French · Medieval Art and Architecture

Yearly Updates on the Notre-Dame de Paris Restoration

On April 15, 2019, a devastating fire tore through the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, the most beloved and iconic of all Gothic buildings. Largely through the heroic efforts of Paris firefighters, the building was spared the total destruction that at one point seemed inevitable. However, the damage was extensive. Despite early negative forecasts and complications due to the pandemic, the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris is well underway, and the restored building will look as much like the old one as possible. Almost every year since the fire, I have written something about the cathedral's current condition and the status of the restoration. You can find it all in this post.


Think gargoyle-ly, act locally

I spent my Saturday morning gargoyle hunting, and I found these charming little grotesques on a small house on the grounds of a church I sometimes attend. (To be more accurate, I already knew of their existence. I didn't find them as much as I sought them out to take their picture.) Interestingly, I didn't spot a single gargoyle… Continue reading Think gargoyle-ly, act locally

French · Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Reims Cathedral, France

This gargoyle on Reims Cathedral seems to have had a head transplant some time since the Middle Ages! The concept is actually not that unusual, since centuries of running water often erode functioning gargoyles over time. It's difficult to tell from this photo if the replacement was done in metal or a differently-colored stone. Either way, the end result… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Reims Cathedral, France

French · Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Chartres Cathedral, France

This grotesque is on the west portal of Chartres Cathedral - among the grandest and most famous of all French Gothic churches. While its close cousin in Paris is famous for its gargoyles, Chartres is celebrated for its beautiful stained glass and profuse sculptural decoration. Much of this sculptural work is clustered around its nine arched doors (portals);… Continue reading Gargoyle of the Day: Chartres Cathedral, France