Pictures of the floating world

Heartbreaking: remembering Notre-Dame de Paris

Trying to keep the memories of Notre-Dame de Paris, one of the most beautiful and iconic French buildings…

By Anna Purpurpurpur

No one could’ve expected that today we almost lose Notre-Dame de Paris, incarnation over 850 years of European history in just a few hours – I’m sure many of you are as heartbroken as I am. While I’m writing this post, Notre Dame de Paris is still on fire: partly devastated, and with precious artefacts, stain glasses and pieces of art lost.

Notre Dame de Paris Notre Dame de Paris before fire

While no one is sure whether at least the towers will survive with the spire already collapsed, I’m just trying to keep the memories of one of the most beautiful and iconic French buildings. Some of the photos are old and blurry because I took them in the pre-Instagram era but considering the events any of them are dear to my heart.

Notre Dame

By Osip Mandelstam, translated by A.Z. Foreman

Here where barbarians knelt in Roman court
Stands the basilica: original
As joyous Adam, stretching nerves, the tall
Groined archway bunches muscle as for sport.

But things outside betray the secret plan:
A pact of arch and buttress here forestalls
The heavy mass from flattening the walls
In deadlock with the bold vault’s battering ram.

A well-turned maze. Primeval wood and stone.
The Gothic spirit’s rational abyss.
Egyptian brawn and Christian timidness.
Reed next to oak. The plumb-line takes the throne.

But, stronghold Notre Dame, the more acutely
I studied your great ribs’ monstrosity,
The more I thought: a time shall come for me
To likewise make grim bulk a thing of beauty.

Notre Dame

О. Мандельштам

Где римский судия судил чужой народ,
Стоит базилика,- и, радостный и первый,
Как некогда Адам, распластывая нервы,
Играет мышцами крестовый легкий свод.

Но выдает себя снаружи тайный план:
Здесь позаботилась подпружных арок сила,
Чтоб масса грузная стены не сокрушила,
И свода дерзкого бездействует таран.

Стихийный лабиринт, непостижимый лес,
Души готической рассудочная пропасть,
Египетская мощь и христианства робость,
С тростинкой рядом – дуб, и всюду царь – отвес.

Но чем внимательней, твердыня Notre Dame,
Я изучал твои чудовищные ребра,
Тем чаще думал я: из тяжести недоброй
И я когда-нибудь прекрасное создам.

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