In the sanctuary, backed by the Southeast pillar of the transept, still white flowers honor a Virgin and child prayed under the word "Notre Dame de Paris". From the origins of the Cathedral in the 12Th century, an altar dedicated to the Virgin was arranged at this site.
This statue is the most well-known of the thirty seven representations of the Virgin in the Cathedral. Carved in the middle of the 14Th century, it comes from the Chapelle Saint-Aignan located in the former cloister of the Chanoines on the Ile de la Cité. Transferred to Notre-Dame in 1818, she was first placed in the pier of the portal of the Virgin in replacement of the 13th-century Virgin slaughtered in 1793. It was in 1855, during the restoration campaign of Viollet-le-Duc, that it was installed in its present location, historical location since at the end of the 12Th century an altar to the Virgin was raised in the same place.
"Long, elegant, rather strongly haunted, she carries on her arm the child Jesus who plays with the buckle of his mantle whose wide folds fall gracefully; a Crown covers his head. " Notre-Dame de Paris, historical and archaeological record, Marcel Aubert, 1950
"Barely pretty, but so bizarre with her Merry smile hatched over melancholy lips! Sighted on a certain side, she smiled at Jesus, almost mocked. It seems that she is expecting a funny Word from the child to make a decision to laugh; She is a new mother, not yet accustomed to the caresses of her son. Viewed from another point, from another angle, this smile, if ready to flourish, fades away. The mouth contracts in an appearance of pout and predicts crying. Perhaps by reaching at the same time on the face of our Lady these two opposing sentiments, peace and fear, the sculptor wanted him to translate both the rejoicing of the Nativity and the expected pain of Calvary. The Cathedral, J.-K. Huysmans, 1898
It is with this statue that the poet Paul Claudel converts, during the Vespers of the Christmas day 1886, shows an inscription on the pavement. In his work he mentions:
« It was the darkest winter day, and the blackest afternoon of rain on Paris, the Vespers in the half-night of Christmas, and the chorus in the Middle illuminated gold and linen and the great carpet with this arrangement of officiants gold and linen up to the altar, the ceremony compared to lateral me and the ignition of this white people who sings and accomplishes something in real time. " Radiant face, 1942
« I was standing in the crowd, near the second pillar at the entrance to the choir on the right side of the sacristy. And it was then that the event that dominated my whole life occurred. In an instant my heart was touched and I believed. I believed, of such a force of accession, of such an uprising of all my being, of such a powerful conviction, of such certainty, leaving no place for any kind of doubt, that since then all the books, all the reasoning, all the hazards of a restless life, could not shake my faith, nor, indeed, touch it. I had suddenly had the heartbreaking feeling of innocence, the eternal childhood of God, an ineffable revelation. " My conversion, 1913
For more than eight centuries, pilgrims and visitors have prayed at the foot of this statue married, Queen of heaven, these prayers brought by many flames of devotion burning days and nights throughout the year.