Notre Dame, Paris, burns

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Belle
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Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:02 pm

This great, great medieval edifice is almost in ruins after a devastating fire. We are speechless and inconsolable. The site of the beginnings of medieval polyphony and other great musicians and composers. What of the organ? This is an ABSOLUTE catastrophe. One of the last bulwarks against philistinism stands in smoking ruins!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IwXtqYM-Wk

Organist Titulaire Olivier Latry is on tour and is about to appear next week at the Musikverein. Thoughts are with him. News reports suggest it's a 20 year rebuild. If they rebuilt Cologne they can rebuild this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmlW_cdG88s

https://www.musikverein.at/en/concert/eventid/36632

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," –
That is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

G.K. Chesterton wrote in “The Everlasting Man”: At least five times, therefore, with the Arian and the Albigensian, with the Humanist skeptic, after Voltaire and after Darwin, the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died.

lennygoran
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by lennygoran » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:01 am

Belle it was an indoor day for us yesterday--terrible winds-- and I've been watching TV for a large chunk of it-the news flashed across the screen-so sad-I believe we've visited Notre Dame on every trip we've ever made to Paris over many years-one experience I remember was eating at the famous and for us intimidating La Tour d'Argent-we had a window table and looked at at Notre Dame lit up at night. Hope they can save some of it-latest report said they could but who knows. The people outside right now singing hymns is very moving. Regards, Len

Rach3
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Rach3 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:34 am

From Radio France,free listening :

"Lundi 15 avril 2019, la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris est frappée par un incendie de grande ampleur. C'est avec beaucoup d'émotion et de tristesse que France Musique propose la réécoute de ce Requiem de Berlioz, donné le 22 janvier 2014 en la cathédrale."

Andrew Staples, ténor
Alejandro Carreno, violon
Choeur de Radio France
Maîtrise de Notre-Dame de Paris
Orchestre Symphonique Simon Bolivar
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Gustavo Dudamel, dir.

https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/ ... aris-12019

maestrob
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by maestrob » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:25 am

Terrible, heart-breaking news! We were inconsolable watching this on CNN. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France. We will, of course, contribute to the rebuilding once appeals are made.

Thank you Rach3, for posting the Berlioz. I will listen when I can muster up the courage to do so.

Belle
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:52 pm

I, too, will listen to that performance. I didn't think that in my lifetime I would see this happen (nor the twin towers in NYC). My husband said he heard comments overnight on the radio that the flying buttresses have saved the cathedral shell and that this is what they were designed to do. And I wondered how old those roof timbers actually were since fires would have been part of the history of Notre Dame over the centuries. Anyway, they cannot replace them with those oak timbers, apparently, because they're not available anymore. We will gladly contribute to a world-wide fund for rebuilding which neither my husband nor myself will live to see. :cry:

jserraglio
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:46 pm

WAPO
Philip Kennicott
4/16/2019
Perspective

ImageIMG_0255

Every cathedral, like any great stone building, is a work in progress. No sooner have the walls risen than they start to collapse, the weight of stone pushing down and splaying out, settling and cracking. Take a closer look at most great old churches, and you see huge pillars wrapped in metal, iron reinforcing bars embedded in the walls, arches pulled together at their base with metal rods. If you took an X-ray of the buildings, they would look a bit like the mouth of someone who has had a lot of dental work — a messy confusion of interventions, repairs and misguided improvements.

It looks as if the structure of Notre Dame, in Paris, is mostly intact, despite the fire that consumed the roof above its stone vaults and brought down its 19th-century wood and metal spire. Much of the art was saved, some of it placed in storage before renovations, and other pieces were removed before the fire could destroy them. Early photographs and descriptions of the damage seem to indicate that part of the ribbed ceiling structure has collapsed, and it will take time to determine how much of what remains is structurally sound. Fire may not burn rock like it burns timber (though limestone is susceptible), but heat and water can ruin the integrity of stone.

But the shock of the fire is still extraordinary, felt throughout not just France but also the world. Notre Dame stands at the heart of Paris, has led a long, rich life in the literature and imagination of France, and is one of the most beautiful Gothic structures on the planet. It soars above a city that has an embarrassment of architectural riches, and it never ceases to draw the eye, by day and night, registering changes in the weather and the seasons with subtle changes of color and shadow.

History, however, tells us these things are all too common, even as modern media saturation makes it seem somehow unprecedented. Flip through the pages of any tourist guide to an old castle, church or palace, and there is often a litany of fires, floods, revolutions and occasional bouts of revolution and iconoclasm. The prison of the Bastille, in Paris, was pulled down in the 18th century in the name of liberty, while much of the medieval city was plowed under in the 19th century in the name of progress.

