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The Smiling Angel

Do you know the story of the famous Smiling Angel in Reims Cathedral ?

The incredible story of the Smiling Angel

Located on the left-hand side of the main portal of Reims Cathedral, the "Ange au Sourire" is both a protective angel and a symbol of identity. Why is this medieval statue such a source of pride and utopia ?

This hitherto unknown 13th century masterpiece is making history ! On September 19, 1914, the Angel was decapitated in a fire at Reims Cathedral.

The mutilated head and the headless statue were used to support intense French propaganda against "the crime of Reims", the destruction of the cathedral by the enemy.

The Angel was elevated to the status of a symbol of genius and destroyed heritage, and in November 1915 became known as the "Smile of Reims".

Its fame endures, with its restoration in the 1920s, associated with the reconstruction of Reims: France is smiling again !

Today, it remains the most widely used symbol of identity and tourism in Reims. Since 1915, its political, commercial, tourist and artistic use has given rise to an impressive array of creations.

Statue de l'Ange au sourire située sur le portail nord de la façade occidentale de la cathédrale de Reims

© Jean-Pierre Delagarde / Centre des monuments nationaux

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