At 11:30 am on Monday, Apr. 15 I was sitting in class when I received a message from my friend that the Cathedral Notre Dame was on fire. I rushed to Twitter hoping that it was just a joke in poor taste. I searched Notre Dame and was immediately bombarded by thousands of tweets in English and French of people freaking out about the ongoing fire. By that point in time, a massive column of smoke was visible streaking across the Paris skyline. I opened a stream from a bystander showing the smoke rising from the top of the buildings as sirens blared in the distance. A massive crowd was gathered with everyone completely silent watching as one of the
defining symbols of French culture was catching fire. In the couple hours that passed, I continued to watch various streams from bystanders or news outlets detailing the fire. I was stunned at everything I was hearing; Notre Dame was always this gorgeous monument that I dreamed of being able to visit. It was more than a religious symbol, it was a historical monument that, through the French revolution and two world wars, remained relatively unscathed. Yet in 2019, a simple mistake during the renovation led to it being destroyed.
Around noon, I heard gasps from the crowd watching the fire and looked to see the iconic spire engulfed in flames and falling. At this point I was devastated. Nobody knew at the time if any of the priceless artifacts and paintings had been saved. Many, including myself, were under the impression that people were able to make it out with some, but not all of what was inside. It looked grim for the cathedral as the fire continued to burn the roof and interior. Slowly,
throughout the day, more reports came in of how the firefighting efforts were able to prevent further spreading to the bell towers. Eventually, it became apparent that the fire would be under control.
The next day reports started coming in about how the firefighters were able to save the building before the point irreversible structural damage. It was also revealed that most of the high-profile artifacts were saved while many others are believed to be recoverable. Many have also donated money to the restoration effort with nearly $1 billion raised in under two days. News has also been breaking of plans to run contests for new designs for the spire and roof. This
has the potential to give a more modern spin on the historical building, ushering Notre Dame in
to the modern age.