Dieu merci: “Notre-Dame de Paris will be rebuilt identically”

Historian of the cathedral, Agnès Poirier, celebrates the triumph of a pure restorationist vision:

After fifteen months of suspense during which designers from around the world have come up with the most audacious if not totally bizarre designs for Notre-Dame’s new spire and roof, we finally have a verdict. President Macron and the panel of experts presiding over the fate of the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral, which narrowly survived last year’s terrible fire, have unanimously approved almost every single recommendation made by the architect-in-chief Philippe Villeneuve.

His 3,000-page report, launched with a four-hour presentation in Paris on July 9, could be summarised in a sentence: Notre-Dame de Paris will be rebuilt identically.

For a large majority of people in France and beyond, it is a huge relief, and for the 57-year-old Villeneuve, the guardian of the cathedral, it is a sweet and emotional victory. Villeneuve belongs to Notre-Dame. As a small boy with a passion for organ music, he found his vocation in architecture while seated on the wooden benches of the cathedral…

 
The decision is not entirely unexpected but it’s still wonderful to hear. The danger of a second conflagration – a ‘progressive’ corruption of, first, theology, and then history itself – was immense. My advice to the estimable M. Villeneuve would be to stay on guard all the same. Vandals never sleep.

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33 Responses to Dieu merci: “Notre-Dame de Paris will be rebuilt identically”

  1. Hay Stockard

    I sincerely hope it is restored to its former glory. Too many of our beautiful things have been ruined by lefty iconoclasts.

  2. Roberto

    Deo gratias.

    We sang a votive mass to this effect not long after the fire. Dominus precationes nostras exaudivit.

  3. Anonandon

    Maybe beef up security at the same time. Just a hunch.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    Nice to hear. Maybe someone could do something about Hagia Sophia next.

  5. Megan

    Nice to hear. Maybe someone could do something about Hagia Sophia next

    +1000

  6. Neville

    Last sentence ..
    Yes, all sorts of vandals, even those of specific ideology or religiousity ..

  7. Papachango

    Maybe someone could do something about Hagia Sophia next

    After 1,000 years as a cathedral and 500 years as a mosque, I thought it w s pretty cool of Ataturk to declare it a secular museum. I was awestruck by the both the early Christian and Islamic iconography there when I visited a few years ago.

    Turning it back into a mosque is a worrying sign – will they preserve the incredible Byzantine art in the place or destroy it?

    Its not as if Istanbul has a shortage of impressive mosques built from scratch by the Ottomans…

  8. Papachango

    Back on topic, the French don’t really do PC, and ‘les Parisiens’ are pretty attached to Notre Dame as ‘le coeur de Paris’.

    Dicking with its fundamental design would have upset a lot of them – -a bit like the glass pyramid in the Louvre…

  9. Papchango:

    -a bit like the glass pyramid in the Louvre…

    That pyramid is like a wart in front of the Louvre…
    Gauche describes it well.

  10. Rabbi Putin

    I’m also very thankful.

    Something for Australian urban planners to learn, newer does not mean better, and conventions and traditions became that way for a reason.

    But let’s all be honest here, the Lefties loved seeing Notre Dame going up in flames.

  11. Roger

    Good news.

    Readers may be interested to know that a fine example of French Gothic cathedral architecture resides in Brisbane. St John’s Cathedral features the only stone vaulted ceiling in the southern hemisphere. It was built in three statges from 1901 to 2009 and funded largely by public subscription. Unfortunately, some features of the interior have deteriorated over the years and the current Dean has been allowed to erect incongruous political displays within. Still worth a visit, though.

  12. Mother Lode

    A welcome surprise.

    As far as tourism goes it was for the splendid building harking back centuries wrapped in a historical mystique that they went to see. Not some new variation in the style of what we see everyday.

    For the religious it was a connection with the church with 2 millennium of continuous tradition and a building connecting them to the time of saints.

    That there is anyone so bereft of feeling that they thought the new designs would have been an improvement shows just how far bureaucracy and government has drifted to barbarity – uncouth, petty, and by nature destructive.

    They would think that their time was the only real one, that the past was a necessary but incomplete preparation for the now and the future will be a perpetual homage to the by then departed genius of today.

  13. calli

    A great opportunity to replace the roof and spire with something fireproof, plus new wiring. It will be strong and beautiful.

    As for the Pyramid, I like it. You can’t lock a city like Paris in time.

  14. All those modern architects will be devastated.

  15. Roger

    They would think that their time was the only real one, that the past was a necessary but incomplete preparation for the now and the future will be a perpetual homage to the by then departed genius of today.

    The conceit of the moderns.

  16. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    In such a depressing age of collective global insanity this is a truly surprising decision. I fully expected some monstrous incongruous steel and perspex monstrosity (or worse) to slapped on top of it.

  17. Boambee John

    Nice to hear. Maybe someone could do something about Hagia Sophia next

    Maybe somebody is. Its re-opening as a mosque became a Kung Flu hotspot, and a senior imam died on site soon after.

  18. Geriatric Mayfly

    Spurgeon Monkfish III
    #3544904, posted on August 12, 2020 at 8:27 am
    In such a depressing age of collective global insanity this is a truly surprising decision. I fully expected some monstrous incongruous steel and perspex monstrosity (or worse) to slapped on top of it.

