Hope you had a good week.
Both in France and around the world, people have been shocked and horrified by the terrible fire which ravaged the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. So much history has been witnessed by this grand dame known as the soul of the city and it was awful to see so much damage.
Thankfully the building wasn’t completely destroyed, the main façade and iconic bell towers survived and many of the precious relics and artworks were saved – and miraculously the rose windows seem largely intact.
By a quirk of fate, many of the statues had already been removed and transported to Dordogne to be cleaned. But there’s a massive restoration project to undergo which could take up to ten years. If you’re coming to Paris and had your heart set on visiting the Cathedral, you’ll only be able to see it from the outside for a while. I recommend Sainte Chapelle, which is just round the corner, older than Notre Dame and an absolute jewel of Gothic splendour. Or head to the outskirts of Paris and visit the Basilica of Saint Denis, last resting place of the French Kings and Queens and often missed by visitors as it’s not right in the centre.
I’m collecting photos and memories of visits to Notre Dame on Facebook for an article (posted 17 April) – or maybe two as there are lots of comments, so please feel free to post there. And for those who’ve asked how to make a donation, I’ve popped the details on the website here for the official way to do it.
Happier news now…
It’s Easter! That means chocolate fans are allowed, encouraged and positively urged to indulge. The shops are full of beautiful chocolate and sweet concoctions – especially bell shaped as, here in France it’s said that at Easter the bells fly off to see the Pope in Rome and return bearing treats for children.
It’s a short email from me this week as I’m busy building a greenhouse, which isn’t an easy job in a garden on a hill but I’ll get there, and I’ll post a photo on Instagram when I’m done!
Wishing you a very Happy Easter and speak to you next week from Lille, where I’ll be for the opening ceremony of the amazing art festival of Lille3000 Eldorado (you can read about it here)…
Bisous from sunny France,
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