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Notre Dame Fire

One Year Since the Fire that Ravaged Notre Dame de Paris

One Year Since the Fire that Ravaged Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame Fire 2015 Paris
On April 15th 2019, a fire began in the Notre Dame Cathedral, toppling the spire and gutting the church which has stood in the centre of Paris for 850 years.

Thousands of Parisians spilled onto the streets

Solidarity is a term we seem to be mentioning a lot at the moment, but as an foreigner who has made France my home, it is an act of beauty that I have been blown away by over and over.

It may seem strange that the fire was so devastating to a country so resistant to religion over the years, but Notre Dame is much more than that. And when the fire started, thousands of Parisians spilled onto the streets and eventually the silence turned into the sound of hymns.

A symbol of French History

Built over a century from 1163, Notre Dame has stood through the Hundred Years War,  the battles of the Huguenots vs Catholics, four revolutions and two World Wars. 

Before the fire, the worst damage it had seen was in 1793 during the French Revolution when the bells were torn down and the 28 statues of kings were decapitated.

It has been a place of worship, of food storage, of cults and prostitution, a meeting place for atheists labelled the ‘Temple of Reason’, a hiding place for Nazi Snipers.

It has been the cœur de Paris – the heart of Paris, for eight centuries.

Notre Dame Spire in Flames
Victor Hugo's Hunchback

And of course, it is the inspiration of the literary genius of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Not to mention, being a bucket list sight for 13 million visitors a year.

We love cycling past Notre Dame on our day and night tours of Paris, and the incredible view of her seen from a boat along the Seine River.
Boutique Bike Tours Notre Dame Must See Sight on Bike Tour
Inside View of Notre Dame Paris Destroyed by Fire

But What About the Restoration?

Within 24 hours of the fire, donations for its restoration came to over €700 million. By October 2019, the fund was one billion in total, but it has been far from easy.

Last Christmas was the first in 200 years that a Christmas Mass was not held at the Cathedral.

The plan for restoration or redesign has been the topic of lengthy debates.

Risk of lead-poisoning significantly delayed progress last year, followed by high winds posing too much danger for works in Autumn and now Covid-19 has brought the restoration to a complete halt.

An optimistic President Marcon set a 5 year goal for completion, which we all didn’t anticipate, even before Covid-19. However, French army general Jean-Louis Georgelin, who is in charge of returning Notre Dame to her glory, hasn’t lost faith.

“If everyone rolls up their sleeves and the work is well planned, it is conceivable that returning the cathedral to a place of worship within five years will not be an impossible feat,” he told The Guardian. “Obviously, the area around the cathedral will be far from finished, and perhaps the spire will not be completed, but the cathedral will once again be a place of worship and this is our aim.”

& We Cannot Wait to See Notre Dame Restored to her Former Glory