Before the fire that ripped through major portions of Notre Dame cathedral and destroyed its central spire, sixteen bronze statues which graced the foot of the spire for the past 150 years, had been flown off the building by crane to undergo repair and restoration. In the process, onlookers got an amazing show.
The statues, representing the Twelve Apostles and the Four Evangelists, were installed as part of mid-19th-century renovation under Viollet-le-Duc, and had not been seen close-up since. They were scheduled to go on display inside the cathedral with two at a time to be sent to a specialized restorer in the Dordogne.
Under the original plan, they were to be 'flown' back into place when renovation of the spire was completed. It will now be a long time before that takes place. At this point, there is no definite word on whether the statues were in the cathedral when the fire broke out, or where they are stored.
More pictures of the statues and of the operation are at TheLocal.fr