The loss of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris today is an unspeakable tragedy. Having visited Paris for the first time last year, there aren’t words to describe this. It seems that the fire started from the restoration work going on there. I guess that it is not arson might be of some comfort; ultimately, nothing is going to last forever. But this only adds to the gigantic cultural losses the world has faced in the last 75 years. From World War II to the Cultural Revolution, the idiots burning down early Christian churches in Scandinavia, the Taliban and ISIS destroying cultural ruins in the Middle East, etc., we are losing our historical treasures at a very rapid rate. Climate change will only exacerbate this. It’s all just so incredibly sad. The facade of Notre Dame will likely remain; no fire could probably knock down those ancient stones. But the 800 year old stained glass is probably already gone, the spire is definitely gone, and the cultural treasures inside are no doubt lost. Given the importance of Notre Dame to French identity, I can easily imagine a reconstruction costing a lot of money and using skilled craftsmen to recreate the glass and the carvings inside. But it will never be the same.
Here’s a couple of photos I took last year at Notre Dame.