Notre-Dame is in Flames

Notre dame

Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty. Published under Fair Use (informational)

One of the great landmarks of Western civilization, 800-year-old Notre-Dame Cathedral on the Île de la Cité in Paris, is burning. The roof has collapsed and the spire has fallen. The fire is still raging and the cause is not yet known. There have been no deaths reported.

The Cathedral, built over the course of one hundred years, was begun in AD 1163. It has been modified many times and had been undergoing reconstruction recently. One of the glories of French Gothic architecture and intertwined with French history, in modern times it has been the most-visited site in the most-visited city in the World, drawing more than 12 million visitors annually.

The structure was attacked by rioting Huguenots (French protestants) in 1548, and many of its treasures were destroyed or carried off during the French Revolution. Napoleon I restored it to the church and crowned himself Emperor in it. It had fallen into partial ruin and decrepitude when Victor Hugo's 1831 novel Notre-Dame de Paris (published in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) revived interest in it, with the result that King Louis Philippe ordered its reconstruction in 1844. It was then that original 13th-century spire was replaced with the one which fell today.

The building is owned by the government of France and the Catholic Church is is perpetual beneficiary. More than 400 firefighters have been mobilized. It is a cultural and artistic catastrophe rather than a human one, but the fire appears serious enough to cause irreparable harm to the iconic building and many of its priceless contents; the cultural loss is grievous.


Original contents copyright 2019 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.

(Not) everything must fade away

(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)

Featured Comments from:

Manuel: "This is a massive tragedy for humanity, Mike. One of incalculable proportions. The Nôtre-Dame is a symbol of Paris and of France, mostly for the reasons you've mentioned, but there is a cruel element of irony here too. France is a proud nation: they have pride in their past. France conserves its monuments in absolutely pristine condition. If you see, say, the cathedral of Chartres, an imposing Gothic building halfway between Paris and Normandy, only the style betrays its age. The French really excel at preserving their heritage. No wonder, then, that this tragedy, although one not measurable in human lives, causes the French people such grief. And not only the French, of course. Just about everyone with a modicum of knowledge of history is in a state of shock today."

[Author: Michael Johnston]

Tags: Photography, France, Normandy, Paris, Catholic Church, Notre Dame, Napoleon, News And Occasions, Michael Johnston, Michael C Johnston, Manuel, Victor Hugo, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louis Philippe, Chartres, Notre Dame de Paris, Ïle de la Cité, Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt, Mike One


January 1, 2019 at 2:43 AM Happy New Year!
December 24, 2018 at 2:44 PM Earthrise and Merry Christmas!
November 24, 2018 at 2:45 AM Happy Thanksgiving
November 23, 2018 at 2:46 PM Cold!
November 12, 2018 at 2:48 PM The 'Great' War