The Fire at Notre Dame

By Abby Beddow

On April 15th, 2019 at about 6:20 pm in Paris, the entire city watched in horror as a raging fire tore apart one of the oldest and most coveted churches in the world. Notre Dame has been a historical and cultural landmark for the entire world.

The construction of this church started in 1163 while France was under the rule of King Louis VII. With construction finishing 182 years later in 1345, it is one of the oldest churches in the world at 674 years old since completion. During the French revolution in the 1700s, the condition of the church was neglected until 1831 when Victor Hugo wrote the novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” which highlighted the feeble condition of the church. After the novel was published many Parisians were sparked with a sense of nationalism and a resurgence in pride of the cathedral.

Notre Dame was home to many priceless artifacts that could not be saved such as the many breathtaking art pieces. However, many things were saved like the Crown of Thorns that was said to be worn by Jesus.

While the fire remained mostly in the wooden attic, it caused major structural damage, toppling the iconic spire, however, the rooster was found intact among the rubble. As part of the reconstruction efforts, France will be holding a competition among architects in order to design a new spire for the cathedral. Among the reconstruction efforts, many of France’s wealthiest citizens have already pledged nearly $1 billion including Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, which owns the fashion brand Gucci, has promised 100 million euros in to help. With all the help the French government is receiving, president Macron has estimated the reconstruction to take about five years to complete.

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