This is a discovery to be miraculous. A sister almost a twin of the clock of the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris was found a few kilometres away, raising the hope of being able to reconstruct this masterpiece swept away with the roof by the flames.
It is necessary to mount the spiral staircase as narrow as dark of the church of the Holy Trinity, in the 9th district, to arrive at a kind of discount under the bells. There, among a bric-à-brac of statues of angels forgotten, sculptures, discontinued and old furniture, a clock, a ton slumbers, barely visible behind the broken windows of a wooden partition at the peeling paint.
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While he carries out an inventory for the account of experts in art objects, the clockmaker Jean-Baptiste Viot penetrates in may in the small room with the smell of musty, with in head the images of the clock of Our Lady, destroyed in the violent fire of April. It is the shock when he discovers the mechanism of cast iron and brass more than two meters long. “This is amazing. It is the same. The same,” he reiterates in the shine of his hand darkened the tin plate decorating the clock, to make it appear that a registration which does not lie on their relationship. “The year 1867. Built by Collin”, ie the same year as that of Our Lady. And by the same workshop.
less than four kilometers from the cathedral of Notre-Dame, Mr Viot has just put the hand on the twin sister or nearly of the clock which has almost entirely melted in the fire. “This is a huge chance. It is as if there were another edition of a book that would have burned. It is priceless”, he says.
The clock of Notre-Dame had not been scanned
To the difference of the structure of Notre-Dame, the clock had not been scanned before its destruction. The plans having disappeared, no indication exists, therefore, except photos, to guide its reconstruction. “This discovery allows us to have a base of work to redo parts of that of Our Lady. “It will serve as a yardstick”, according to M. Viot.
“It is almost miraculous to have made this discovery,” admits Olivier Chandez, the watchmaker of Notre-Dame. “If we only had photographs, it would have had to extrapolate. But with this model, it has all the ratings and we can start the production”, explains the expert.
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Rendered obsolete by the fairy electricity, which now account the hours to The Holy Trinity, the clock hasn’t turned for over fifty years. But it is enough to give a good shot of the crank arm so that again the ticking is heard. “This is crazy. Fifty years after. Even the ring is functional,” said a delighted Jean-Baptiste Viot.
But there is no question of transferring the clock of the church of the Holy Trinity to Our Lady. “It is the same model, but there are still some differences: that of Notre-Dame was a little more elaborate. Therefore, it is not possible to exchange the standard”, tranche M. Chandez. The watchmaker would like rather than a replica find the location that the clock was prior to the damage, the arrow disappeared. But still is it that this reconstruction fits in the overall project of renovation of the building. “That reconstruction without a clock, this is a fear, yes,” warns Mr Chandez.
However, the reconstruction of the clock “would be a drop of water” in the funds already pledged for reconstruction (850 million euros to mid-April). “1% of the overall budget, it would already be enormous,” said Mr. Chandez. The “master of time” Notre Dame refuses to design a “new” cathedral without its dial: “all the religious buildings have a clock. All”. And Jean-Baptiste Viot to thrive: “A cathedral without a clock, it is like an aircraft carrier without aircraft”.