Notre Dame, livre deuxième

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Notre-Dame, from Saint-Julien le pauvre. The sculpture is a fountain (c.1993) by Georges Jeanclos)

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The stryge. As mentioned before, (see first post), the chimeras on the Chemin de ronde between the towers are creations by Viollet-le-Duc. c.1844. The engraving comes from the book I found in the gutter and restored, a while ago. I’m not sure the Tour Saint-Jacques featured here can actually be seen from the Stryge.

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The stryge, 2018. The real view is marred by a wire-mesh. Most unfortunate. And it takes quite a while on Photoshop to eliminate it. The stryge comes from the ancient Greek strygx, a malevolent creature, half bird, half woman. They evolved into the Arabic Ghoul.


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My restored 19th century edition of Notre-Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo. I put the year of the book at around 1870.


Victor Hugo, Paris, 2018, near the Pantheon. This is a series of street art, commissioned by the city of Paris, celebrating great historic French figures.


La flèche. What the English call a spire, we call an arrow. A fitting expression, pointing to the sky. This is the part that suffered most during the blaze. I don’t know whether the statue survived. The pelican (see first post) is on the left. No better pic of the pelican I’m afraid. The zoom on the Iphone sucks.



Street art by Ardif. Paris 2018.


1964. This élégante is by Patrice Mollinard in “the Paris I love”.


2018. Sans mesh. I do hope they will take it out as part of the restoration…


The arrow/pire again. I will never regret climbing those stairs last year. Supposedly the fire originated in the turret supporting the spire. Electric bells had been put a few years back with wires – supposedly – running on the floor.


Another élégante standing by another chimera. 1964. Patrice Mollinard.


2018. After Photoshop.



I hope the Archangel statue was saved.


As we climbed the tower we saw that bell. Was it Emmanuel? (Not Macron). The wood structure was impressive. And is the one that burned. A version that was broadcast in Colombia was that all the beams were covered with tar to deter termites. And that the soldering of the scaffolding may have produced the sparks that started the fire. No word on that in the French media. The workers did admit to smoking on the scaffolding. “It was too bothersome and time-consuming to go downstairs”. Seriously?


Quasimodo riding the bells.


The “arrow” and roof. Note the statues, four rows or three, representing the apostles.


Zooming in, (c)ourtesy L’Express/AFP. Those statues had fortunately been dismounted only a few days before and stored away for restoration. Pffff.


Look closely at those apostles on the South-East side. (c)ourtesy L’Express/AFP


On the South-east side, the first Apostle, Saint-Thomas, was represented with the face and fractions of Viollet-le-Duc. Hence the ruler in his right hand. Only believe what you can measure. (Same source. I wish I could have taken my mountain gear and climb up there!)


The stairs inside the the towers show how old Notre-Dame really is:


According to the fossils, Notre-Dame would be 30 million years old.



Equinoxio followers formed in a queue to access Notre-Dame in another Time-Space continuum.


Fair maidens going to Mass around 1482.




1964. (c) Patrice Mollinard. That access was not opened any more in recent years. A shame.


This is the part that burned. The roof and spire. The stone walls, turrets, frontons and towers were saved.


Notre-Dame will be rebuilt. Hopefully without nonsense.


And Esmeralda will dance forever on the parvis of Notre-Dame. (Wallpaper, 1836, Victor Hugo expo, Hôtel de Sens, 2018)

Thank you for flying Equinoxio’s Tme-Space shuttle. Have a great week-end.




90 thoughts on “Notre Dame, livre deuxième

  1. Beautiful and informative Brian. I have some photos of Notre Dame Cathedral from my visits there while living in Germany. They are packed away in an old military trunk. Thanks for sharing yours and your details of NDC.

  2. Too bothersome to go downstairs. Bien sur. Ils ne s’emmerdent pas. When I heard about the fire, I thought, someone’s going to lose his job. But then I remembered it’s France. Not even sure if burning down a world cultural treasure can get you fired. Haha. Thanks for these lovely tributes, Brian. Sois sage.

  3. Hello Equinoxio. Wonderful incredible detail. Thank you for sharing these pictures. I wish today’s architecture would include more detail. Modern buildings are so plain on the outside. Hugs

  4. Thank you for this tribute that includes the gargoyles. They are one of my dad’s favorite parts. Well done photos. I must admit I wondered if smoking on the scaffolds was the cause of the fire. Interesting (appalling) to hear they were smoking there. Thanks, Rebecca

  5. Thank you for this series of posts on Notre Dame de Paris, showing the history of the Cathedral, but also its many facets in long shot and close up, as it were (not to mention the difference between gargoyle and chimera or grotesque). My condolences on the loss. I am not trying to compare one loss with another (and certainly with the loss of people), but I am reminded of the sorrow of a Glaswegian friend following the Glasgow School of Art fires.

