When my wife and I first arrived in Paris in 2002, evening was descending as we checked into our B&B and it was dark when we went out for our first stoll in Paris. We were staying in the area of the Botanical Gardens, and it was a short walk down to the quay by that part of the Seine.
As we rounded a corner where the river bends, we were astonished and delighted with the magnificent sight of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame across the river, brightly lit against the dark of the September Paris sky.
It was a moment as indelible in my memory as any can be, tucked away for safekeeping in my mental file of “most treasured memories”.
All over the world — and of course, especially in Paris —, others are taking out similar memories of that most beautiful and iconic of Parisian structures, holding them in their mind’s eye and sadly reflecting on the loss of yesterday’s fire.
While other structures may come to mind as iconic representations of tourist Paris, it is the cathedral of Notre-Dame that is the architectural heart of that city, both figuratively and quite literally. The city was founded on the island in the middle of the Seine on which the cathedral stands.
It is a building so beautiful in its design and execution that is is without doubt a sculpture; and like all great sculpture, it modifies and enriches the experience of the space around it.
Notre-Dame de Paris, and views of it from various angles and sections of the city, have been an inspiration for generations of artists. I’ve selected a few of them to view here, — as a reminder the building in its proper glory and hopefully a glimpse of its eventual restoration. You can find more on the Google Art Project.
(Images above: Edward Deakin, Luigi Loir, Amrita Sher-Gil, Charles Meryon, Frederick Childe Hassam, Jean Francois Raffaelli, Maximilien Luce, Eugene Galien-Laloue, Edouard Cortes, Marie-Francois Firmin-Girard, Henri Le Riche)