Notre dame

A keepsake – and to-do list – of Europe’s greatest cathedrals

In his new book on Europe’s cathedrals, Simon Jenkins begins with the claim that the greatest among them are our most important European works of art. Greater than the paintings of El Greco or Berthe Morisot? More momentous than the buildings of Mies van der Rohe or Norman Foster? More important than the organ music of J.S. Bach or the Duruflé Requiem? Still, I see his point. Given the vast numbers who have visited these cathedrals over the centuries for worship or on tour, their powerful multimodal communication (cathedrals incorporate the visual arts, architecture, stained glass, music, wood- and iron-work, masonry, weaving and many other forms of expression) and the

Don’t turn Notre Dame into a ‘politically correct Disneyland’

Sacré bleu! Plans are afoot to turn Notre Dame cathedral, once it’s restored, into what some have called a ‘politically correct Disneyland’. The plans, yet to be rubber-stamped, will turn the cathedral into an ‘experimental showroom’, with confessional boxes, altars and classical sculptures replaced with modern art murals. New sound and light effects will be introduced to create ‘emotional spaces’. Themed chapels on a ‘discovery trail’, with an emphasis on Africa and Asia, will pop up. And Bible quotations will be projected onto chapel walls in various languages, including Mandarin. The last chapel on the new trail will have an environmental emphasis. Defenders of the new plan are bound to