Also on the right is the statue of Charlemagne
on his horse. And, round the side of Notre Dame, up a little side street called rue Chanoinesse is a
very good restaurant in a house built in 1512,
the restaurant is called Au Vieux Paris, and all their food is
In fact rue Chanoinesse and the few streets around it are all that were left untouched by Haussmann on Ile de la Cite when he was modernising. And they give an idea of what the surroundings of Notre Dame would have been like from medieval to 18th century times.
Picnic at Notre Dame
At the back of Notre Dame
there are some gardens which are perfect for sitting down to have a rest or a
picnic lunch, but across the road there are more gardens which have a very sad
tale to tell.
If you go in and walk to the end point of the island you can go
down some steps. It is from here that the Jews and other "undesirables" were
transported off to the concentration camps during the German occupation. Few returned. Not a very proud page
of Parisian history, but not one that we should forget, lest we ever make the
same mistakes again.
As with so many other famous
buildings in Paris. During the revolution Notre Dame was firstly put up for sale, then used as a storehouse, and
then listed for demolition.
Luckily Napoleon decided to have his coronation
here, so that saved it for a few more years. However it had been looted of
anything valuable during the revolution so to hide the bareness Napoleon had to
have the walls draped with hangings. This can be seen in David's famous
painting of the coronation in the Louvre.
Notre Dame saved by the Hunchback
the cathedral was again neglected, and it wasn't until the great success of
Victor Hugo's The hunchback of Notre Dame that a committee was formed for its
renovation. Then again in 1871 during the Commune the cathedral was almost lost
All the benches and wooden barriers had been piled up in the centre
and sprayed with petrol and set alight. It was only the prompt action of the
doctors in the nearby Hotel Dieu hospital that saved it.