The players of the hill

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The site of the Hill of Notre-Dame du Haut has been privately owned by an association since 1799. As a consequence, today, the Association Oeuvre Notre-Dame du Haut (AONDH, association recognized as serving the public good according to the 1901 law) owns the land and building property, works by Jean Prouvé and works by Le Corbusier.

Its missions : 

  • Allowing the Catholic cult on the site of Notre-Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, without leading it itself, according to the origins of the Chapel, as well as religious activities and the hospitality of pilgrims, under the authority of the bishop of Besançon.

  • Managing its property assets. It entrusts its branch, la Porterie Notre-Dame du Haut, with the flow management and the commercial activities.

  • Protecting this heritage with its landscapes and its buildings, by maintaining it regularly and by renovating it more substantially when the needs arise.


The Chapel of Notre-Dame du Haut, inaugurated on the 25th June 1955, has never undergone any deep repair on its structure nor on its surface. Every ten years, until 1995, the facades were restored. Concrete cracks, which had appeared from the very beginning, were filled up with putty.

The building period, from 1953 to 1955, was challenging due to difficult supplies of materials, harsh winters, and rudimentary equipment.

The deteriorations of the building were mainly of four types: the cracks in the southern façade, the great crack in the big tower, unsatisfactory watertight integrity in many places and fragile windowpanes.

The Southern facade, the “wall of light”, was made by projecting concrete on an iron framework. From the very beginning, this technique caused cracks in its lower part which had to bear heavy stresses, due to its development on the left surface and to its orientation facing the south, which caused big temperature differences.  The renovation consists in opening the cracks to stop the oxidization of the iron mesh. The cracks will then be sealed with a flexible joint sealant, able to bear the changes in shape due to thermal stresses on a southern façade.

The great crack on the big tower, going from top to bottom, is due to mostly square building elements which were reused, laid on an insufficiently covered bottom ground and to the lack of any linking system inside to make the building stronger. Renovation consists in sewing together again the sides of the crack with carbon rods to join the elements together.

Watertight integrity problems are mostly found around the roof and on all the joints between the roofing and the elements above it.

Windowpanes have become fragile for two reasons: the drawings and texts painted by Le Corbusier have gradually disappeared and they are vulnerable to any outside aggression.

The renovation schedule is divided into four parts: southern façade and the underpart of the shell, western and northern façade, the great tower with the two turrets, eastern  façade and the underpart of the shell, and eventually the inside of the Chapel.

Le Corbusier’s works being protected as historical monuments, these repair works will be funded for 50% by the State, and for 20% each by the Region and the Département. The remaining 10% are to be funded by the association which owns the site, with the help of the Fondation du Patrimoine.




In 2003, AONDH was working on a new reception building. Eventually, the gatehouse, a real reception building designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, was inaugurated in 2011, at the same time as Saint-Clare’s monastery.

Entrance door of the site, the gatehouse is above all a reception place with different facilities: the ticket counter, the gift shop, a relaxing area, a meeting space as well as the administration services and the conservation of historical archives.

Missions : 

  • Making sure that everybody is well received on the Hill of Notre-Dame du Haut.

  • Collaborating to the fame and the cultural influence of the site.

  • Ensuring the promotion and the communication of the Hill of Notre-Dame du Haut on local, regional, national, and international levels.

  • Elaborating and planning events and cultural projects. 


Standing above the green car park, the gatehouse is first and foremost a reception place, with a gift shop, a relaxing area and a new mediation space (inaugurated in Spring 2021).

In winter, everybody loves standing close to the large fireplace taking center stage next to the entrance. Offices for the AONDH and the Porterie team are a bit behind, with the room for the preservation of archives and research on the Chapel.

The relaxation area is decorated with designers’ furniture, such as the 0.03 chairs by Maarten Van Severen, “contract tables” by Charles and Ray Eames reissued by Vitra but also several lamps “parrot” by Renzo Piano who was rewarded by the prize Compasso d’Oro in 1989 and 1998.



The arrival on the hill of the Poor Clares of Besançon is the meeting point of:

  • The wish of the Association Notre-Dame du Haut for a constant presence of prayer and spiritual hospitality settling  next to Notre-Dame du Haut.
  • The wish and the numerous requests of the Archbishop of Besançon for a contemplative religious community  to settle next to the  Chapel.
  • The search by the Community of the Poor Clares of Besançon to found a new monastery in a lively place where spiritual expectations and a quest for beauty could be met.


The missions :

  • Ensuring a spiritual presence on the hill.
  • Hospitality is a fundamental mission for the nuns. As a result, it is possible to stay for a night or a week in one of the nine bedrooms, to feel reconnected to one’s inner self, to be rejuvenated. Meals can be taken in the monastery -in the visitors’ area- where catering services are offered. Everybody can meet one of the nuns for an interview in the parlor. The nuns also meet willingly the groups coming to visit the hill.


« Saint-Colette’s friends » is the association (recognized as serving the public good according to the 1901 law), which sets itself the task of owning, managing and maintaining the property for the service of the charity of “Saint-Clare’s monastery”. The association helps the monastery in its charitable, educational, social, and cultural activities, and the nuns who dedicate themselves to these tasks.

Its name is a tribute to Colette de Corbie (1381-1447), one of the prominent figures of the 15th century, who left her mark on the Church of her time, and particularly the families of Saint-Clare and Saint-Francis. She deeply reformed the life of the Poor Clares, remaining faithful to the origins of the order and proving bold and creative to adapt it to its time. Colette was a strong character, and she knew, thanks to her total obedience to God, how to combine an intensely contemplative life to continuous travels which took her to different places in France, which was torn by the 100-year war at the time.




Depuis le 13ème siècle, des chrétiens montent sur la colline de Bourlémont pour prier la Vierge Marie, la mère de Jésus, qu’on appelle ici Notre-Dame du Haut. C’est un sanctuaire.

Un prêtre catholique dessert la chapelle, le chapelain. Il est nommé par l’archevêque de Besançon.

Sa première mission est de permettre aux croyants de prier dans la chapelle, de mettre à leur disposition ce qui est nécessaire pour cela, et de prier lui-même à leurs intentions.
Au centre de cette mission de prière, il y a la célébration de l’eucharistie chaque jour, avec les sœurs clarisses présentes dans le sanctuaire.

Son autre mission est l’accueil de toutes les personnes qui demandent à être écoutées ou accompagnées. 

Il est également présent aux différents acteurs du sanctuaire, pour travailler en commun à une cohérence des propositions, ainsi qu’avec les paroisses environnantes.

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La Colline Notre-Dame du Haut est fermée le 1er janvier 2024

The Hill Notre-Dame du Haut is closed on January, 1st
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