Written by Emma Grosskopf
A massive fire shook the Ile de La Cité on Monday when the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris went up in flames due to apparent complications involved with its ongoing renovation.
The cathedral, whose construction began in the early 1100s, had been under an ongoing, multi-million-dollar restoration process when a fire broke out and spread quickly throughout the cathedral, burning for over 12 hours. A CBS news report stated that authorities are speculating that the fire began in one of the elevators close to the cathedral’s iconic spire, which collapsed Monday afternoon.
The fire, which proved harder than expected to extinguish, ravaged the wooden interior of the 850-year-old church. While the wooden roof and famous spire collapsed in the blaze, most of the valuable relics and priceless artwork inside the church itself were not damaged at all.
Photos emerged shortly after the blaze was tamed by the Paris Fire Brigade that showed the internal damage of the structure. The wooden beams of the roof had fallen in, and the spire that had been an icon of the Paris skyline had succumbed to the flames. However, the front altar and many of the stained glass windows of the cathedral remain safe and sound, undamaged.
French President Emmanuel Macron stated on Tuesday that the cathedral would be rebuilt within five years, a lofty goal of which many experts of gothic architecture are skeptical. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Macron’s pledge, many celebrities have donated staggering amounts of money to a rebuilding fund for the church. Apple is among one of the corporations that have pledged money to the campaign to rebuild one of Paris’ most historical and culturally important landmarks. According to Fortune, the amount of money that has been donated thus far is approximately 800 million euros, which is about $920 million.
The cathedral is one of the most popular tourist spots in Paris, and an important religious landmark for the Catholic Church. While most of the holy relics stored in the cathedral were rescued from the fire, there are still some relics and several pieces of artwork that are not yet accounted for.
According to the New York Times, Notre Dame de Paris is visited by about 30,000 people per day, and about 13 million people per year. Even though the blaze caused extensive damage to the famous cathedral, one thing is certain- the people of France will rebuild, and the cathedral will be restored to its full capacity. For more information on how to donate to the restoration cause, visit The French Heritage Society website at https://frenchheritagesociety.org/event/notre-dame-fire-restoration-fund/.