Notre Dame ... objective 2024

The confinement period of course meant some interruption of the reconstruction work of the Notre Dame Cathedral, but it has now been resumed for a couple of weeks. The objective to have it pretty much finished in 2024 has been confirmed, as well as the basic idea to bring it all more or less back to what is was before the fire … no extravagant new ideas.

The yellow crane we can see is the highest of this kind in Europe and was obviously offered for free by the manufacturer.

The scaffolding seems to be the big issue. This involves new ones all over the place, but more specially the need to dismantle the scaffolding which was there before the fire - for the renovation of the now fallen spire. As it melted during the fire, the demolition is complicated and needs a lot of precautions… takes time.

Some parts of the cathedral are extremely well protected.

… but some parts can still be seen, more or less as they were… are.
In front of the cathedral, on a protecting wall, you can see some illustrations by kids from all over the world.



« Heureusement que vous étiez là » - Fortunately you were there. This is what you could read on the Eiffel Tower last night. A tribute was given by the City of Paris to everybody who has participated in making the confinement period successful. This Sunday was the last day before a period of relative relief begins. Let’s see what will happen… we must remain very careful! This means also that we were asked not to go there and look. I took the liberty of doing so, anyhow, only five minutes walk. 

The idea was of course to say “thanks”. We have all been applauding every evening at 8. I think that we have all realized that the thanks go not only to doctors, nurses and hospital personnel in general, but also to delivery men and women, to garbage collectors, to security forces, to cashiers, to postmen and women, to retirement home personnel, to teachers…  We may hope that what has happened the last couple of weeks will lead to increased respect for many work categories. 



I have been quite lazy when it comes to posting lately… I have had of course a real excuse for a couple of weeks. I have been very careful about following the confinement rules, have hardly left my flat (my little garden has been of great help…). Even the River seems to follow the confinement rules, totally at rest!

Yesterday evening I decided to make a little walk, within the rules - not more than 1 km, not exceeding an hour…This is what this part of Paris looks like at the moment. Hardly anybody around…

… even around the Tower and Chaillot.

I like this view of the Flame with Sacré Cœur in the far background, but looking slightly to the right… I don’t too much like to see all these boats lying idle!

Here is a graph (published by Financial Times daily). Some of the curves are going down, including the French one. If nothing special happens, we will be slightly freer again May 11, but… all of us have to behave very well - and also the virus has to behave very well - if we in a reasonable future may expect to be back to a more “normal life”… e.g. to sit down at a bar terrace with a nice glass of red wine, going to a concert, to the cinema... and hoping to see the 50 million annual Paris visitors back!  



I visited the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church again (see previous posts here and here). The restoration works are almost finished. 

For some reason, this time I was especially struck by the capitals of the pillars. The carved capitals are all different and many of them have very medieval types of decorations. I understand that most of these are not the original ones, but were later copied. Some of the original ones can be found at the Cluny Museum (see posts here and here). Now, almost all of the ones in the church have again been restored and have very bright colours.

I think it’s interesting to see how these sometimes grotesque and not always very respectful illustrations were allowed, even encouraged, during the medieval times - see also some of the above ones. One can compare also with what I showed from the walls of the northern transept of the Saint Denis Basilica (see here).

Finally, some sun and light reflecting on the walls and pillars.  



There is a new entrance to the Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau metro station. I have used the station for years… never thought about how the walls are decorated, but using the corridor leading to the new entrance (or exit), I was struck by the wall decoration (see top picture)…

… and when looking around I realised that the walls of the whole station are decorated by a large number of similar ceramics.  

I then learnt that they are all created by a Portuguese artist, Manuel Cargaleirio. The previous ones have been there for more than 20 years… and I have overlooked them. I also learnt that there has been an exchange between the Lisbon and the Paris metros. The Paris metro has got these “azulejos”, and the Lisbon metro has got one of the typical Guimard metro entrances.

The additional decoration was officially inaugurated a couple of weeks ago in the presence of the artist (now 92 years old), the Portuguese Prime Minister, the Mayor of Paris…  (pictures "stolen" on the net).


A hidden church.

This church, so well hidden, dates from 1855 and is in a perfect Neo-Gothic style. Some modern buildings have later separated the entrance from the street. We are just in front of the “Le Bon Marché” department store (see previous post here).

The church is called Saint Ignace. It’s a Jesuit church dedicated to Saint Ignace, Ignatius de Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit movement. I already talked about the fact that Ignatius together with some friends decided about the creation of the “Society of Jesus” in 1534 in a little chapel on the slopes of Montmartre (see previous post here). Maybe we should remember that the present Pope is a Jesuit.

The church has a number of very nicely decorated chapels dedicated to different saints, one of course to Ignatius himself, see top picture.

The immediate neighbour to the church is a Jesuit university-level faculty, opened in 1974, today open to men and women, lay and religious.  


Gloomy sky, but...

Yes, we have had some grey days…, but Paris is still there.

I realised that, on this photo, you can see not only the Sacré Cœur, but also the top of the Opera Garnier, Napoleon on Place Vendôme… and, in the very front, the statue of Thomas Jefferson.

I take the opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year !