Updated: Jul 22, 2020
As I write, Notre Dame de Paris is burning. It's the most awful thing to see.
The tower is said to have been made of wood and lead.
Another Place Saint-Michel in front of a cathedral.
This is what Notre Dame looked like when it was first built:
And this is what the cathedral looked like until this evening.
What faces, and such mystery. Why the feet on the heads of snakes? Why stand on a castle and under another? What's in the closed book? What does the hand gesture mean? Who are the people above, pushing stone slabs?
A caduceus on its side! How strange. Mercury must be tipsy.
Haussmann is the man who redesigned Paris in the late XIXth century, partly to try to eradicate disease from the narrow medieval streets. What aesthetic, or perhaps esoteric, considerations did he put into his work, I wonder.
Notre Dame de Paris is the very centre of France. This star on the ground in front of the cathedral shows that all roads start from here, proof, if ever it were needed, that cathedrals are not just placed any old which where.
An open book and a closed book. A ladder with nine rungs. A sceptre. What does it mean?
It's also at the heart of alchemical Paris, a building full of coded images, and instructions to those who can interpret them. Have a look at this program, ten minutes into it is Notre-Dame-de-Paris.
You can (just about) see on this map that the Place Saint-Michel to the front of the cathedral, on the island, had its name long before the Haussmann redesign of Paris.
There has been a building on this site since at least Roman times, as evidence has been found of a temple dedicated to Jupiter, and work on the current building was started in 1163.
The archangel Michael features here:
How will the new Notre-Dame de Paris encode what we believe today?