Resilient – Haiku 2023 #ThursdayDoors

Central Doors, West Facade Reims Cathedral, France. Image credit:


embroidered in time with

an angel’s smile


Built atop Roman bath houses from the 2nd century, its High Gothic 13th-century construction considered the masterpiece of that architectural style, and one of five Gothic churches forming an outer circle surrounding modern-day Paris, France—stands Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral (Reims Cathedral).

The solid wooden central doors of the West facade are surrounded by beyond-life-sized stone figures and “embroidered” stone carvings depicting the life of Mary, Mother of Jesus from the Annunciation to the birth of Christ.

Closeup detail of the wood grain of the featured doors and the solid iron latch on the inside of the door (below).

Wood Door Latch: Central Door, Reims Cathedral. Image credit: beyondthewindowbox

In modern times, a smaller door has been carved in these large doors to allow ease of access to open the larger door from the inside.

The massive stone-carved figures surrounding the doors featured above were originally in full color.

Trivia: Famous as the coronation cathedral of 30+ French kings since 1100 AD, and greeting 1 million visitors annually, Reims Cathedral houses the second most statues in any cathedral, with a staggering 2,303 figures.

One particular stone statute— the “smiling angel” (circa 1236; restored 1926) located above the north portal doors (image below) —is famous in its own right, having been seriously damaged during WW1.

Nothing short of herculean restoration efforts over a decade was undertaken to restore the statue. It was reinstalled into the portal on 13 February 1926. Reims Cathedral’s stone angel, her engaging smile, and her story have become symbols of resilience.

The Smiling Angel, North Portal, West Facade Reims Cathedral. Image credit: Wikimedia CC

Wider Angles Reims Cathedral below:

Flying buttresses on the right, Reims Cathedral. Image credit: Guy Dugas | Pixabay
Reims Cathedral, France. Image credit:


For more #ThursdayDoors visit host, Dan Antion @ No Facilities

By Teresa: My camera and I

Published by Suzette Benjamin

Positive thinker, inspirational, writer, faith

50 thoughts on “Resilient – Haiku 2023 #ThursdayDoors

  1. A masterpiece of Gothic art
    Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, Reims
    I love the brasslatch on the wooden doors.
    They are resillient pieces of artwork standing the test of time for centuries, now slowly losing its resillient symbol, the modern door has a different aura.

    The marriage of sculptural decoration with architecture in this context is timeless, embroidered with passion.

    There is something special about the angel smile
    It feels coded and shrouded in mystery
    Appealing in a unique way to different souls

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, the Cathedral has an extensive history as the center of faith and kingship. Thank you for mentioning those excellent points (Abbey and Tau).

      The brass latch is pretty unique. The scale is hard to guess from the photo, but it looks quite sturdy and able to withstand well time’s rigors.

      I quite like your word “marriage” perfect.

      The angel is appealing indeed. Her smile seems to linger long after seeing the photo (I found)

      Thank you for your always insightful and reflecting comments. A pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I picked up the holy anointing as part of the history of the cathedral and the remains of the saint that lay.
        Fascinating read.
        You right about her smile

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful cathedral and the smiling angel has no parallel. Well done, Suzette for writing this beautiful haiku on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those people sitting near the entrance give a sense of scale to those amazing doors. Wow! I am glad the smiling angel was restored. That’s beautiful statue. Thanks for the history and for your lovely haiku.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right! The doors overshadow the two people on the steps immensely!
      I know I like to overus the word “massive” when it comes to churches, but every opportunity it seemed at Reims Cathedral, was undertaken to massive-ize everything.
      The angel’s smile is fabulous and somehow stays in the mind’s eye…incredible craftwork.
      Thank you, Dan, for visiting and for hosting ThursdayDoors. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow thanks for this up close and personal view and history of this amazing church,
    Your haiku should be inscribed on the doors as it is in our hearts with the gift of your smile like the angel. gorgeous Suzette! ❣️

    Liked by 1 person

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