Notre Dame Paris — A Symbol of Hope

posted by Sharon April 10, 2020 22 Comments
Notre Dame

Notre Dame stands in the middle of the city on the island where Paris was born. It’s seen centuries of sunrises and sunsets and generations of people have walked in its shadow. On April 15, 2019, fire tore through Notre Dame. Heartbreaking video filled the news with scenes of the roofing ablaze, giant clouds of dark smoke, and most terrible of all, the historic steeple collapsing and falling to ruin.Restoration efforts began shortly after the fire and continue today, with scientists and restorers working diligently to rebuild this treasured cathedral.

A notable and heartwarming event took place at Notre Dame on Good Friday, April 10, 2020. A year after the tragedy, church officials and musicians held a service under the open roof, attended by only seven people. In this time of lockdown from COVID-19, a large group meeting was out of the question. And the cathedral is still a long way from opening again. But small and private as it was, this Holy Week service aimed to show the world that fire and disease and hardship cannot quench hope. The Archbishop said it this way: “A year ago, the cathedral was destroyed. Today the country is ravaged by a pandemic. There’s always a message of hope, and this celebration at the heart of the cathedral will be the sign of our hope.”

Notre Dame Before the Fire

In my trips to Paris, I enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to go to Notre Dame. Here are photos from my visits. Notre Dame doesn’t look like this today, but I want to share with you its former beauty.

Notre Dame in Paris is a French Gothic cathedral built between 1160 and 1260. The two towers give Notre Dame its recognizable look. They were the tallest structures in the city until the arrival in 1889 of the Eiffel Tower.

Notre Dame fell victim to the French Revolution in the 1790s. Its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. The French, inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, later decided to restore the grand building. More recently, in the 1960s, the facade of the building was cleaned. Centuries of grime and soot came off, revealing the original color. Further restoration took place at the end of the 1900s to ready the cathedral for the new millennium. The many steeples, graceful arches, sculptures, and gargoyles are amazing from all angles.Notre Dame Paris gargoylesNotre Dame Paris Notre Dame ParisParis Notre Dame

The main spire weighed 750 tons. As the fire claimed about two-thirds of the roof, support for the spire weakened and it fell.Notre Dame Paris spire

Spire Notre DameFlying buttresses help support the walls of Notre Dame and are visible from the back. No one knows for sure when the original flying buttresses were first added, but they were in place by the end of the 13th century. By carrying so much weight, they allow for higher walls and more windows.Notre Dame Paris flying buttresses

The Iconic Towers Stand Tall

The front of the cathedral remains standing. Members of the Paris Fire Brigade fought tirelessly to save what they could. It’s said to be a miracle that they were able to contain the fire before it reached these twin towers.Notre Dame towers

The entrance appears to be intact. Above the doors are intricate sculptures of the last judgment and the 12 apostles.Notre Dame ParisParis Notre Dame

The rose window and other stained glass survived the fire, partly due to the careful actions of the fire brigade. Many of the relics inside the cathedral also were saved.

The Restoration Continues

On my last trip to Paris, I walked along the Seine toward Notre Dame. I was anxious to see what Notre Dame looks like after the fire. A quick glance showed the facade looking no different.Notre Dame Paris

Then I glimpsed the scaffolding behind the façade and the illusion of an undamaged landmark disappeared.Notre Dame Paris

You can’t get near Notre Dame now, as it’s blocked off and guarded during the restoration. But the grand old church still stands, and it will be repaired.Notre Dame Paris

A Symbol of Hope

As the sun shines on the front of Notre Dame, the beauty of this symbol of Paris glows undiminished. Whether Notre Dame hosts crowds of hundreds or only seven, it will continue to offer light for this dark time and hope for the future.Notre Dame Cathedral

FOR MORE OF PARIS, HEAD TO THESE POSTS

Tips for Your First Trip to Paris

Climbing Up Into the Eiffel Tower

Exploring the Rodin Museum

5 Reasons to Visit Luxembourg Gardens

Paris Gardens to Enjoy

The D’Orsay Museum in Paris

A Walk in the Latin Quarter

 

Linking up with Image-in-ing, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Wanderful Wednesday.

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22 Comments

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Shannon April 11, 2020 at 6:39 am

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post! Notre Dame is so stunning and such a grand symbol of hope. No matter what is going on in this world, we can always have hope! Beautiful photos!!

