excavations, the remains were brought to light which can now be seen in the archaeological crypt under the abbey.
This was developed in 1990 by the Historic Monuments Department and installed in the north east of the edifice, in front of the apsidiole in the northern transept.
The remains exhibited in the crypt:
> First of all, they concern parts of a Merovingian church built in 724 and, more specifically, the central apse surrounded by the northern and southern apsidioles.
> From this church there is also the base of a small altar and the remains of tombs, an 8th century wooden sarcophagus called a "monoxyle", a sandstone sarcophagus dating from the 13th century.


The archaeological crypt

The archaeological crypt