Due to the fire that damaged Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, this is a time of mourning for many French people. While Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral was being renovated, the roof caught fire on April 15, 2019 and burned for 15 hours.  The inferno caused the collapse of the spire, the oak frame and the lead roof.  If the fire would have lasted longer, the entire cathedral would have been destroyed.  Fortunately, the facade, towers, walls, buttresses, stained glass windows and the great organ were all salvaged.  According to police, an electrical short-circuit was the cause of the fire.

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, honored the 500 firefighters who fought the blaze and helped save Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral as well as its valuable relics.  He said that it would take five years for the cathedral to be fixed.  While it undergoes substantial renovations, it will be closed to the public.

Notre Dame de Paris, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, draws 13 million visitors yearly to Paris.  Translated into English, the cathedral’s name means, “Our Lady of Paris.”  Maurice de Sully, who was a Bishop, was the one who had the brilliant idea to create Notre -Dame de Paris Cathedral.  Construction of the cathedral began in 1160 and was completed in 1260.  With its works of art and fine architecture, this cathedral remains a symbol of Paris, as a time capsule of the past, in the modern world.

Some of the many wonders at the cathedral include the Crown of Thorns, a piece of the cross of Jesus, stained glass windows and bronze statues of the 12 apostles among many other priceless relics.  The Crown of Thorns, which many Christians believe Jesus wore during his crucifixion, recently made news headlines since it was salvaged from the fire.  King Louis IX placed the Crown of Thorns in Notre-Dame in 1231.

The stained glass rose windows at Notre-Dame are one of the most famous features of the cathedral.  Circular in shape with intricate pieces of stained glass, all the rose windows attract the sunshine.  One of the most interesting windows of the cathedral is the South rose window.  It contains 94 medallions, which are positioned in four circles, portraying images of the life of Christ.  In the inner circle of the South rose window, there are 12 medallions containing the 12 apostles.

The cathedral is well known for its bells.  Notre-Dame has 10 bells, and the most remarkable bell of all is the Emmanuel bell.  In fact, the sounds coming from the Emmanuel bell are one of the most melodic in Europe.  During important events such as papal visits, funerals of dignitaries and wars, you will hear its chime that changes according to the occasion.  During holidays, the Emmanuel bell will also ring on Christmas, Easter and Ascension.  The Emmanuel bell was named by King Louis XIV.

Throughout Notre-Dame, you will see countless works of art.  These sculptures not only beautify the cathedral, but they also served a liber pauperum a “poor people’s book,” which illustrated bible stories for many of the parishioners who were illiterate.

Notre-Dame will always be one of the greatest symbols of France.  Victor Hugo, who was a renowned French writer, helped bring the attention of Notre-Dame to the world when he wrote his famous novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.  Since this cathedral is so beautiful, you can hear volumes of poetry in your mind when you gaze at Notre-Dame.

With the recent fire at Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, the heart of Paris is now torn.  The good news is that billionaires have already pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Notre-Dame.  These affluent and benevolent donors, who are committed to saving Notre Dame, include Bernard Arnault, Francois-Henri Pinault and the Bettencourt Myers family among many others.  Since Paris will never be the same without Notre-Dame, it must return to its former splendor once again.