Virtual Tours and Challenges: The RunRun Blog
The Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris is once again in the headlines, this time for a good reason: work is progressing and they promise to reopen it in four years (in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris). In the meantime, every day during this week, the running guide Hamidou will reveal an interesting story to you about this must-see monument of Paris.
DAY 1: The Spire
1️⃣ Looking at the Notre-Dame today, we spot a defect: the spire with a weather vane in the shape of a rooster fixed at the top, it’s not there anymore!
2️⃣It’s not the first time that the spire of Notre-Dame has been damaged: in 1793, the revolutionaries cut down the spire and the statues of the niches, and behead the 28 kings of the main facade, who are buried in a street ditch at Chaussée d'Antin.
3️⃣During the works undertaken in 1843 under the direction of the architects Jean Baptiste Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, they find fragments of unknown bones inside the spire. These fragments are replaced inside the rooster by one of the 70 thorns of the Crown of Christ (the real one!), and bone fragments from Saint-Denis and Sainte-Geneviève.
4️⃣The rooster and its relics served as spiritual guidance to protect all Parisians. For the record, the rooster was miraculously found the day after the fire. It was dented, but intact (see photo #3 published by the newspaper Le Parisien of the architect in charge of the restoration, Philippe Villeneuve, with the statuette). The state of the relics inside is still unknown.
DAY 2: St-Genevieve
1️⃣ On DAY 2 of our virtual tour of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, we’ll tell you about the first non-official mayor of Paris, part of whose remains was carefully preserved inside the rooster at the top of the cathedral spire, so to protect Paris.
2️⃣ We are talking about Saint-Geneviève, an avant-garde lady, the saint patroness of Paris and the policemen. Not bad for a woman who lived between 422 and 512 a.D.
3️⃣ As the only child of a Gallo-Roman magistrate, Geneviève was forced to take the office of her father after his death, according to the Roman code. Thus, it was to her to negotiate the surrender agreement during the siege of Paris with the Franks, a Germanic people who invaded the Gaulle (the ancient name of France) at the end of the 5th century. Their leader, who would become the first so-called king of France, Clovis, becomes a real fan. It was thanks to the influence of Geneviève, a very pious woman, that Clovis decided to be baptized in the city of Reims around 500 a.D.
4️⃣ Several miracles are attributed to Genevieve, as during her lifetime, as after her death. One of them deserves to be told because it has to do with her statue erected not far from the Notre-Dame cathedral, glancing towards the East. Around 451, the Huns, led from Central Asia by Attila, headed for Paris, destroying everything in their path. Everybody was in a panic! Geneviève got to convince Parisians not to abandon their city to the Huns. Some historians claim that she diverted Attila towards Lyon by her prayers. Others say that, as a rich woman, she had collected a large ransom to Attila, which later buried in the convent that existed at the current site of the Moulin de la Galette, in Montmartre.
5️⃣At her death at the age of 89, King Clovis, his most famous disciple, built in her honour the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. He himself was buried there at his death in 511, next to Geneviève. His wife Clotilde joined them there much later. Consecrated on December 24, 520, and named after that Sainte-Geneviève church, the basilica was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century by the architect Soufflot, then reconverted during the Revolution into the Pantheon of national glories. Scattered during the Revolution, the relics of the saint have since been honoured in the neighbouring church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont.
DAY 3: St-Denis
1️⃣ On this video, running guide Hamidou tells the story about Saint-Denis, the first saint martyr of France. His relics also used to be inside the rooster on top of the spire of the Notre-Dame cathedral.
2️⃣Dionysius came to Lutèce (the Ancient name of Paris) with two other companions from Rome to evangelize the Gauls around 250 a.D. On this picture, we can see running guide Gérard from City Runs Belgium by his statue placed by the left door of the Notre-Dame. Can you guess why he’s always represented holding his head in his hands?
3️⃣ The fascinating legend of Saint-Denis links the Notre-Dame to a tiny hidden square in the heart of Montmartre. You can learn why, which is a hint to the name of the place itself (“the martyrs’ mountain”), on our running tour “Secrets of Paris” (8-12 km long). Note: Saint-Geneviève, about whom we talked on the previous virtual tour, ordered the construction of a basilica in the honor of Saint-Denis. Almost all kings and queens of France are buried there, side by side with this saint.
Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, Place Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, France
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