The Notre Dame rooster that survived a Paris fire.

Notre-Dame weathervane comes home to roost

The spire of Notre Dame, topped by the rooster weathervane, collapsed in the April 15 fire. Credit: Shutterstock.
The spire of Notre Dame, topped by the rooster weathervane, collapsed in the April 15 fire. Credit: Shutterstock.

.- A copper rooster containing relics and thought to have been destroyed in the collapse of Notre-Dame de Paris has been found damaged but intact. The weathervane had previously perched at the top of the cathedral spire for more than a century.

An informal national symbol of France, the rooster also functioned as a lightning rod for the cathedral, and contained one of the thorns from the crown of thorns, as well as relics of the French saints Denis and Genevieve. It is unclear as of now if these relics survived the damage.

The rooster was discovered on Tuesday, one day after the fire.

Jacques Chanut, president of the French Builders Federation, tweeted a picture of the dented rooster’s recovery.

Chanut said it was “incredible” and that the rooster had been found among the rubble of the cathedral.

“His intuition was good!,” Chanut added.


An official from the French Ministry of Culture told Le Parisien that while the spire collapsed  completely into the nave of the cathedral, “the rooster broke off and fell on the right side of the road, maybe on the walkway, at least out of the fire.”

The rooster was described as “dented, but probably restorable,” he said.

The cathedral’s spire collapsed shortly after the blaze began on Monday evening. While the entire cathedral was initially feared to be lost, the church’s stone vaulted ceilings mostly held and the interior was relatively unscathed. The vaulting underneath the spire was the only part that collapsed.

The walls of the cathedral, including its famous rose windows, survived the fire. The west facade, and the iconic bell towers, also escaped any major damage.

In a stroke of providence, 16 copper statues were removed from the spire for renovation work in the days before the fire. When the fire started, a pre-existing plan to rescue artwork and relics inside the cathedral was deployed, and a “formidable human chain” was created to save the art.

Paris Fire Brigade Chaplain Fr. Jean-Marc Fournier accompanied firefighters into the cathedral to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament and the crown of thorns.

A firefighter and two police officers were reportedly injured in the fire. Nobody was killed. Despite being one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the world, the church was evacuated safely and had just closed to visitors shortly before the fire broke out.

There is no formal estimate yet for how long the cathedral restoration will take.

Tags: France, Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral