The Venerable Monument: Building Notre Dame Part 2

Welcome back to the Creative Life Adventure.

Last week I wrote about my purchase of CubicFun’s Notre Dame of Paris 3D puzzle. It was a fun pandemic project. Completing the model required patience, but it wasn’t especially difficult. The benefit was an opportunity to work with my hands in a way that engaged my mind, gave me a feeling of accomplishment, and recalled warm and fuzzy memories of my own visit to Notre Dame of Paris. (Just to clarify, there are Notre Dames all over France. My use of “Notre Dame” in this post refers specifically to the one in Paris.)

The real Notre Dame of Paris compared with the CubicFun 3D puzzle

The model is primarily comprised of paper on EPS foam board, die-cut to be easy to separate and assemble. Several sections of the model included colored plastic inserts to simulate stained-glass windows. The plastic was attached with double-sided adhesive that was a little tricky to work with, but the company anticipated that and provided additional adhesive to accommodate any errors. For what amounts to cardboard, the model’s level of detail is quite good, and it was a fun project.

I’m grateful I was able to visit Notre Dame prior to the April, 2019 fire. The official Notre Dame website reports the cathedral is closed to the public while repairs continue. The site has considerable information on the cathedral’s history; it’s all in French, but for those of us not fluent, the photos are lovely. The repairs involve the harvesting of hundreds of oak trees, some of them hundreds of years old, to rebuild the spire and roof timbers. The environmental impact raises important questions about how dedicated we should be to our historic structures. How much are we willing to sacrifice to recreate what was, and who should participate in these decisions?

“Each face, each stone of the venerable monument, is a page not only of the history of the country, but of the history of science and art as well.”

Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

I’m not a religious person, but I appreciate silent contemplation. Even in busy Notre Dame, it was possible to find places to sit in quiet reflection. The roof balcony offered a different kind of contemplation, savoring the cathedral’s location in the heart of Paris. That was part of the beauty of the CubicFun model, in creating multiple levels of interest and interaction.

As Covid-19 vaccination rates increase, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel for this strange year. Most importantly, of course, I hope you are blessed with good health through this pandemic, and I hope you are able to find your own creative outlets during this time.

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