Building large stone churches has always been an art and a science, and it sometimes meant trial and error. The first dome at the greatest church of all — Hagia Sophia in Istanbul — collapsed before the miraculously thin saucer we see today was successfully completed. These tribulations are soon forgotten, and even today, most visitors who contemplate the massive supports added to Justinian’s church consider them beautiful architectural curiosities.

Like Hagia Sophia, St. Paul’s in London was built on the ruins of an older structure. The great 1666 fire that ravaged much of London destroyed the old St. Paul’s and almost 90 other churches. That destruction gave the architect Christopher Wren his moment, not just to remake the city’s greatest church but also to connect the city’s irrational streets with a web of smaller, jewel-like places of worship that define their districts and neighborhoods to this day. In the mid-16th century, two fires ravaged the interiors of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, offering artists a chance to work on an epic scale, redecorating its palatial rooms, and vying for dramatic and narrative preeminence.

Creative Destruction is an ugly idea, hijacked by greedy and ambitious people to justify an oppression that is anything but creative. But most cathedrals exemplify the idea of continual evolution and renewal; they are sturdy, vulnerable, fragile and resilient, and it is social architecture that keeps them standing, not piers, arches or buttresses.

I heard about the fire that hit Notre Dame while driving from Ferrara to Siena, in Italy, where great churches have been remade so many times that they often look like a patchwork of architectural non sequiturs. The exterior of the Duomo in Ferrara is a magnificent jumble of ideas, and additions, while the facade of the cathedral in Siena is as clear as a theological road map, even if the brightly colored mosaics in the gables are 19th-century work. In Ferrara, you can almost imagine why a Renaissance architect might say, “Tear it all down and start over.” In Siena, the thought of modernization feels like blasphemy. Yet both churches are exquisite.

Notre Dame was also partly a 19th-century fantasy, its famous spire added by the architect (and fabulist) Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to replace one that had been removed in the late 18th century. Critics in the 19th century rediscovered the beauty of the Gothic style, while imaging it to be something immutable and fixed, like a poem in stone — and they weren’t averse to improving the poem if its fantasy of the past wasn’t quite what they were hoping for. Paris lived with Viollet-le-Duc’s spire for so long that the city will now have to decide which cathedral it wants back — the one that existed in the age of Revolution and Napoleon, or the one that most people know from postcards. The real Notre Dame, the authentic Notre Dame, isn’t an option, because it never existed.

In other cultures, sacred sites are often sacred not because of what is built there but because of the persistence of religious devotion. The site is holy, not the thing. A temple may be dismantled and rebuilt, but what matters is the behavior of particular people at that particular place. There is more of that in Western notions of the sacred than we’re likely to acknowledge. Great churches are built on the site of previous great churches, which were built on foundations of pagan temples.

Tourism, in some ways, contains a vestige of that kind of thinking. People still visit and snap pictures of the brick campanile in Venice, which fell down in 1902 and was rebuilt. Tourists flock to places just to say they have been there, and the effort of the journey is often just as important as the authenticity of the object. No tourist will forswear Notre Dame because it has a new roof.

None of this is to minimize the losses at Notre Dame. It will take years to remake the building, and much of what was inside will never be restored. But the great cathedrals of Europe took centuries to build, have been crumbling for even longer and will continue to be made and remade. Innumerable lives have been lived out in the shadow of buildings that are half-finished, or missing their towers, or in great disrepair. And now the cycle begins again in Paris, where people will argue over every detail and fret about who pays for what and whether they should rebuild a Disney fantasy of the past or make it all anew, for a new age. Some daring heretics will even suggest, perhaps, that the building should remain as it is, newly reconfigured for a secular age, like the melted bells in St. Mary’s of Luebeck, Germany, which fell to the ground during the bombing of 1942 and remain on the floor as a memorial to the losses of war.

Meanwhile, the roof will rise again, and in a century some bored teenagers will stand in the plaza before the great Gothic doors and listen as their teacher recounts the great fire of 2019, just one chapter among all the others, and seemingly inconsequential given the beauty of the building as it stands glowing in a rare burst of sunlight on a spring day in Paris.

