If you’ve ever been to Paris, chances are you have been to Notre Dame, the massive cathedral and tourist destination in the French capital. And that’s why the shock and sadness over Monday’s fire reverberated well beyond the banks of the Seine and Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron summed it up well when he said, “I am sad tonight to see this part of all of us burn.”
After seeing images of France’s most famous church in flames, many travelers –celebrities included – expressed sadness and shared memories of their visit on social media:
“Heartbreaking. Imagine the faith of the people who built this great stone wonder,” said travel writer Rick Steves. “They broke ground in 1163 with the hope that someday their great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren might attend the dedication Mass – 200 years later.”
“So much history collapsing right before our eyes. Heartbroken for Notre-Dame and Paris,” wrote singer Dua Lipa.
“The last and only time I’ve been to Notre Dame was December 2017,” @BobbyGaffey captioned a photo of one of the stained-glass installations known as the rose windows. “Even in the dim afternoon light of a Parisian winter, I knew the place and its glass was an artistic, architectural, historical and spiritual treasure. If you’re the praying sort, pray for this glass.”
“Just spent a week in Paris and took a tour of the top of Notre Dame,” @DP_Brauchle wrote, sharing a photo scaffolding and renovation taken on April 6.
Terrible fire’: Famed Notre Dame cathedral ablaze in Paris
“Such a terrible thing to happen during Holy Week,” lamented @Ticky983.
“To say I’m devastated is an understatement,” wrote Instagram user brittany__charles. “Notre-Dame is what made me fall in love with the beautiful city of Paris. Please go travel the world and see these beautiful works of art before it is too late.”
“I’m praying they save the #NotreDame tonight. Such a glorious building,” geminatrix wrote on Instagram, captioning a sunset photo of the cathedral taken last year. “I remember very clearly after some afternoon rain I was walking along the banks of the Siene when the clouds broke apart to this glorious orange sunset. I ran as fast as I could with my little Sony A600, no tripod or filter. Just the camera and the magnificent Cathedral.”
“This is absolutely horrible,” wrote @a_towers. “One of the most amazing memories of my life was singing in the Notre Dame Cathedral with my Honors choir when we visited for a Paris/London tour in high school. We got to see the whole place and it was just beautiful.”
“850 years and survived two world wars. What a huge history and heritage lost to fire,” @louis_endr lamented on Twitter.
“Construction on Notre Dame started in the 12th century – it isn’t just a building – it’s history, it’s beautiful architecture and a place of worship,” @darlinmatty wrote on Twitter. “It’s heartbreaking to hear about the fire within such an old, beautiful cathedral.”
“Watching Notre Dame burn makes me feel the way I felt diving on a bleached and dead hunk of the Great Barrier Reef,” wrote @BillMcKibben. “Beauty and meaning can be so vulnerable — not to be taken for granted, ever”
@JerrellZod said he hoped the organizations charged with maintaining historic sites like Notre Dame take notice and take action after what happened in Paris.
“A structure that is over 800 years old burning. A city like Paris doesn’t have firefighting Choppers?” he wrote. “I hope countries with ‘World historic sites’ have (a) plan. Because this can happen anywhere.”
The cause was unknown, but officials said it could be linked to the $6.8 million renovation work being done around the attic located at the rear of the nearly-1,000-year-old building.
The damage includes the collapse of the roof loss of the spire, which had been located on the roof over the altar.
@ppdurastanti remained hopeful, citing past restorations following World War II.
“… Many churches were damaged or razed all over Europe during WW2. They were repaired, rebuilt. This will be no exception. We will rebuild.”
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