    • Looked up that fire. That too “involved” restoration… Looks like they are not taking enough precautions… The company at Notre-Dame had had another fire at another site some time back.
      But I have not heard of any “significant” public inquiry in Paris… 😦
      Thanks for your visit and comment.

  6. Beautiful excursion and all the fine detail, like the fossils! I was there exactly a decade ago, but with all the crowd I didn’t see that much.
    I was surprised and upset that the internet world divided on the matter of rebuilding.

  7. Thank you for this following post. I recently read a news story about the robot water cannon that was guided into the church to shoot huge fonts of water at the roof from below and which was responsible for no more burning than did. An interesting combination of medieval and modern technology.

    • Yeah, the robot was a great idea. One of the learnings (I hope) of this fire is that theFire department’s resources are not up to par… Tsss. Hopefully, they will do something. That can happen in any of the monuments in France…

  8. Dear Brian, the second book is lovely. I enjoyed your post (part I & part ll) very much. Again, it’s a beautiful tribute. I was taken back to read the apostles had been dismounted just days before, thankfully. You did a lovely job with the restoration of “Notre-Dame de Paris”, you have quite the talent! The etchings in the book are lovely. The Paris street art is spectacular, no surprise there, I do love the work by Ardif. Your personal photos are wonderful and I’m fascinated with the stairs to the tower. Forgive me, how is it that the fossils came to be part of the stairs? Please enjoy the rest of your weekend! ~ Mia

    • Wow! You know Ardif! 🙂 Great artist. renovating the concept of art in my humble opinion.
      The restoration? Just a matter of having the right teacher and materials… 🙂 The leather part was fun.
      Fossils. The paris region, Ile de France, Normandy, England and Wales were covered by the sea 30 million years ago. We had a house in Normandy, built 2 centuries ago with the exact same fossil ridden stones. The landscape in England and Normandy, the terrain, the plants, the trees are just the same. There is more continuity in the world than we think.
      Bonne semaine Mia.

      • Hi Brian, I spent some time looking up Ardif’s work. Fascinating the marriage of nature and machine (architecture).

        As for the restoration, you did a terrific job. It saddens me that we’re moving away from physical books and libraries to the virtual. I believe there’s a tactile experience that adds to the overall enjoyment of a book, but what do I know?

        The fossils are fascinating, I didn’t know it was so prevalent. How true, the connections are much closer than we realize. The is much truth to the six degrees of separation, even when fossilizing!

        Please have a wonderful evening and a fabulous Friday! 🙂

      • Ardif is amazing. And quite young. I understand he’s an architect by trade. He is reinventing art.
        Books? What can I say? I have thousands. And restore some regularly. I’m “fighting” with a 19th century book on mammals with 200 engravings. I’d done a first repair, but it’s not holding. Will have to do a major overhaul. 🙂
        Connections? Are you referring to the 6 people on average between anyone and the Prez?

      • Brian, wishing you the best with your current restoration, keep fighting a good fight, the book will thank you in the long run. 😉 The theory people are at most six connections away from one and other, Kevin Bacon comes to mind. 🙂 Please enjoy the remains of Sunday, and have a wonderful and ‘restorative’ week ahead!

      • Kevin Bacon? Probably. I don’t remember who did that research. Because it was bon fide research. And well done. I’ll look up Kevin Bacon. Thanks Mia.

      • It could have been in person but I’m not sure. Even with mail I understand the idea was to forward to someone you knew as close as possible to the final recipient, who would then forward and so forth. 6 times. 🙂

      • Glad to oblige. The idea, methodologically speaking is fab. And to learn that Milgram (a long-time idol of mine) was involved… All the better.
        Another methodological trait-de-génie was how to measure honesty per country. Leave a wallet in a public place with 50 bucks and owner’s name and address inside. Measure of honesty is the % of wallets per country sent back to the “owner”. Brilliant.

      • Absolutely brilliant, and perhaps sad too depending on the results. I wounder what the results would look like if the study was repeated today.

        No doubt you’re familiar with, The Milgram Shock Experiment. Quite something, unnerving in fact, humanity at its best, and it’s best at times is horrific.

        Human behavior is fascinating, while often disappointing which is sadly predictable.

      • For a short while “shock experiment” left me wondering. Then I realized it’s what I call “submission to authority”. The greatest class I had in Grad school. Our professor put a projector in the class room and showed us the 16mm film of Milgram’s “shock experiment”. Dr Cashman was indeed one of the 2 or 3 best teachers I ever had. I could never look at authority with the same eyes. 🙂

      • Quite the experiment with so many different caveats in regard to The Authority, The Savior/Punisher and The Shock Receiver, I find this much like the construct of the drama triangle. It’s still hard for me to grasp that it’s ever okay to injure another because The Authority says to. No free passes, we each have to live with ourselves and the decisions we’ve made. I’ve not been able to watch more than a few minutes of the film, too unsettling for me.

