On April 15, 2019, Notre-Dame de Paris was consumed by a fire. If the flames took away the arrow and damaged the building, they did not undermine the greatness of this monument built between 1163 and 1345. But the popularity of this religious building, one of the most famous in the world with the Sistine chapel, was built in the day-to-day. Dive into the legend of Our Lady, which suggests a certain history of France.

● the Pillar of The Boatmen.

Found in the location of the crypt of Our Lady, the Pillar of the Boatmen is a monument of the first century before Jesus-Christ. Bridgeman Images/GDR/Bridgeman Images

This bas-relief is one of the four blocks of stone found in the cathedral during the construction of the crypt, in 1711. This column is a monumental gallo-roman structure was built in the first century ad in honour of the roman emperor Tiberius by a brotherhood of the boatmen of the Seine river, the Boatmen of the Parisii tribe. Their allegiance was not total, because the government side the roman figure to a pantheon celtic. The oldest monument is dated, found in the capital, the Pillar of the Nantes is currently kept in the museum of Cluny, in the Fifth arrondissement of Paris.

St Louis bringing the crown of thorns of Christ

Composed in the Nineteenth century by Jules David, this engraving represents the entry of Louis IX bringing the Holy Crown to Notre-Dame de Paris. Rue des Archives/Mary Evans/Rue des Archives

At the end of the 1230s, Louis IX, who will be canonized in 1297, decides to buy the Holy Crown of thorns to Baldwin II of Courtenay, latin emperor of the East to Byzantium. He agrees, but, ruined, he finally decided to place it as security with the bankers of venice. The crown passes through the Mediterranean to the hands of the Venetians, who agree to cede to the king of France for a substantial amount of money. It is transported in the Yonne, where the king comes to welcome him, as a penitent, dressed in a shirt and bare feet. She arrives in Paris on 19 August 1239, where it is deposited to Our Lady, the time of the construction of the Sainte Chapelle nearby. She remained there until 1806, before returning to the cathedral where she was exposed every first Friday of the month. On 15 April, the Holy Crown escapes the fire, in the night, swept up in a safety deposit box of the city Hall of Paris.

The rampages of the French Revolution

The twenty-one heads and the body of the statues of the kings of Judah are today exposed in the museum of Cluny. JOEL SAGET/AFP

In 1793, the revolutionary décapitent and remove the twenty-eight monumental statues of the gallery of the kings. They had believed to recognize the kings of France represented to exalt the monarchy. It is thought today that rather they represent the kings of Judah, kingdom rival of Israel in the first millennium before Christ, even if their number does not match exactly. The statues were missing until 1977, when twenty of them are found in a particular hotel in the Ninth arrondissement of Paris. The delicate features of these statues that were at the time colored are remarkable, as their details were not visible on the parvis of the cathedral.

● The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David

Napoleon asked the painter to represent him crowning the Empress, believing that it gives him a more noble. Wikimedia commons

Emperor from the 18th of may, Napoleon organizes his coronation on 2 December 1804. It is anchored by there in the tradition of the imperial european. 1000 years earlier, Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the pope in Rome. But to assert its independence vis-à-vis the Church, Napoleon was made to hold the ceremony at Notre-Dame, and crown itself, in the face of assistance and not to the master-altar.

Jacques-Louis David finished this painting two years later. It should meet the demands of the Emperor, while producing a work of artistic monumental, now exhibited at the Louvre, in room 702 of the Denon wing. It reduces, for example, the architecture of the cathedral to give more breadth to the characters.

In a first time, the artist depicts the Emperor placing his crown on the head. But Napoleon believes that the gesture lacked elegance, and asks him to paint crowning the Empress. This gives the image less authoritarian and more noble, that of a “French knight”, he said.

Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo

the manuscript of The novel was given by Victor Hugo himself in the national Library of France, where it is preserved still today. Wikimedia commons

“I wrote the first three or four pages of Notre-Dame de Paris on July 25, 1830. The July revolution interrupted me. And then my dear little Adèle came into the world (that it will be blessed!) and I surrendered myself to write Notre-Dame de Paris on the 1st of September and the work was completed January 15, 1831”, wrote Victor Hugo on the first page of the manuscript of his masterpiece.

The adventures of the characters occur most often in or around the cathedral. Among them, is Esmeralda, a dancer egyptian that occurs on the square in front of Notre-Dame, and Quasimodo the bell-ringer of the bells. The famous novel has also inspired numerous adaptations in the theatre, or cinema and even in a video game.

The resounding success that has had the book has raised the awareness of the value of such a monument, which fell into disuse at the time. He took part to create a broad popular movement in favour of the cathedral, which prompted the government to initiate restorations.