Philip Kennicott is the Pulitzer Prize-winning art and architecture critic of The Washington Post. He has been on staff at The Post since 1999, first as classical music critic, then as culture critic.
Democracy Dies in Darkness
© 1996-2019 The Washington Post
Last edited by jserraglio on Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rach3
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Rach3 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:45 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:52 pm
And I wondered how old those roof timbers actually were since fires would have been part of the history of Notre Dame over the centuries. Anyway, they cannot replace them with those oak timbers, apparently, because they're not available anymore. We will gladly contribute to a world-wide fund for rebuilding which neither my husband nor myself will live to see. 😢
The TV report I saw said the roof timbers dated from 1100 -1300, and were referred to as " the forest " as it took a forest to supply them.

President Macron said today France will re-build Notre Dame within 5 years.

Belle
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:38 pm

That picture posted from the Washington Post of the interior of Notre Dame is distressing but the essay by Kennicott is absolutely superb. A joy to read. I'm anxiously waiting to hear about the fate of the rose windows as I'm pretty sure they were removed for protection during WW2.

I am dubious about a 5 year reconstruction since renovations have always gone on for years and years themselves.

My husband tells me that one billion dollars (or Euros?) has already been pledged.

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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Lance » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:19 am

This is such a tragedy. I am very happy that I had the pleasure of being inside this cathedral and remember how glorious it was. Kennicott's article was excellent.
Lance G. Hill
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Ricordanza
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Ricordanza » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:24 am

Belle expressed her dismay about the destruction of the famous organ. However, this is from a report on CNN. I've heard this from other news sources:
The church's irreplaceable rose windows and organ are in good condition, a city official said Tuesday. (emphasis added)
A bit of good news.

Belle
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:55 am

This is excellent news, thank you. Light from the darkness.

Rach3
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Rach3 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:59 am

News reports this am ( Wed ) suggest there may be some damage to the organ and windows, assessment on-going, and remaining risks of further structural collapse, but still sounds optimistic overall. Over US$950M raised so far, The renovation underway when fire occurred was to cost about US$7M.

jserraglio
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by jserraglio » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:51 am

2015 ARTE documentary about the Cavaillé-Coll organ in Paris's Notre-Dame, featuring (and narrated by) Olivier Latry--who, since 1985, has served as one of the cathedral's four titulaires des grands orgues.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H_WxdqAOS0


Wikipedia wrote:[The poet Paul Claudel] experienced a sudden conversion at the age of eighteen on Christmas Day 1886 while listening to a choir sing [Magnificat from] Vespers in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris: "In an instant, my heart was touched, and I believed."

Belle
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:18 am

I have seen that documentary before. At our music group last year the Christchurch organist here presented a program on the organ-maker Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. He himself had played on that organ in Notre Dame some years earlier (and he's only 37).

jserraglio
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by jserraglio » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:27 pm

Notre Dame de Paris was compromised long before 15 April — Its flying buttresses were weakening and the spire was rotting from the inside out.

WSJ

PARIS—Years before flames ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral, the landmark’s custodians realized they had a problem.

In 2013, the cathedral hired Didier Dupuy and his son to scale the building and install lightning rods at different points, including its central spire. Gaping holes and cracks they discovered in the lead roofing shocked them. Just below was a dry and dusty space of timber beams, known as “the forest,” that had supported Notre Dame’s roof for centuries.

A job that was supposed to last a couple of weeks took three months as the duo performed emergency repairs before quitting in frustration.
People had been sneaking up the scaffolding in off-hours, according to a police officer briefed on the matter. An empty whiskey bottle was found on site, he said.
“We told them, you need professionals for this. We can weld, but it’s not pretty,” said Mr. Dupuy, who removed 110 pounds of rust from the cross atop the spire. “The cross was in very bad shape.”

On Monday, Notre Dame’s forest caught fire, incinerating the central spire and most of the cathedral’s roof in a disaster that dismayed the world. Notre Dame, with its limestone facade and stained-glass rose windows, was a resplendent jewel of medieval architecture to most who saw it. On closer inspection, according to church officials, contractors and donors, the cathedral was deteriorating from decades of neglect.

The flying buttresses that sustain its massive limestone walls were weakening. The spire, a fixture on the Paris skyline for nearly two centuries, was taking on water and rotting from the inside out.

Now investigators are looking into whether a project to renovate and reinforce Notre Dame somehow led to the blaze, questioning those who were at the site in the hours before it broke out. André Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, said workers were inside the forest that day, reinforcing the framing so they could finish erecting a massive scaffold on top of it.

The scaffold was specially designed to put very little weight on the cathedral’s structure and not interfere with views of its flying buttresses. “The scaffolding adhered to the most incredible security norms,” Mr. Finot said. The main contractor said the firm had followed all safety requirements.