    Perspex always looks cheap. Solar panels would have given the roof symbolism by capturing a gift from God.

  19. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Saw a TV show recently on the ‘Dark Ages’, which concentrated mainly on the architecture of the Mediterranean, following firstly the Vandals into Carthage and Spain, and then the Goths, both Visi and Ostro in their wandering and politics from the fifth to the eighth centuries. They were all initially of the Arian persuasion, having been first Christianised by Ulfilas the Arian, but they did build some smallish but attractive churches at a time when the West was very much in decline. Later their churches became more orthodox in their theology and some Arian influences were removed or ‘ajusted’ in the iconography. But the buildings remained, a symbol of trust and hope in civilisation.

    Vandals weren’t all that bad. 🙂

  20. notafan

    Only confirming what was happening.

    I saw the repairs underway in January.

  21. iain russell

    Lizzie, neither were us Vikings! 🙂

  22. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    As for the Pyramid, I like it. You can’t lock a city like Paris in time.

    True, the Pyramid is not a complete disaster. Dan Brown did it proud too, which persuaded many. 🙂

    I have always disliked the Pompidou Centre building in Paris though. Horrible external piping going everywhere as some architect’s vision of virtue by showing the innards of of structure and function. As nasty as the rather dated fashion for the ‘building is actually falling slowly down’ jumble of perspectives: see the UTS expression of it in Sydney, as a deluded reaction probably to the brutalism of their 60’s ‘tower’ horror. Of equal lack of merit is the current fashion for growing greenery over all built forms. There is no better way to ensure that in ten years your building will be plagued by dampness and water decay problems and look like a woman who hasn’t seen a hairdresser for the whole period of an extensive Covid lockdown while having gone mad tearing out bits of her hair.

  23. Morant

    iain russell
    “Lizzie, neither were us Vikings!”

    I don’t think that Ann Pilledge would agree with that!

  24. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Iain, as a lady of Norse genetic heritage myself, via stray Norse raiders on my Welsh matriline I surmise, and as Norsemen from Sweden as well as from Northern France in my paternal heritage, I definitely stand up for the Vikings, in the skin and hair and blue eyes department in particular.

    I think too I have a bit of the very old Welsh in me. In moments when I was naughty, which were frequent, my Welsh nana, an old village wise woman, would call me ‘you little Catanna’ whenever I answered back a bit lippy. I have since found this word stems from two old Welsh/Irish concepts: ‘cat’ was the word for a battle, and ‘anu or anna’ was the name of an ancient river and battle goddess. Hence I was a battle female, a sort of valkyrie I suspect, an old word caught out of time in the interstices of the Welsh valleys in which my nana grew up. My mother had a few similar quirks; she would wrap my babies tied close to her body in her big welsh shawl and do her cooking like that, saying all the time to them ‘whist, little one, whist’. I have since found out that the sibilant ‘whist’ was an ancient Hiberno/Welsh invocation against evil spirits.

  25. Oh come on

    That’s very welcome news. I was worried the spire would be replaced by some hideous modernist glass and stainless steel explosion.

  26. Whalehunt fun

    Thank Heavens that this pile of old junk, this memorial to ignorance and primitive belief in fairies, this arcane pointless stupidity will be rebuilt at whatever cost instead of wasting the wealth on the poor, the disadvantaged, the disabled, the unemployed whom Jesus suggested as being most worthy of our care and concern. So good we are pisssing on everything Jesus stood for.

  27. Dr Faustus

    Turning it back into a mosque is a worrying sign – will they preserve the incredible Byzantine art in the place or destroy it?

    Last time the place was used as a mosque, most of the interior Christian imagery was plastered over to avoid blasphemy.

    I don’t imagine the blasphemy rules have been relaxed – and sadly, the Ottomans were probably more conservation-minded than the current crop.

  28. Tim Neilson

    So good we are pisssing on everything Jesus stood for.

    Yes, like the story of the woman’s jar of ointment in John 12 1-8 ….
    Oh, wait…

  29. Rex Anger

    I don’t imagine the blasphemy rules have been relaxed – and sadly, the Ottomans were probably more conservation-minded than the current crop.

    The greastest irony being, if they were going to do the job properly, they’d have to pull a Palmyra on the whole lot…

  30. Judge Dredd

    The wicked were pushing hard, and I am sure Macron would have accepted a perverted rebuild if it was recommended.
    This is a win for the good guys.
    Now only if they can find satanists who deliberately lit the fire.

  31. Judge Dredd

    Thank Heavens that this pile of old junk, this memorial to ignorance and primitive belief in fairies, this arcane pointless stupidity will be rebuilt at whatever cost instead of wasting the wealth on the poor, the disadvantaged, blah, blah, blah

    You sound just like Judas – “but Jesus, we could have sold that perfume to help the poor and needy!”.
    Turn to God, repent your sins and your life will turn out so much better.

  32. notafan

    Thanks Tim,

    Funnily enough Christians are very good at spending their hard earned on both churches and charity. Though in this case many secular organisations have decided it is a worthwhile cause.

    Not to mention Christians who have dedicated their whole lives to the service of the poor and the sick, like St Damien of Molokai.

    Why should they rebuild a beautiful historic cathedral that has survived many a catastrophie and is indeed the heart of Paris.

    How dare they have built it in the first place!

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