I’d planned another Nigella Diaries update today, but in the early hours of Tuesday morning, I woke to a BBC news update on my phone. The fact that I woke in the middle of the night isn’t unusual – I’m a dreadful sleeper – nor is the BBC update as these days I get a lot of my news from them and when I wake in the middle of the night I tend to take notice of any updates that have come through. It was the subject of the news that was of concern – Notre Dame was on fire.

We’ve visited Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, to give it its full title, a couple of times – but then so do over 12 million people a year. The most recent was a fabulously blue day last May when Grant and I spent 3 weeks in France. Sitting down showing Sarah the photos the other evening reminded me of a few things:

  • the grandeur of the structure
  • the magnificence of the art (and artefacts) within
  • the presence of Notre Dame on the pointy end of Île de la Cité and
  • in contrast to every other church we’d visited – and we visited a lot of them while in France – how noisy it was inside. Yes, it was awe-inspiring, but in a different way to the cathedrals at Reims or Orleans or the basilica at Lyon. Despite their size and grandeur, those still had a sense of peace and quiet. Notre Dame felt too important for that – and too busy. Notre Dame also had a feeling of power and might which the others didn’t have.

It also reminded me that I’d never blogged the Paris part of that trip and, therefore never published these photos. So here they are…some of them, anyway…

As an aside, they say most of the art was saved and Notre Dame will be rebuilt – the fire of this week adding another chapter to the story of the structure.

The outside

The inside

The artifacts

The stained glass

From the water

From Shakespeare & Co

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16 Comments on “Notre Dame

  1. Hi, Jo – I had been waiting for a post on Notre Dame from someone whom I regularly follow. Thank you for doing this. Your photos are stunning. Richard and I were last there in July 2017. I wholeheartedly agree with all of the points you made. (Although the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella was fairly noisy as well)!

    • It certainly was beautiful and will be so again. Symbolically, in a way.

  2. Hi Jo – Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. I was last there in August 2018. I’m hopeful that Notre Dame will be restored to its full beauty again. #Lovin’Lifelinky

    • I’m sure it will be – but this time with another story added.

  3. Such devastation as I love historic buildings and one as famous as Notre Dame. We visited back in 2004 and I remember the ‘gothic’ feeling as I walked throughout the cathedral. I loved looking at the gargoyles and waiting for the Hunchback to appear. Gorgeous photos so thank you for sharing them. This has certainly had a worldwide impact hasn’t it? #Lovin’LifeLinky

    • It sure does. I love that gothic architecture & the meaning behind it – both decorative and structural. They knew a lot then about building buildings that stay up, didn’t they?

  4. I saw your pics on social media and it’s kinda creepy that it’s almost exactly a year since your visit.

    I’ve never been to France but am not the best tourist but am sad for those (for whom) the church meant so much. When I initially saw the news early that morning they were worried the whole church would go so I guess it’s a positive that they were able to save a lot of it.

    • It’s good that they saved most of it – and most of the art. As you know, I’m not religious at all but I think there’s more to it’s symbolic value than just back to the Vatican. These churches hold some amazing art & it’s tough to fathom how a building can be over 850 years old.

  5. It was such a shock to wake to that news wasn’t it? I was so sad. I haven’t seen it yet. Haven’t been to France. I feel like I’ve missed something very important. Thank you for these photo’s Jo. What a stunning building. So special. I know they will rebuild … but it won’t be quite the same. Very pleased to hear they managed to save some important artifacts and that not the entire building has been affected. Take good care of those photo’s – they’ll be pretty special now! #TeamLovinLife

    • When you do see it, it will be with another layer of story… We visited back in 1995 and it really didn’t mean as much then. I wonder why that is.

  6. Jo, thank you for sharing your thoughts, memories and images of Notre Dame. The fire was a horrible thing to have happened but I have been touched by the way the country has been united in their efforts to rebuild the destroyed sections going forward.

    SSG xxx

    • It’s so symbolic and significant to France. I tried to think of something that has the same value to us – where kings have been crowned, armistice declared, proclamations issued…

  7. It was a shock to hear, wasn’t it? I think the saddest thing is the loss of history, and the craftsmanship that went into the building so many hundreds of years ago. It certainly is an iconic building. I read an interesting article today comparing its loss to other losses of icons that are occurring around us – might prompt me to write a post on that subject further down the track.

    • Yes, it’s the history that’s the thing – that’s what you can’t get back when it’s lost. Having said that when it’s rebuilt this story will be part of the new history I guess.

  8. Thanks Jo, I’m with you in remembering visits to Paris and Notre Dame just being there! Such a sad time but hopefully they can rebuild. Love all your photos of happier times. #mlstl

  9. What fabulous photos – so many wonderful memories! The best I could do was find a dodgy photo from 2005 on our first weekend away together. It was a night time shot because I remember it was too busy to try and get in during the day! I hope she will be rebuilt and when she is, I am sure she will be more beautiful than ever.

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