Notre-Dame de Paris

It’s hard to escape the horrendous pictures on breakfast television of fire ballooning through the nave of Notre-Dame, demonstrating, as if it was needed, how much more vulnerable buildings are during restoration projects.

But it’s also worth remembering the extent to which Notre-Dame is a nineteenth-century reconstruction by Viollet-le-Duc – meticulous and scholarly as it was – after the acts of gross destruction during the French Revolution, when it was rededicated to the Cult of Reason and most of the statues on the façade were smashed. So the putative medieval spire and bell tower are, in fact, later reinventions.

It doesn’t reduce the catastrophe, just reminds one that buildings can and do go through disasters and their spirit and history survive.


4 thoughts on “Notre-Dame de Paris

  1. marinavaizey says:

    what a helpful point of view, and so true, comforting in the face of what appears so disastrous. Nothing is as it once was; as living things age and change and are patched up so the inanimate.

  2. Kate Woodhead says:

    Still it was so distressing to see how rampant the fire raged. We saw it on BBC4 news at 7pm last night and were so shocked by the sight. Glasgow School of Art another fire during restoration – before being opened again after a previous fire. Buildings are always more than the components and that is what we mourn as well.

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