      • Almost a cast of mean characters, right? I did watch the entire film. It was compulsory for that class. To be honest I found it fascinating. To see how far anybody was willing to go. I was actually just out of the Army, and I remembered how “Authority” was played. Made me even more suspicious of Authority. 🙂

      • Dear Brian, thank you for the link, it’s excellent. I agree, Ardif is an amazing artist and I love the conceptual nature of his work, “. . . the desire to bring people into my imagination . . .” I’m looking forward to seeing some of his larger scale work.

    • Merci. C’est juste un petit texte en hommage à un très bel endroit. Notre-Dame pour moi c’est tout, c’est l’ile de la cité, l’ile saint-louis, les quais autour… l’un des plus beaux lieux du monde… Biz

  9. Thanks for sharing these images and your photographs and your previous post…appreciate to see and read your narrative Brian…I visited once…my memory is vague…I can imagine the sorrow people feel…and all that goes along with that…have a joyful day ~ smiles Hedy ☺️🤓

  10. Oh là là that queue! (I’ve queued it once, but it wasn’t quite that bad.) My heart was shattered by this event and I’ve avoided blog posts on Notre Dame. But I wouldn’t miss yours, and I’m not disappointed. Lovely posts, Brian, atmospheric as ever. At least she still lives in photos, millions of them.

    • Queue has become atrocious. Everywhere. The Louvre receives 30,000 visitors a day. 😦
      There will come a time when tickets will be limited and sold at auction.
      About these posts I took the example of another blogger who did not put photos of “after”. Rather I chose images of “before”.
      I am confident it will be rebuilt. Identical. 🙂

      • Mass tourism has become mad. And it has its impacts. The funny thing is that no one admits to being part of it, it’s always everyone else, while the person in question is of course an off the beaten track individualist, amongst thise 29 999 tourists… aargh! Times have changed so much since I worked in tourism and it wasn’t even long ago since I quit (2001-2014). I blame Instagram and other social media! This much travel is damaging to the climate… (Tickets to historic places in Italy need advance booking these days, months in advance. During my Italian summer in 2003, things were sooo different. I’m happy to have those memories pre #yolo-craze…)

      • Totally agree. I understand Dubrovnik is invaded by GOT fans. There was a time, when Saint-Sulpice in Paris was full of Dan Brown fans counting steps to the mystery spots…
        A few people have already asked me if I knew of a nice desert island… care to join us when I find it?
        (And as an afterthought, I did my first flight age 6 months on a DC3 from Karachi to Paris, via Teheran, Beyrouth, Rome… Flight took three days, and airlines made money… Mysterious.)

    • Thank you Jane. Oh, it will happen. Beauvais, Reims, Nantes and others have. Now, ‘Efficiently’ is the big question. As long as they don’t put a pyramid in lieu of the roof, I’ll be ok. 😉
      Thanks for the visit

  11. Fantastic photos of all the detail, Brian. Thank goodness those statues had been removed before the fire happened. So fortuitous. 👏🏻 Thanks for all the interesting facts. The renovations are going to be really interesting.

    • Thank you. The more diffusion the better. Nonsense will be defeated. (J’espère!) Good news: the latest poll put 54% of French in favour of an identical reconstruction. Which is very good. Fingers crossed.

  12. The famous Notre Dame fossils. I’ve heard of those. You did a great job with photoshop, removing the wire mesh. I spent two weeks in France but I have never been to Paris, so I greatly appreciate this in-depth examination of the cathedral. Thanks for collecting from multiple sources to give us a good sense of that part of the structure. Also what the what? Found the book in a gutter! What a treasure!

      • St. Victor la Coste, in Provence. I flew into Marceille, took the train to Avignon, then was picked up by an organization to promote French heritage. It is a brilliant program that teaches volunteers to build stone walls in the medieval methods, then rebuilds French historic sites. So I got to rebuild part of the walls of the castilla in St. Victor. Spent the whole two weeks working my ass off to rebuild the castle, with a couple of field trips to Avignon and Arles. Ah, memories….. 🙂

      • You don’t say? One my brothers retired a bit up north, halfway to Montélimar.
        Thank you for rebuilding our heritage. 😉
        I noticed you were but a few miles from Chateauneuf-du-Pape… A great wine. I hope you had some during your stay.

      • Are you French, then? We were restricted to travel by foot, or else hitchiking (which we did!). On our time off we walked to the Roman ruins at Gaujac, to Connaux, and to Lirac, but that’s as far as we got. We tasted some wonderful wines from there (Lirac particularly, if my memory is correct?) but not as far as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. We shipped as many bottles of “olive oil” home through the mail that we could afford. 😉 The organization is called La Sabranenque, and I’ve fantasized about going back to work for another two weeks.

      • Also I wanted to say, the wine in that region was excellent. The enormous vessels of table wine brought out for lunch and dinner was some of the best wine I’ve tasted.

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