RECOVERING THE KINGS MISSING FROM THE FACADE OF NOTRE DAME. At the time I first saw the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris in 1969, I learned that a number of statues on the facade had been damaged or torn down during the French Revolution, and the church itself had been used for storage. This wikipedia entry says that the “the statues of the biblical kings of Judah (erroneously thought to be kings of France), located on a ledge on the facade of the cathedral, were beheaded.” Apparently the attack on the kings was more an attack on monarchy than an attack on religion.
Mary Jane and I have just returned from a wonderful vacation in Paris. While there we went to the Cluny Museum and found ourselves in a room with the heads of the kings. We spent almost an hour there, with a better view of the heads than I think anybody could have had from street level when the heads were in place. The heads had been found in 1977 during renovations for a bank—for a new computer system. This article from 2010 tells more about the find and quotes the curator: “They beheaded them quite nicely. The cut at the neck is neat.”