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Paris 04 – Notre Dame et les Portes du Diable

source Wikipédia
source Wikipédia

Jolie légende que celle du ferronnier Biscornet, chargé de la conception arabesques des portes latérales de Notre Dame au 13ème siècle. Jeune, ambitieux, mais dépassé par l’ampleur de la tâche, on raconte qu’il accepta de livrer son âme au diable pour y parvenir.

Celui ci lui aurait alors dit : “Je suis le diable. Si tu veux faire un pacte avec moi, tu seras le plus adroit des serruriers, et tu pourras entreprendre tous les ouvrages que tu voudras“. Après des jours de travail infructueux, Biscornet fut retrouvé endormi devant son ouvrage achevé. L’ensemble faisait preuve d’une remarquable finesse. Hélas, le jour de l’inauguration, les fameuses portes refusèrent de s’ouvrir. On y parvint à grands renforts d’eau bénite, et Biscornet fut délivré de son serment.

Les portes centrales ne possédaient à l’origine aucun ornement. Même Victor Hugo s’en étonnait. Il faudra attendre le travail de Viollet-Le-Duc au 19ème siècle pour que le ferronnier Boulanger les y ajoute après avoir restaurées celles de Biscornet.

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According to legend, it was the 13th-century ironsmith Biscornet who designed the intricate metalwork that today adorns the side-doors of Notre Dame. Biscornet was young and ambitious, but, as the story goes, he was so overwhelmed by the momentousness of his task that he made a deal with the Devil – offering him his soul in return for help with the commission.

“Well, I am the Devil after all,” replied the demon officiously, “If you sign a contract with me, I will make of you the most skilled of all metalworkers, and you will be able to create all the magnificent works you please”

And so Biscornet worked and worked, day after day, until one morning he was found asleep in front of his completed masterpiece. The magnificent doors bore witness to the young ironsmith’s remarkable finesse. Alas, however, on the day of the doors’ inauguration, they refused to open. Only when they were dashed with holy water would they finally budge, and Biscornet was absolved from his demonic pact.

The central doors, conversely, were never originally ornamented – a fact that surprised even Victor Hugo, whose Notre Dame de Paris became the most famous work of literature on the cathedral. Not until the 19th-century restoration by Viollet-Le-Duc did the ironsmith Boulanger finally add some metal detail to them – on after restoring the cursed doors of Biscornet, of course.

(traduction: Tim McInerney)

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