Sunday, August 11, 2019

inSPIREd Sunday

Sally and Beth host inSPIREd Sunday!  

May 2019 - Dijon France
These are all John's photos, I didn't go on this city tour, it was too cold and wet!
They did not get to visit inside the church.
This was our first stop after Paris.

The Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon is a Roman Catholic church in Dijon. Considered a masterpiece of 13th-century Gothic architecture, it is situated at the heart of the preserved old centre of the city. It is located in Place Notre-Dame, near the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and opposite the rue Musette.


Work on the church began around 1230.The church's decorations also include two symbols of Dijon: the jacquemart (bell-striking automaton) and the owl.

The clock with its jacquemart sits on a campanile rising from the base of the unbuilt south tower of the western façade. It has four metal automatons. Two of them, called Jacquemart and Jacqueline, sound the hours by striking a large bell with a hammer. The other two, their "children", Jacquelinet and Jacquelinette, strike the quarter hours, each on a small bell.

Several historians have noted the originality of the western façade, in that it is much more planar than usual in French Gothic architecture. It is in effect a screen, 28.6 metres high by 19.5 m wide and 6.2 m deep. There are three levels. The lowest has three large arcades forming the entry into a porch whose vaults are supported by two rows of pillars.

The 51 gargoyles (or grotesques) on the western façade are dummies, in that they are decorative rather than drain spouts. There are, however, functional gargoyles on the lateral walls of the church and the walls of the apse.

According to the account of the monk Étienne de Bourbon, the original gargoyles were in place for only a short time: they were removed around 1240, following a fatal accident. A usurer was killed on the church forecourt as he was about to get married: a stone figure representing a usurer became detached and fell on him. His colleagues organised the destruction of all the dummy gargoyles on the façade, except for one at the upper right corner that survived until the 1960s, when it was replaced. Some 19th-century engravings do not show this gargoyle, but it can be seen in photos taken before 1880. The gargoyles at the sides and the back of the façade remain.


The dummy gargoyles which today decorate the façade, and which represent human beings, animals and monsters, were made in 1880-1882, during the restoration of the church. According to the archives, they were the work of seven Parisian sculptors: Chapot, Corbel, Geoffroy, Lagoule (also known as Delagoule), Pascal, Thiébault and Tournier.

On the north side of the church is a chapel bordering on rue de la Chouette (Owl Street), a pedestrian way. A corner of a buttress of this chapel bears a sculpted bird thought to represent an owl. The ornament could possibly be the personal mark of a stonemason. It cannot be the signature of the original church's architect, as is sometimes suggested, for the chapel was built in the late 15th or early 16th century—several centuries after the original church. The owl became worn over the centuries because of a superstition that luck would accompany anyone who stroked the bird with their left hand while making a wish. As a result, the sculpture lacks detail.

This porch has three doors opening into the nave. The doorway openings and the tympana used to be decorated with statues and sculptures, but these were destroyed in January 1794.


  1. ...what a beautiful piece of history!

  2. I marvel at all the details as most people would never get close enough to see them properly anyway (until the era of digital photography, anyway!) I can understand the temptation to pat an owl that was actually within reach! :)

  3. Beautiful church. A few years ago a gargoyle fell of Yorkminster and landed on a paserby killing them. Sad occurence that does happen


This blog does not allow anonymous comments.