French president's wife proposed ‘phallus and golden balls’ for Notre Dame rebuild

6 January 2023, 10:05 | Updated: 6 January 2023, 10:47

Brigitte Macron showed the French culture minister a design resembling a “phallus with golden balls”
Brigitte Macron showed the French culture minister a design resembling a “phallus with golden balls”. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

The wife of French president Emmanuel Macron pushed for Notre Dame to be rebuilt in the shape of a "phallus with golden balls” the former French culture minister has revealed.

According to a memoir released by Roselyne Bachelot, Brigitte Macron approached her with the phallic design after pushing for a more contemporary spire design.

It follows a massive fundraising effort in a bid to rebuild the historic 19th-century spire after it was destroyed in a fire in 2019.

Roselyne Bachelot, 76, who was replaced as French culture minister by President Macron last year, openly pushed back against attempts to create a more contemporary design.

Brigitte Macron, wife of French president Emmanuel Macron, showed the French culture minister a design resembling a “phallus with golden balls”
Brigitte Macron, wife of French president Emmanuel Macron, showed the French culture minister a design resembling a “phallus with golden balls”. Picture: LBC / Alamy
French architect Alexandre Chassang proposed a modern glass prism that would include a beam of light into the cathedral.
French architect Alexandre Chassang proposed a modern glass prism that would include a beam of light into the cathedral. Picture: LBC / Alamy

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As part of her 680-page memoir, the former politician revealed Macron’s wife approached her with a contemporary design over lunch.

With the final design confirmed in July 2020, Macron's government expressed their disappointment at the decision after Bachelot announced the spire would instead be rebuilt in the image of the original.

She also notes Macron's government accused the former minister of "just doing what I pleased” in relation to the rebuild.

“When I got back to the ministry, the office was in a state of stress: the Élysée Palace was dreaming of an ‘architectural gesture’ and was accusing me of just doing what I please,” she writes

Architect Mathieu Lehanneur proposed a flame-like design, while Alexandre Fantozzi's stained glass concept was eye-catching
Architect Mathieu Lehanneur proposed a flame-like design, while Alexandre Fantozzi's stained glass concept was eye-catching. Picture: LBC / Instagram
Brigitte Macron showed the French culture minister a design resembling a “phallus with golden balls” as an architectural idea to rebuild Notre Dame
Brigitte Macron showed the French culture minister a design resembling a “phallus with golden balls” as an architectural idea to rebuild Notre Dame. Picture: LBC / Alamy

“I do not regret this insubordination when, at lunch with Brigitte Macron a few days later, she shows me a project topped with a sort of erect phallus with its base surrounded with golden balls.”

It was one of a number of distinctive designs proposed by architects, after President Macron openly endorsed “a contemporary architectural gesture... since the spire wasn’t part of the original cathedral.”

One such design from British architect Lord Foster involved transforming the spire into a “super-slender needle touching heaven’s clouds’’.

Other submissions from international architects include French architect Alexandre Chassang's proposed a modern glass prism, while architect Mathieu Lehanneur proposed a flame-like design and Alexandre Fantozzi a stained glass concept.

The reopening of Notre-Dame Cathedral is set to take place in Paris is 2024.

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