The Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral has been an iconic symbol for the city of Paris and France as a whole. Initially built around 1260, the site has endured to our modern times — a showpiece of artistry from various periods in time, French Gothic architecture, and religious relevance — but it recently sustained severe damage from a fire in 2019, partially destroying the cathedral as a result. Fortunately, restoration works are underway to restore the site to its former glory, and it is set to be finished in 2024.
2024 is still a long way ahead of us, but you can go ahead and experience the Notre-Dame de Paris early — and you don’t even have to travel to France. The Alliance Française de Singapour, a local educational and cultural organisation teaching the French language and culture, is launching a new exhibition on the fantastic monument titled: (RE)BIRTHS.
(RE)BIRTHS spotlights the construction and its successive restorations of the cathedral through a unique experience. While the original site is very steeped in history, the exhibition makes use of modern technology to give visitors a unique perspective.
The centrepiece is a virtual reality (VR) experience that allows you to walk and tour the Notre-Dame de Paris to see the site from different viewpoints, including some places normally inaccessible, like the roof or the flying buttresses which are now explorable.
The experience was made in collaboration with video game company Ubisoft which initially re-created the monument for use in their 2014 game Assassin’s Creed: Unity.
There’s also a 1:100 scale cathedral model on showcase at the exhibition. Made in partnership with Matt Chiu from Imagene Creative Pte Ltd, the model was created with the help of 3D printing technology, meticulously detailed and built from 55 individual parts. Now, visitors will be able to view and admire the beautiful French Gothic facade from all angles.
The (RE)BIRTHS exhibition is also accompanied by an assortment of photos, videos, and artefacts that helps further envelop visitors as they experience what the Notre-Dame de Paris has to offer.
You’ll be able to visit the (RE)BIRTHS exhibition right now, and it lasts till 15 June. But there’s more in store! As part of the currently ongoing French Excellence programme, there’s also a series of talks, film screenings and workshops available alongside the exhibition that you can check out.
Among the highlights includes the musical Quasimodo, A Musical Story — featuring songs from the hit musical Notre-Dame de Paris. Further performed by theatre veterans like Hossan Leong, George Chan, and Vanessa Kee, as well as debuts from the likes of TJ Taylor, Joash Zheng, Preston Lim and Gabrielle Rae Sammy. There’s also a workshop that lets you indulge in the best that French delicacies have to offer, letting you try wines, cheeses, Cognac, and Champagne with a group. The complete list of programmes can be found here.
But if you’re just keen for (RE)BIRTHS, you can head on over to La galerie at Alliance Française de Singapour (1 Sarkies Rd, Singapore 258130) and enjoy the free exhibition. More details on (RE)BIRTHS can be found on the official exhibition page.
Visuals courtesy of Alliance Française de Singapour and Arron Teo Photography.