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Emma April 11, 2020 at 7:38 am

We are looking at going to Paris once everything has blown over! This is such a great post!

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Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin April 11, 2020 at 7:46 am

I so hope to see this in person one day!

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Cecilie April 11, 2020 at 8:24 am

What a beautiful post.
Has it already been a year since the fire? How time flies. Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur are my favorite churches/landmarks in Paris. I’m happy they managed to mark the day even though only 7 people were allowed to participate.
Thank you for the update on this beautiful place, and lovely pictures by the way.

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roshni April 11, 2020 at 8:48 am

such a beautiful and iconic building

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Bettina April 11, 2020 at 9:51 am

I absolutely loved this post! It’s such a wonderful building and what happened last year was devastating! I’m so happy we can use it as a symbol of hope now!

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Francesca April 11, 2020 at 11:06 am

What a lovely idea that Notre Dame is a symbol of hope and that one day it will rise from the ashes just like we will after the pandemic.

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Alexandra Booze April 11, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Oh Notre Dame holds such a special place in my heart! It was the first church my mom and I visited on our first trip abroad a few years ago. I am so glad it’s getting attention again after the fire. It’s a truly magical place!

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Rae April 11, 2020 at 4:01 pm

I always love travel articles with tons of photos, and these are beautiful captures of Notre Dame. Thanks for sharing this – there’s so much good information in here I didn’t know about. It’s heart-warming to learn about the effort to hold a service, knowing that there couldn’t be a crowd to enjoy it. (I also had no idea that the Hunchback of Notre Dame played a role in inspiring the restoration of the building.)

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Lynne Nieman April 11, 2020 at 4:48 pm

I was in Paris at the end of January this year. My first trip to Paris was in June 2008 and the first place I went to was Notre Dame. It saddened me to not get near it this trip, to see the scaffolding. But I agree, Sharon, it’s a symbol of hope. And I do think they will work as quickly as possible to restore it. It’s so beautiful and such a symbol of Paris.

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Loredana April 12, 2020 at 3:04 am

Notre Dame, and Paris in general, are beautiful places to visit! 🙂

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Lucile April 12, 2020 at 4:55 am

I am originally from Paris and always love passing by Notre Dame 🙂

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Merryl April 12, 2020 at 7:32 am

This is such a lovely post! Made me nostalgic about my trip to Paris a few years back. Love all your pictures!

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Melissa April 12, 2020 at 9:05 am

Notre Dame is such an iconic building in Paris – I walk by it everytime I visit the city!

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Kelleyn April 12, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Great photos! I have been there a couple of times. Hoping to go there this summer if things open up with travel.

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Francesca April 12, 2020 at 4:50 pm

I’ve always loved the Notre Dame. I was super anxious to see what it was going to look like post fire on my trip to France!

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Junieper/Jesh April 12, 2020 at 4:59 pm

A heartwarming post, Sharon! Some of the images you share her show you have visited after the fire. Wow, that will take a long time before it will be totally renovated! Was already wondering when we at All Seasons would hear from you again. I understand you have a traveling blog, but there should be some other subjects you’re interested in to blog about? Hope you’ll be struck with creativity this week! We miss your posts! I could be about nature nearby, interior decorating, books, etc., whatever draws your fancy:) Hope you had a good Easter:) Have an inspiring upcoming week, Jesh

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Brittany April 13, 2020 at 5:10 am

I was fortunate to see it in its original state before the fire a couple of years ago. I love how tragedies can also inspire hope and change! Thanks for this post!

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup April 13, 2020 at 7:08 am

Such an amazing structure!

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Yukti Agrawal April 14, 2020 at 12:18 pm

I visited Paris a couple of years ago and loved the splendid architecture of Notre Dame.When I heard about recent fire, it really shocked me. But as you this is a symbol of hope, it will soon revive in its beautiful form.

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Sarah | Travel for a Living April 18, 2020 at 12:35 am

Beautifully written. Notre Dame is such an icon and powerful building. Similar to you, I was surprised how ‘normal’ it looked as I approached it from the front. However, once you carry on a few steps, you see the scaffolding and you realise it will never be the same. Heartbreaking.

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Chris May 30, 2020 at 5:38 am

Was lucky enough to visit Notre Dame before the fire, an amazing building in a beautiful city. Can’t wait to go back – had plans for June but dont think that will happen at the moment

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