Simanaitis Says

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WE WERE ALL horrified by the Notre Dame Cathedral fire of April 15, 2019. Yet we also celebrate Our Lady’s inherent resilience and beauty. Here are photos of Notre Dame, one from an early aerial perspective and others from a Parisian adventure of mine several years ago. The images are interspersed with tidbits gleaned from my collection of old guidebooks. Our complete tour is in Parts 1 and 2, today and tomorrow.

An Historic Site. “The Ile de la Cité, a small island connected with both banks of the Seine by bridges,” describes Cook’s Traveller’s Handbook to Paris, by Roy Elston, Simkin Marshall, 1937, “is the site of the original Gallic settlement and of the Gallo-Roman city which followed the original Roman occupation. It is one of the most interesting parts of the city, with such notable ancient buildings as Notre-Dame.”

The City’s Cathedral. According to Baedeker’s Paris and Its Environs, Karl Baedeker, 1913, “The cathedral of **Notre-Dame stands on the site of a church of that name, rebuilt in the second half of the 9th cent., and of a church of St.-Etienne, mentioned as early as 690, which adjoined Notre-Dame on the E.”

“The present church,” Baedeker’s continues, “was begun in 1163, under the auspices of Maurice de Sully, Bishop of Paris…. and by about 1240 the original plan had been entirely carried out. The chapels began to be added in 1250, necessitating the addition (about 1260) of a bay to the transept. Lastly, at the beginning of the 14th cent., the cathedral assumed the form which it presents at the present day.”

A View from the Air. Because of newer, taller buildings nearby, one of the best perspectives of Notre Dame comes from the air. Here is Our Lady seen from the south.

Image from Europe: An Aerial Close-Up, by Charles E. Rotkin, Bonanza Books, 1952.

Tomorrow in Part 2, we will motor down the Seine on a Batobus. We also learn of a 30-year-old architect responsible for Notre Dame’s restoration—175 years ago. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

2 comments on “TO ALL OF US, SHE IS “OUR LADY” PART 1

  1. jimdonick
    April 29, 2019

    Dennis:  This is wonderful.  I’m on France at the moment and was here (in Reims) when the fire took place.   Am in Paris now and have observed both damage and reaction first hand.    I’m assigned to write it for my newspaper when I return.Hoping you are wellvery best,jimdonick

  2. Pingback: Paris Fire (April 2019) « Paris for the Holidays

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