If you keep up with the news you had seen that last week one of the most iconic cathedrals in Paris succumbed to a major fire, Notre-Dame de Paris or Our Lady of Paris. This medieval cathedral begun construction in 1160 and was mostly completed by 1260. For almost 500 years continual modifications were done, but during the French Revolution much of these modifications were either damaged or destroyed. Then in the 19th Century Napoleon I had his coronation in the cathedral, and the popular book The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was released. Seeing renewed interest in the cathedral, new projects including cleaning the facade from centuries of soot of grime gave a new look to Our Lady of Paris.
12 million people visit this cathedral every year, making it the most visited monument in Paris. People come to see the arches and buttresses of the nave, the 19th century spire, the gargoyles, and the illustration of the Last Judgement all around the outside. Once inside the cathedral, seeing the North Rose Window depicting scenes from the life is Christ is breath-taking. The massive organ originally built in 1403 but was replaced in 1730 with a much larger organ, is one of the largest organs in Europe with more than 8,000 pipes. Bells, crypts, and galleries filled with priceless materials are also things people flock this beautiful building.
On April 15th, 2019 many people watched in horror on various news outlets as a huge fire consumed the roof of the cathedral. Watching and waiting to hear what had been damaged made many people feel like they were on pins and needles. The thought of this iconic structure and all its priceless relics being destroyed was heart-breaking.
After a few hours, the fire-fighters finally got the fire under control before determining that if the fire had continued just a few more minutes and the worst may have happened. A week later we are finding out that most of the facade, towers, walls, buttresses, the pipe organ, and stained-glass windows remained untouched. It was also determined that many statues and relics had been removed for cleaning purposes while construction workers worked in the area where the fire started. Sections of the stone ceiling had collapsed when the iconic spire came down.
It is amazing that this structure that has been around for almost 900 years had to go through this massive fire. However, I was thankful to hear that much of this iconic, well-known cathedral will be fine. Rebuilding will be the next step, with many billionaires already pouring in pledges of hundreds of millions of Euros to restore it. With each end comes a new beginning, so I hope this Lady of Paris has a bigger and brighter spire ahead.
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