France Virtuelle

France Virtuelle: Notre Dame Edition

As promised in the Notre Dame update last week, we have a full France Virtuelle on Notre Dame! Dive back into the restoration and then watch a truly unique look at the history of Notre Dame.

The Spire & The Pollen

Here’s France24’s annual check-in on Notre Dame. They focus on the creation of the base of the spire—so amazing—as well as the restoration of the decor. The level of skill and technology involved is incredible. And thank you Viollet-le-Duc for leaving such detailed documentation!

They also take a quick look at some of the research going into the sarcophogi. Scientists are working to isolate and research the pollen found within the organic plant material found in the sarcophogi. Hopefully this will give us more information about the dating and rituals involved. Every little bit is a clue!

I’m not sure if an American leadership team would have awarded a contract to the company that is at the very least theoretically responsible for the fire. It’s both an incredible gesture and a lot of trust. Modern day noblesse oblige?

More Spire Goodness

TODAY did a great spire-themed segment as well. I like that we get to meet some more of the artisans!

Research Is Never A Waste

There have been several happy coincidences with research done before the fire. The “Forest” of roof timbers had been minutely mapped a few years before the blaze. Viollet-le-Duc, the passionate 19th-century architect, left behind extensive notes of his own restoration of the cathedral. And one dedicated and obsessive historian 3D mapped the building inside and out, which has proven invaluable in the restoration process.

Check out his story from DW!

I wonder how the lead “mortar” between the stones held up in the fire?

Notre Dame Tells Her Story

Moving beyond the reconstruction, this one is…interesting. It’s a largely animated story of Notre Dame told from the cathedral’s point-of-view. The narrator, as an added bonus, is former Bond Girl Sophie Marceau. It’s fun but I feel it makes a lot of assumptions about historical events and people. So watch more for entertainment than education!

It’s in French, but for English, use the settings to turn on English auto-generated captions.

What was your favorite part? I, of course, loved the medieval era the most! While we probably don’t know if Sully actually had nightmares about the roof collapsing, that was such a common problem at the time that it seems likely!

For The Truly Dedicated

Love Notre Dame? Need a full 3-episode documentary? Comfy with it being French-only? Then I have just the thing! The European TV Channel ARTE put together a fantastic documentary on Notre Dame’s restoration. The catch is that it is only available to European viewers. And it is only free through May 2, 2023. But you can watch it if you have a VPN. And even once it’s no longer available for free, it will be available for purchase as a digital download or DVD (watch the shipping fees).

Watch the first episode here (don’t forget to set your VPN for France first!).

Next Updates?

We have a lot of exciting stuff going on still in 2023. Hopefully we’ll hear more about the sarcophogi, the spire will be mostly ready, and I’m sure we’ll continue to see more interesting behind the scenes info!

Stay tuned for more!

À bientôt!


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