The inquiry is just beginning, with debris and damage complicating the task. Authorities say evidence so far points to an accident, but they aren’t discarding any avenue of inquiry. Police have seen signs that joy seekers scaled the scaffolding in the months before the fire. Some posted YouTube videos from the cathedral’s top.

Behind the renovation was a push to line up funding and finish tens of millions of dollars worth of repairs in time for Paris to host the 2024 Olympics. The cathedral was counting on The Friends of Notre Dame, a group of American and French benefactors, to deliver funding and pressure the building’s owner, the French state, to make matching donations. Notre Dame doesn’t charge general admission, even though it is a tourist magnet that receives 30,000 daily visitors, more than the Eiffel Tower.

“For sure if the cathedral had been maintained regularly, with a higher level of funding, we would have avoided this,” said Michel Picaud, senior adviser to The Friends of Notre Dame. “The more you wait, the more risks you have.”

Notre Dame battled decay over the long history of upheaval in France. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, it was desecrated during the French Revolution and consigned to decrepitude when Victor Hugo wrote the novel that immortalized the cathedral.

In 1905, France passed a law that made all churches built before that year government property. State ownership of churches became increasingly burdensome as the government grew cash-strapped in more recent decades. Meanwhile, church attendance was falling.

“It’s a fact of life that many of these churches are in need of upkeep,” said David Sheppe, president of American Friends for the Preservation of Saint Germain des Prés, the city’s oldest church. “Passing the plate around, it may cover operational costs. It does not cover maintenance.”

To receive government funding for repairs, churches were required to go before a committee at the culture ministry. Notre Dame fundraisers said committee members told them the cathedral was one of nearly a hundred Gothic cathedrals across France the ministry had to look after.

The state pushed Notre Dame to follow the example set by other historic churches that charge an entrance fee. Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, rector of Notre Dame, pushed back, according to a fundraiser present at the meetings, wary of turning a place of worship into another commercial tourist stop.

When a culture ministry official visited the cathedral during a religious feast day one year, Msgr. Chauvet gestured toward the crowds. “Who are the tourists here?” he asked. “Can you pick out who I should charge?"

“Keeping the cathedral free has always been the wish of the clergy,” said Mr. Finot, the Notre Dame spokesman.

In 2015, an American art historian, Andrew Tallon, climbed Notre Dame with a tripod-mounted laser to create a precise digital model of the building. He found grave structural weaknesses and decay. Gargoyles on the roof were propped up with plastic piping. Stone chunks of the roof had fallen off, ending up in a space one person involved with restoration called “a graveyard for architecture.”

A rooster-shaped weather vane that contained a thorn said to be from the crown Jesus wore at his crucifixion was broken. Cracks in the lead panels that coated the spire were allowing water to seep into its wood-frame core, testing the welding that held it together.

Most concerning were the flying buttresses, rib-like supports made of limestone that prop up the walls, a medieval innovation that allowed the church to have towering walls with stained-glass windows. Acid from Paris’s air pollution was eating at the buttresses. Flying buttress No. 10 was so weak that experts warned a wall was at risk of collapse.

Mr. Tallon, who died last year, rallied a group of French and American art lovers to create a nonprofit, with a board that included executives and a retired French ambassador to the U.S. They pushed the French government to match any funds they raised up to a certain point.

The group didn’t start raising money in earnest until late 2017. It held soirées in the French embassy in Washington and the consulate in New York. The auction house Christie’s also co-hosted an event.

Notre Dame didn’t wait for the funding to be in place. Instead, the government published a call for bids in July 2017 to renovate the spire, the roof and the timber framing underneath. The estimated cost of the work authorized in 2017 was €4.3 million.

The flying buttresses represented the greatest structural risk, according to fundraisers. Church officials wanted to tackle the spire first.

“The spire was the most urgent thing,” said Mr. Finot, the spokesman. “It’s made of lead, and the lead was disappearing.”

Bidders had to take into account the cost of complying with a thicket of regulations that accompany work on a historical landmark. The construction site required fire safety inspectors to make daily rounds, checking every piece of electrical equipment. A detailed plan for various disasters was mandatory. Workers weren’t allowed to leave tools on the site.

Welders were required to check that their work had cooled off two hours after finishing. For lunch breaks, one crew member was expected to stay behind and watch for hazards.

The spire presented unique challenges. Scaffolding needed first to reach the cathedral’s roof, 50 meters off the ground, and then rise another 50 meters to the top of the spire, encircling the ornate structure without touching it.

