The Smiling Angel of Reims

Even though it has been more than 15 years, I remember my visit to the cathedral at Reims (Notre-Dame de Reims) in the Champagne region of France. This was the church where numerous monarchs were crowned. The thing I remember the most is that there was a statue of a smiling angel above the entrance to the cathedral that was famous. I remember glancing at it briefly, but it was raining so I never got a picture. Recently, with the release of Anne Rice‘s latest angel book, Of Love and Evil, I thought about that smiling angel and did a search on the net. I was a bit confused because two different statues kept appearing on the results.

Here is the first one that appeared:

But then this one (on the left) seemed to be everywhere:

–She is missing an arm and a wing . . .

A black and white of the first one:

And a very nice one of the second:

Finally, I found this postage stamp honoring L’ange au sourire:
–So, Angel #1 must be the “real” Smiling Angel. 🙂

I honestly can’t remember which one I saw . . . 

Here they are along with their fellow statues:
–The famous one is on the right.

–The other one is on the left. Reims Cathedral (Our Lady of Rheims) suffered greatly during WWI and many statues were repaired. At least she does still smile . . .

And here is a poem in French from the parish website honoring the angel:
EN CONTEMPLANT L’ANGE AU SOURIRE …
par Jean-Marie GUERLIN

publié le Vendredi 15 octobre 2010

Toi, l’ange au sourire,
le messager de Dieu,
les tailleurs de pierre ont su si bien exprimer
sur ton visage
le sourire mĂŞme de Dieu,
pour dire Ă  tous ceux qui te contemplent
combien Dieu les aime,
combien il leur est proche !
Toi, l’ange au sourire,
tu as bravé toutes les destructions
pour devenir au milieu de nous
le signe d’une espérance joyeuse et tenace :
la réconciliation entre les peuples !

  5 comments for “The Smiling Angel of Reims

  1. June 13, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Hi Denise
    Enjoyed your blog about the Smiling Angel and thanks for clearing up the confusion over which image it is. I am seeking a high res pic of the angel. Have you been able to get one? Your jpeg ‘Angel 1 2’ would be perfect. I also need to obtain copyright permission so that the picture could be includued as an illustration in a book. Can you help me in any way? thanks, Sophie

  2. April 4, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Dear Denise

    abelard pointed me to your blog entry in the Smile of Reims, which we had both read with interest. We at abelard.org also have done researches on smiling angels at Reims.

    It is easy to be confused as there is both the Smile of Reims angel and the Smiling Angel, as well as various other angels at Reims who look pretty cheerful.

    You might like to look at this web page with the results of our researches:
    http://www.abelard.org/france/germans_in_france-reims.php#smile
    There is also a marked plan of the cathedral showing the location of the two main Angels:
    http://www.abelard.org/france/germans_in_france-reims.php#locating

    Best regards
    XH

    • April 5, 2012 at 12:04 AM

      I will definitely take a look. The stamp was my deciding factor, but I did not delve too deeply into the matter! This posting does get a lot of traffic, though, I must say! Thanks for your info and I will check out the links. Sincerely, Denise

    • June 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      The smiling angel on the second picture (with missing arm and wing) is Gabriel angel.

      Vjenceslav Vlahov
      Zagreb, Croatia
      vvlahov@gmail.com

    • June 19, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      Thank you, VV!

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