The grotesques, the stone statues which adorn the upper gallery between Notre-Dame's two towers, were designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. They recreate the fantastic universe of the Middle Ages. Unlike the gargoyles which have a function of draining of rainwater, the grotesques serve only a decorative function.
Sculpted by the workshops of the artist Geoffroy-Dechaume, there are 54 grotesques. The shapes of some of them are familiar to us: the pelican (symbol of charity), the bear (symbol of strength), the dragon (symbol of power), the Stryge (the most famous grotesque), or Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance to the Underworld.
Status of the Grotesques
Four grotesques of this group need to be entirely replaced because they are damaged beyond repair. The remaining 50 are in need of restoration to repair damage sustained over time from weather, pollution and degradation of the stone.