‘The Heart of France Beats at Notre Dame,’ Historian Says

By David Vives

Paris residents famously came together to grieve and sing hymns in tribute to France’s Notre-Dame cathedral after the devastating fire on Monday, April 15, with hundreds of people spontaneously gathering at nearby Saint Michel. According to historian Marion Sigault, this shows the unity of French people around Notre Dame. 

What was your first impression when you heard about the Notre Dame blaze?

I also prayed. When I got closer to Notre Dame, I saw that she was still standing, so this is not the destruction that we were told. She has lost her roof, her frame, but the gargoyles, the butcher’s arches all around, the cathedral is still there. It is extremely damaged, but not destroyed. My feeling of horror has eased a little.

Why is Notre Dame such a symbol?

It’s the symbol of this Christian faith of the French through the ages, and it’s very moving to see people come together to pray. Some might say that Christianity doesn’t exist. It is de-Christianized on the surface, but in depth, those who feel French in their hearts have remained Christians, and I hope that this will learn to manifest itself.

It is more than the soul of Paris that was touched, it is the soul of France. The kings of France came to pray to Notre Dame, they were crowned at Saint Denis but came to pray at Notre Dame. This is the place in Paris where people used to sing “Te Deum,” which is a praise to thank God for a blessing. Obviously, Notre Dame is a place of tourist attraction for those who came to Paris, but the heart of Notre Dame beats for France, not only for Paris. It is obvious.

The pilgrimage of Chartres leaves Notre Dame de Paris. I’m wondering how it’s going to be this year, it’s dramatic.

There are testimonies of people coming together again after this tragedy. Is that your opinion?

The momentum of solidarity to rebuild it and the shock that the French have received seems very good to me.

It must be understood that France and Christianity are one and the same. Today, we hear, “Long live the Republic, long live France.” That is to say that we are obliged to combine France with the Republic. In the old days, it was said: Long live God, Long live France, and Long live the King.

Marion Sigut picture.
French historian Marion Sigaut. (Courtesy of Marion Sigaut)

De-Christianizing France is a way of destroying France. France has been Christian since birth, since the Clovis Baptism. The desire for de-Christianization of the Revolutionaries was to kill France in a certain way. There is only to see, today all the republican people claim a mixture of races, of all, France does not even interest them. According to them, our identity should be melted and dissolved into a globalist magma. They pay no respect to France’s history and culture.

How can we understand this Christian identity?

In the old days, before the French Revolution, what was a village? It was a community of people gathered around the church. The church is the alpha and omega of all values ​​and laws. What is the law under the Old Regime? This is the custom. It was practiced by people, validated by the King and based on the Christian religion. All that is moral criteria is based on Catholic Christianity. There is no village under the old days without a church in the middle. The General Assemblies of the inhabitants who decide the whole life of their community, this is done every Sunday at the end of the mass.

Someone used to say under the old days before the Revolution: if you want to count the inhabitants of a village, you go to Mass on Sunday morning and ask the priest who is sick. You add this number to the number of people who come out of the mass and you have the totality of a population. Absolutely everyone was going to Mass.

In the trades, it was the same thing. In town, all trades were organized around a patron saint. Trade communities had their churches, they had their masses, rituals, etc … France was Christian, and ceased to be when it became a Republic.

France from ancient times to the French Revolution, the whole life of a village is organized around the Church. It is the church that stands in the middle of the parish. At the exit of the Church, on Sunday, this is where the general assemblies are held, under the shadow of the largest tree.

All professions are organized around a Christian patron saint. And the Notre Dame cathedral is the place of power, i.e. where the King and the great figures of the State meet for public ceremonies.