Notre Dame de Paris | 2009

After touching down at Chicago O’Hare airport I switched on my cellphone to check for latest e-mails and news. The first push notification that popped up on the screen was that Notre Dame was ablaze, together with one of those horrific images that the whole world had to endure yesterday.

It seems the Paris firefighters did a fantastic job saving at least the structure of that iconic symbol of christianity and demonstration of what man can create. But the losses to art and history will still be insurmountable.

There will be a rebuilding effort to the building that took more than two hundred years to built, stood more than 800 years and survived the French Revolution and two World Wars. But it might might take very well decades to fully restore this magnificent cathedral to its full glory. And I hope to live to one day walk down once more the central aisle and feel the awe I always felt when visiting this place of god, art, history and light.

As I’m on a business trip and traveling light, I didn’t bring the USB drive with my full photo library. The only photo of Notre Dame I was able to pull was the one I uploaded ten years ago to my Flickr account (that I really don’t use anymore but that is still there). I was passing through Paris on yet another business trip, and while walking from the hotel to the law firm for a negotiation meeting, we passed Notre Dame on that cold January morning and I snapped that image with the Panasonic TZ-5 I was using back then as compact travel camera. The magnificent roof, the spire, and most likely also the beautiful stained glass windows are no more.

When back home on the Easter weekend I will look through all my old images from my visits to Notre Dame and post a proper tribute to this Cathedral of Light, that hopefully will rise again from the ashes.

Have a great Tuesday!


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44 thoughts on “Heartbroken

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  1. This was very sad. I only saw Notre Dame once, from a distance but how can something it took so long to construct ever be the same again. York Minster, an ancient and iconic cathedral here in Yorkshire was ravaged by fire in the 80’s and is still under reconstruction.

    1. You are so right, Jill, reconstruction will take decades not years. And some things can’t be replaced, like the roof construction made from 300 year old oak trees. Those trees don’t exist anymore in our times. Long gone. Will be a steel roof for sure.

  2. It was so sad to see. I am down at the beach and was stunned when I heard the news. I feel so lucky to have had a chance to see it, but really was hoping to see it again since our visit was brief because my daughter didn’t feel well.

    1. Let’s cherish the memories and keep fingers crossed they can eventually rebuild it! I sure hope to be able to visit once more in my lifetime! Happy Easter weekend! Marcus

  3. Very, very sad. The fire and the building’s survival could be a metaphor for these times in which we live. Though with much destruction, the grand building has survived, and so will we. Although it will never be the same, I do hope the cathedral can be rebuilt to its former magnificence, and in our lifetimes. I never got to see Notre Dame, but have a friend who just visited two weeks ago. It’s amazing how deeply one can feel connected to a building that one has never seen.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful words, Marsi! I wish you get to see it one day after the rebuilding! Of all the buildings I’ve seen this is the most beautiful, without doubt! Happy Easter! Marcus

  4. It was horrible watching it Marcus, but she will raise again and not for the first time, those medieval builders knew a thing or two about buildings. When we visited Paris in Dec 2018, the building was closed due to the riots so we couldn’t visit, although I have lots of photos of the city on fire that weekend, but of a different kind, but just as horrible. Lynne

  5. Like many was devastated to see Notre Dame ablaze and brought back many memories of visiting and appreciating the history and ifs historical significance. Yet this will be just an another chapter to Notre Dame’s history and that of France for many that will proceed us. Thanks for the images.

  6. I agree with you that the firefighters did a fantastic job, Marcus. When I saw the size of that horrific fireball, and the spire’s collapse, I thought the entire cathedral would soon follow. But somehow they saved the shell — those stones that have witnessed so many centuries of human emotion and hope. She will rise again, and will be more cherished than ever, because now we know how it feels to have almost lost her.

    1. So do I, Susan, and I’m glad I took my kids to see this amazing building as well. Our trip up those towers really made memories. They talk about a 5 year rebuild now. Let’s keep fingers crossed. Marcus

  7. This was devastating news and no rebuilding will ever replace all of the lost art damaged to fire and water!

  8. I was shocked to see this beautiful church ablaze. I hope the church will be rebuilt to full glory, for His glory. 🙏🏻

  9. Thank you for sharing this. We just happened to turn the TV on to the CBS special report as the flames took down the spire. Shocking to say the least. When I saw the scaffolding I thought of what might be the cause: a tragic lapse in judgement by one of the contractors. Time will tell…. I look forward to your sharing your tribute.

  10. Beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve never visited Notre Dame or Paris for that matter but one doesn’t have to visit to make sense of its symbolism. I guess many of us will revisit movies and books and, yes, images reminding of the place as it once was. Look forward to seeing more of your images! Oh, and enjoy Chicago!

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