Matt Betts & I decided to go see Notre Dame on Friday morning. We went right after we figured mass would be over, since tromping around during a service would be rude to say the least. We didn’t get to go up the towers, because the lines were already a block long and we did want to get back to the conference to hear some papers. Next time…
Notre Dame is a very old cathedral, construction having started in 1163, finishing some two hundred years later. It had fallen into a state of some disrepair, thanks in part to its conversion to a “Temple of Reason” during the revolution, when Victor Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame. That inspired calls for the restoration, which was completed in 1864.
Repair and restoration are ongoing processes here. For example, the huge chandelier which normally hangs in the crossing was on the floor being worked on.
Some of the side chapels had clearly been cleaned and had their painting restored, while others were completely black from the soot given off by candles which had been burned there over the centuries.
The interior is an amazing space. The architects who first figured out how to build cathedrals were true geniuses.