Cherished worldwide beyond the Christian community, Notre-Dame is a symbol of Paris and national history. Dating back to 1160 it is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic Architecture.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral has shared moments of glory and tragedy in is 800-year history. At one time it was in a stage of total disrepair at the point of demolition and was saved by Napoleon Bonaparte who signed an agreement in 1801 to restore the church. The cathedral would be the location for his coronation in 1804. An event that has been marked as “the instantiation of modern empire”.
Further restorations in the mid 1800’s were partly spurred on by the enormous popularity of Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris published in 1831, more commonly known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
Hugo’s love of Gothic Architecture was a driving force behind the novel, along with his concern for the lack of appreciation of Architecture as an artistic form. He held great fears for the future of Notre-Dame and used the novel as an attempt to bring awareness and appreciation to the monument.
The book helped drive the historical preservation movement in France which included the revival of Gothic Architecture and ultimately led to the restoration works at Notre-Dame. In 1844 at just 35 years old, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc along with Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus won a competition to carry out the restoration works of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The works were extensive, some of the major additions included the restoration of the primary façade along with the construction of a new spire.
Following the death of Lassus it was Viollet-le-Duc that would carry the restoration works through to fruition. Much of what we see in the modern-day monument was the result of the works carried out during this period.
The fire in 2019 will mark another tragic event in history of this monument, but as it has in the past, Notre-Dame will rise again to continue it’s story.
As lovers of art and history, Saphir Médaille d’Or is dedicated to supporting the resurrection of our national treasure and has pledged 10,000€ to assist the restoration.