NO MORE QUASI-MODO (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris)
What a sad event happened in Paris this week, Notre Dame so very badly burned and the beauty of this landmark ruined.
We had the pleasure of touring Notre Dame several years ago and found it breathtaking. The dark, severe appearance of it’s gothic architecture with it’s flying buttresses on the outside and the beautiful stained glass windows inside were marvellous to admire. It was easy to imagine Victor Hugo’s Hunchback standing amongst the statues of saints that cover the outside walls.
I have been lucky enough to do much travelling over the past fifteen years. My husband has wanderlust and the ticking off of his “Bucket List” items mean that we have seen many of the world’s natural and man made treasures. We both appreciate architecture and have ventured into many beautiful cathedrals around Europe as these are a treasure trove of beautiful artwork.
When you realize that the cathedrals of Seville, London, York, Paris and Cologne were built in the days when brute strength and crudely designed rope and pulley systems were the only method of lifting building materials, it truly was a marvel that these buildings ever came into being.
If you stand outside any cathedral and really look at the details in the masonry you will see just how intricate are the carvings of saints that are situated inside niches built into the walls, high above the ground. All the figures have different features and are not just made “assembly line” fashion but each one a piece of beautifully detailed, carved artwork.
Today’s modern architecture, while having beautifully sleek lines and cleverly balanced features, does not really appeal to me in the same way as the ancient buildings do. I used to think that London was a huge city and my couple of visits there while I was a child, had me hanging on to the hands of my adult relatives, I was terrified of getting lost. Visiting the city as an adult I realized that London town is just one square mile that can be walked around in a day. All the ancient buildings are in that one mile and anything outside of the area is quite modern and not really something I needed to spend too much time sightseeing.
Of course, to really take in the glory of the inside of these buildings takes so much longer, we used to do two landmarks in one day and still not see every intricate nook and cranny. London now has many modern buildings but not to my taste. The Shard is a very tall, glass building narrowing to a point at the top, hence it’s name. The pimple on the cheek of London is the Gherkin. This is not the name originally planned but the shape of the building resembles nothing but a big dill pickle.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so the saying goes but if any attempt to rebuild Notre Dame is made it is unlikely that it could ever be rebuilt in anything resembling its former glory.