Bidders also had to consider plans to expand the scaffolding later to reach the weathered lead roof, the timber framing beneath it and the weakened flying buttresses. The scaffolding alone, the government estimated, would cost €1.8 million.

“Monumental, the largest scaffolding ever put on top of the cathedral,” said Francois Leterme, whose company, Layher, was among the bidders. Mr. Leterme knew Notre Dame well because he had built a smaller scaffold there in 2009.

Gwenael Jousselme, who lost out in bidding to replace the spire’s lightning rod as part of the project, said he proposed a costly method of welding that reduced fire risks. The contract went instead to Mr. Dupuy, the man who discovered the cracks in 2013. Mr. Dupuy said he puts safety first.

The big winner was a family firm based in northeastern France. Le Bras Freres won contracts to erect the scaffolding around the spire, to fix the leaky roof and to repair the timber framework. Cathedral spokesman Mr. Finot said the winning design for the scaffolding was a technical marvel, resting on legs that reached to the ground without stressing the cathedral’s structure.

“Nobody has got such a contract in 150 years,” Julien Le Bras, a representative of the contractor, told a local newspaper at the time. “It is really something to say that it’s us who will do it. We are not working with a decade-long commitment to this, we’re envisioning the next 150 years.”

Jean-Michel Leniaud, an architecture expert, said it was unusual for a single contractor to win all three tenders—scaffolding, roofing and woodwork. Usually there is a separate company for each, he said.

Mr. Le Bras said: “All safety devices and procedures were respected.”

The schedule was tight. The government wanted the scaffolding completed by July 2019, according to Marc Eskenazi, a Le Bras Freres spokesman. That would allow work on the roof and framing to begin a month later.

By the start of April, work on the scaffold appeared to have fallen behind schedule, said Mr. Leterme, the bidder. It had reached the base of the spire, and the work was becoming more challenging.

Also, people had been sneaking up the scaffolding in off-hours, according to a police officer briefed on the matter. An empty whiskey bottle was found on site, he said.

“The deadline was July. They could have still made it,” Mr. Eskenazi of Le Bras Freres said.

On April 11, workers in hazmat suits were filmed removing 16 life-size copper statues of the Apostles and Evangelists from the cathedral for restoration and allowing the scaffolding to advance. Philippe Villeneuve, the project’s chief architect, toured the scaffolding, smiling as a crane plucked one of the statues from the rooftop.

“It’s one of the most magnificent days of my life,” Mr. Villeneuve said. “We are finally working on the cathedral I adore.”

On April 15, a dozen workers from Le Bras Freres were working on the scaffolding, according to Mr. Eskenazi.

The last one on the site left at 5:50 p.m., turning off the electricity, locking the door and giving the key to a church official in charge of the building, Mr. Eskenazi said. About half an hour later, the first fire alarm went off.

Belle
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:45 am

An excellent and comprehensive article. I've got a feeling of dread and foreboding about the structure and those flying buttresses; if it's so fragile that it couldn't tolerate scaffolding how is it going to survive a major fire, extreme heat and all the other ravages of the centuries - not least flood and high winds?

They have to charge tourists; it's the only way to recoup money to cover damage and maintenance. With a cathedral 850 years old and in a completely vulnerable state there's no time for altruism and bogus concern about those at mass versus those who are tourists. I know from experience going to mass in Vienna at Stephansdom and (more frequently) Augustinerkirche that tourists are cavalier and can pretend to be worshippers, only to use every opportunity to take pictures and stand in front of those people seated in pews for the service. And they talk all the time too; I wanted to hit some of them!!

Despite the steel fence at the rear of Stephansdom, people still 'go to mass' for the purposes of tourism. I used to ask church officials why they tolerated the appalling behaviour of tourists and they usually were dumb-struck. If people were forced to pay cash at least they'd have a price signal which might deter some from just standing and gawking at the church rituals, taking photos and talking. And hike the price. If it's good enough to charge entry to the museums and galleries it's good enough to charge entry for ancient and important cathedrals.

The only cathedral where I saw significant 'policing' by clergy and church officials was Cologne and they were serious about it!!

Belle
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:00 pm

An interesting, but concerning, French interview on the cathedral fire:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i3ftb_ ... e=youtu.be

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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Lance » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:18 am

VERY interesting, indeed. And yes, lots of questions about this entire, tragic event.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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jserraglio
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by jserraglio » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:51 pm


Belle
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Re: Notre Dame, Paris, burns

Post by Belle » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:34 am

Very touching to be up there in "the forest"!!

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