We were all shocked and saddened to learn of the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15th. The flames could be seen burning all the way from atop of Montmartre’s towering hill. Thousands of people flocked to the streets to catch a glimpse of the orange flames and billowing white smoke.
It was touching to watch people watch in awe, cry, and hug over the loss of this monument that attracts millions of visitors each year. We love educating our very own clients with visits to her beautiful views every year and then the chance to take in different perspectives of the cathedral from the surrounding islands just nearby.
The firefighters fought bravely into the night until 4 am to be exact but were able to save most of the Cathedral, and we couldn’t be more thankful. By the evening the roof had caved in as onlookers videoed and shared the trauma collectively.
We sat down with art historian Ben Glenn to learn some surprising information about the history of Notre Dame and the state it is in since the fire.
“If it is any solace, Notre Dame is one of the most heavily restored Gothic cathedrals in France. Not to diminish today’s tragedy, but the news coverage is hyping this disaster without reporting the structure’s actual history.
For example, Notre Dame was in a state of severe disrepair in 1900. The Gallery of Kings was missing all of its sculptures, the central spire is gone, and the portal sculptures had been mutilated or removed entirely. In fact, the building nearly was demolished, only to be saved by Napoleon himself. Until the 19th century, the structure suffered extensive damage to the point where it was largely abandoned and used for storage of grain and artillery.
Virtually all of the stained-glass windows are 19th-century replacements, save for the west façade rose window.
The now-collapsed spire was a 19th-century restoration, as was the roof. The primary concern at this moment of fire is the interior, and if the now-exposed vaults can withstand the weight of water. The interior holds some important medieval sculptures as well as centuries-old relics, and they are major concerns.”
Written by our Paris Network Developer, Krystal Kenney
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After touring the Palace, your concierge will walk with you through the gardens and stop at “la Flotille,” a restaurant near the Grand Canal. There you can chose to lunch either at the brasserie—or on the other side, completely separate, in an upscale restaurant with a garden decor in keeping with the general theme. After lunch, you’ll go on to the Petit Trianon where Marie Antoinette held her private parties and where she built a little village nearby of cottages as backdrop for her picnics. It’s small and has lots of interesting history connected to Marie Antoinette’s life.
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Biking is the best way to discover the grandeur of this 2,000-acre Royal Domain! You’ll start your tour by exploring the local market and pick up the best supplies for a picnic lunch along the lake, after a bike through the forest of Versailles. Then spend the day discovering the royal grounds, the inside of Marie Antoinette’s private domain, the Grand & Petit Trianons, culminating with your Skip-the-Line tickets into the Palace itself with its famous Hall of Mirrors.