Simanaitis Says

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

OUR CELEBRATION of Notre Dame’s resilience and beauty continues today in Part 2. We travel down the Seine on a Batobus, get cathedral specifications from 1874 and 1937, and read a post-World War II perspective.

Views from the Seine. My Batobus adventure followed the Seine’s southern branch around the Ile de la Cité. Proximity and views of Notre Dame were breathtakingly beautiful.

From Cook’s Handbook to Paris,: “The west front, surmounted by two square towers, originally intended to be crowned by spires, dates from the thirteenth century…. At the north and south entrances are superb rose windows, of most elaborate tracery.”

“The apse of the east end is also good,” Cook’s writes, “but the flying buttresses, which are very numerous, tend, perhaps, to weaken the general effect of the exterior.”

I am reminded of the comment, “I think of myself as a flying buttress: I support Holy Mother the Church, but from the outside.”

Specifications from 1874 and 1937. The American Traveller’s Guide to Paris, Munroe & Co., 1874, writes of Notre Dame “… having been thoroughly restored during the last few years, it may rank as one of the noblest specimens of Gothic architecture. It is 390 ft. long, 102 ft. high, with transepts 144 ft. wide, and has a new and most elaborately traced central spire 135 ft. above the roof.”

Cook’s, 1937, differs in measurement, but writes, “The spire above the crossing, 148 feet in height (292 feet above ground), constructed of wood covered with lead, and designed by Viollet-le-Duc, is of singular delicacy and beauty.”

Architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc was chosen in 1844 to restore Notre Dame, left heavily damaged by mobs of the French Revolution. Viollet-le-Duc was 30 at the time. Meagan Flynn gives details in the Washington Post, April 16, 2019.

A Night Owl’s View. Even George Mac’s All About Paris Including Paris By Night speaks well of Our Lady: “Notre-Dame is the greatest monument of the Middle Ages in France, mighty and robust…. For 700 years, generation after generation has knelt down and prayed. Here takes place the most holy spectacle of the Catholic Church, every Sunday, High Mass at 10 o’clock and 11 o’clock, in all its greatest splendour and beauty.”

Don’t be put off by these other ladies. Image from George Mac’s All About Paris Including Paris By Night. The book’s date of publication is not indicated, but a comment notes “The Existentialist cellars have shot up like mushrooms since the last war.”

Never fear. Our Lady has shown resilience and beauty. ds

© Dennis SimanaitisSays.com, 2019

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