On the Fire at Notre Dame & How Victor Hugo After Saved the Cathedral


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Anchor. Origins. Heartbeat. Final evening, along with the rest of the globe, I watched in horror as a lot of Notre Dame burned down in flames. For hours and hours, I located myself glued to social media, refreshing newspapers, and vividly watching reside news coverage. Notre Dame Cathedral is characterised by its flying buttresses and Gothic gargoyles. Well-known the globe more than, it can be located in the really heart of Paris on Ile de la Cite, a single of two organic islands in the centre of the River Seine.

That some thing so enduring and so iconic could practically be wiped out in a matter of hours appears unfathomable. Properly more than eight hundred and fifty six years worth of history is to be located inside the walls of Notre Dame, and for a period final evening, it seemed as if the future of the entirety of Notre Dame was touch and go. It was only thanks to the brave function of the firefighters (identified as les pompiers in French) that the structure was secured.

The developing has survived numerous wars, revolutions, plagues, the Nazis: you name it, Notre Dame has survived it. After far more, it appears as if the cathedral will pull by means of. This morning, I woke up, hoping it was all a poor dream. It was not. And but, in this time of fantastic sadness, there is nevertheless fantastic hope. Immediately after all, this is not the only calamity that the fantastic Cathedral of Paris has observed, nor is this the only misfortune to have befallen it.

view from notre dame

On the rebuilding of Notre Dame in the 19th-century

It is tiny identified, but when Victor Hugo wrote ‘the Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ Notre Dame was crumbling and in fantastic disrepair. So a lot so, that in the early 1800s, when Victor Hugo was living in Paris, the cathedral was half-falling down.

Groundbreaking of Notre Dame started way back in the 12th-century, with Pope Alexander in attendance. More than time, the Cathedral has observed a lot of adjustments, and till final evening, a lot of individuals didn’t even realise that the now destroyed wooden spire only dated back to the 19th-century. These who started the building of Notre Dame in the 12th-century (a lot of of whom have been volunteers and would by no means see the completed masterpiece) would most likely not even recognise the modern day day structure we all know and appreciate these days.

Notre Dame

You see, in the course of the time of Louis XIV (i.e. The Sun King of Versailles), the Cathedral underwent a lot of adjustments, renovations, and some could possibly say, disfigurements. The stained glass windows have been largely replaced with clear panes, when the original rood screen (jube in French- the only surviving a single in Paris is to be located in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont) was taken away. Pillars have been removed and the church was transformed beyond recognition.

Additional misfortune was to befall the cathedral in the course of the French Revolution. Statues have been torn down, smashed, and carvings have been defaced. The lead was stolen from the rooftops to make bullets and by the time the Cathedral was when far more in the hands of the church (in 1802), the Cathedral was in have to have of funds to make sure that the Cathedral would even nevertheless be standing for future generations to take pleasure in.

Victor Hugo loved the cathedral. Worried about its state, and the lack of public stress to save Notre Dame, in 1831, Hugo published The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But what is probably most telling about his correct intention for the novel, that it could possibly reignite Parisian, French, and worldwide interest in the Cathedral, is that he basically named the book Notre Dame de Paris. 

In it, there are numerous chapters solely devoted to the architecture of Notre Dame, telling of in itself. Properly, the book and subsequent spin-off tales and myths worked improved than Hugo could probably ever have imagined. In 1841, the State commissioned Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and Jean-Baptiste Lassus to restore Notre Dame. In the following decades, a new organ was added, the spire replaced, the gargoyles have been added, and numerous other characteristics of the developing that are so synonymous with the modern day day Notre Dame.

Albumen silver print from glass negative of the east facade of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris in around 1860

Albumen silver print from a glass unfavorable of the east facade of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris in about 1860 by way of Wikipedia

Notre Dame Cathedral in the present day and what occurs subsequent

Back to the present day: in 2019, prior to the Notre Dame fire that ravaged the most important wooden frame of the cathedral, the church was when far more undergoing renovations. Years of neglect, pollution, and acidic rain has observed a lot of specialists decry the state of the cathedral. Here’s an interview in French with Jean-Michel Leniaud, president of the scientific council at the National Heritage Institute, about the state of the cathedral and why he believed a fire like this was ‘likely to happen’.

Final evening, on the 15th of April 2019, on the second day of Holy Week, a single of the most crucial weeks in the church calendar, a fire took hold. In this age of Social Media, we have been practically all conscious of it, and practically all quickly.

Straight away, individuals began sharing memories of the Cathedral, of their time in Paris, of how the church is a single of the greatest treasures in the globe. Men and women grieve in several approaches and it was touching to see individuals come collectively by means of the energy of the web. I cannot envision how painful it have to have been for these who function on and with the cathedral to have observed a lot of their artisanal function destroyed.

Where to find vintage paris: notre dame

Possibly rather miraculously, all 3 Rose Windows appears to be okay. The Crown of Thorns and the Tunic of St Louis are each reportedly in secure areas, and other artworks have also been saved (although information of which ones are nevertheless to be confirmed). Thanks to the reality that the Cathedral was below renovations, a lot of other operates of art (as properly as stonework for the Gargoylescape region of the cathedral) have been saved. Additional information about the artwork saved can be located in this report.

Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic, has currently vowed that the cathedral will be rebuilt (a reputable supply can be located in English right here). The information, and how it will be funded, and just how the operates will be undertaken, are nevertheless unclear. The fire has only just been extinguished and it honestly feels a tiny painful each time I see a different photo angle of the destruction. Of course, in time, like a magnificent phoenix increasing from the ashes cathedral will be rebuilt and will be stunning once more.

Till then, we’ll be patient…


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