1. You just made me laugh so loudly that I literally woke up my husband — who was sleeping behind a closed door, on a separate floor of the house. Well done, sir! :) I absolutely adore your hilarious turns of phrase. But what I really appreciate is that, amid my guffaws, I always learn so much from your posts. Thank you so much, James.

    I’ve officially added St. Martin des Champs to the “must see” list for my next visit to Paris. I’ll let you know whether I manage to complete my visit without inappropriately giggling at the fact that “everything sucks and is wrong and everyone just wants this building to stop before it embarrasses itself anymore.”

    • Thanks for the appreciating the absurdity of a descriptive figure caption breaking down into sheer despair.
      I should emphasise, though, that St Martin-des-Champs is now Musée Arts es Metiers and will cost you €8 to get in (We were all given tickets, I didn’t go in the museum itself as we all set off to St Denis for the afternoon). Over the road is the parish church of St Nicholas-des-Champs which also has a hilariously wonky tower (but is a lovely church inside).

      • Thank you for the clarification, James! I actually noted the fact that the church houses the Arts et Metiers museum with great interest — because I always see it listed on my Paris Museum Pass, but have never visited. But after reading your post I won’t make that error of omission again.

  2. Always amusing to meet another pedantic medievalist! (By ‘pedantic’ I mean, obviously, painstaking/ precise.) And refreshing to meet one who is even more pedantic than oneself: I think they kicked me out of academia for not taking it all quite pedantically enough. To me, the mistakes in the development of the Gothic style are some of the best bits. I love being able to see the builders’ mistakes and how they remedied them, as they taught themselves a new style. Flying buttresses are an obvious example; while Wells Cathedral is a favourite in experimental architecture. However, I’m no expert, just enjoyed the read. Thanks!

  3. If you’ve not seen the church at Nieuil sur l’Autise in the Vendee you seriously do not know the meaning of “wonky arches”

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