Cathedral restorer immortalised in stone

Colleagues have given one stone mason a unique gift in recognition of his lifetime of work restoring Lyon’s historic buildings – a gargoyle in his image on the city’s cathedral. 

Head mason Mohamed Benzizine was immortalised in stone on the 12th century St Jean cathedral just weeks after being made a chevalier in the Légion d’Honneur.

His story is inspirational. Arriving in France from Algeria at 15, he said: “France was a paradise and I could not believe my good fortune.”

He began by picking fruit but his life changed when he started work as a stone mason and had his first job in a church. “I went to the top of the scaffolding and the stonework up there was incredible. I was jealous. I wanted to be able to do ...

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