● The construction of the spire by Viollet le Duc in 1860

The reconstruction of the spire of the cathedral, which was swept by the flames of the fire of April 15, 2019. Rue des Archives/© Granger NYC/Rue des Archives

In 1844, the minister of Cults, Nicolas Martin of the North is a call to Jean-Baptiste Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to undertake a major restoration programme. The walls of the cathedral are in a bad state, and the red door is in ruins. The two architects are used to reconstruct as faithfully as possible the degraded parts, and begin the reconstruction of the entire sculptural decoration was destroyed in the inspiration of the cathedrals of Amiens, Chartres and Reims.

Among the more than 100 statues made, the twelve apostles, of copper, are placed at the base of the arrow. St. Thomas has the features of Viollet-le-Duc, and turns towards the arrow as if to contemplate his work. They narrowly escaped the fire of April 15, 2019.

Built in 1250 over the transept crossing, the first arrow of the building was removed from 1786 to 1792. The work of the new flèche are considerable and require a recovery in the depth of the trusses of the roof. After the death of Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus on July 15, 1857, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc must supervise the work alone.

The quai Saint-Michel and Notre-Dame , Maximilien Luce

Composed in 1901, this oil on canvas is kept at the Musée d’orsay. www.bridgemanimages.com/www.bridgemanimages.com

At the dawn of the Twentieth century, Maximilien Luce uses a last time the process neo-impressionist of the key divided for a series of a dozen paintings dedicated to Notre-Dame seen from the quai Saint-Michel. Composed in 1901, this work is the link between the period of the purely neo-impressionist painter and his period, populist, later.

The cathedral of light, overlooking the middle-class, small confectioners, booksellers, or the grand-mother taking a child by the hand, who are busy with their business in the shadows. It is the eternity of the cathedral dominating the human life that is represented here.

● The mysterious attack on general de Gaulle after the Liberation in August 1944.

In the rue d’arcole, a few meters from the cathedral, passers-by take shelter when the fire broke out. Rue des Archives/Imago/Rue des Archives

On August 26, 1944, when general de Gaulle comes to see the Magnificat sung to Our Lady, and the snipers opened fire. The journalist Raymond Marcillac describes the scene in a live radio documentary. “The tanks and the brave soldiers of general Leclerc, who were massed on the square will, I hope, to scatter all these guys,” he said. While the shots are coming, and De Gaulle walks up to the chorus, unfazed. “He’s standing right in the shot, it is really beautiful,” says the reporter, amazed.

In reality, the existence of snipers the germans or collaborationists is not established. None has ever been found. In his Memories of war , Charles de Gaulle himself was surprised not to have been touched while he was discovered. “I have the feeling that it was a case mounted by a policy that would, in the face of the excitement of the crowds, to justify the maintenance of a revolutionary power and strength exception,” he wrote. Many historians feel that these shots would, in fact, due to the chaos general, and that the troops would have been trigger-happy on account of their state of exhaustion and agitation advanced.

1952 – Edith Piaf sings Notre-Dame

“That’s why Paris wraps / rolls up like a snail / Why the earth is in the ball / Around the bells of the courtyard / Our-Lady of Paris.” 1952, Edith Piaf was at the height of his glory in France. Eddy Marnay wrote him a song, Our-Lady of Paris. The singer slipped in with delight. An air of accordion, a ritornello in the violins, a few trumpets… The decor is quickly planted and nothing is forgotten: the houseboats, the flower market, Quasimodo, the pigeons, the tramp, and even the “old arrow that licks the ceiling grey Paris”. The song comes at a time when the kid is about to embark on international tours which will be his glory.

The manufacture of eight new bells in December 2012

founders direct the molten bronze in the mould of the bell ‘Anne-Genevieve’ at the foundry Cornille Havard in Villedieu-les-Poeles, in Normandy. Charles Platiau/Reuters

For the 850 years of the cathedral’s eight new bells are cast. Marie , Gabriel , Anne-Genevieve , Denis, Marcel , Stephen , Benedict-Joseph , Maurice and Jean-Marie come join the bumblebee Emmanuel , only survivor of the French Revolution, dating back to 1685. They are manufactured with methods that are medieval, and have the same weight and the same diameter as the bells turned into canon by the revolutionaries at the end of the Eighteenth century. They replace the Age, of four bells cast in 1856, to Angers in the work of Viollet-le-Duc. In 2016, important work of restoration of the bumblebee Emmanuel were made in turn. Since then, the cathedral was perpetually work, until 15 April 2019.