I was saddened to hear about the fire that devastated Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France today. The Cathedral was an iconic structure in that city for centuries. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1163 AD, and it was considered officially completed in 1345 AD.
In July 1996 I had the opportunity to attend a three week study abroad program in London, England, followed by a ten day trip across the European continent. The major stops on the tour were Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam.
I was only in Paris for three days. Our group attempted to see as much of that beautiful city in that short period as possible. The tour guide made some, um, unusual choices, such as spending barely half an hour at the world famous Louvre Museum, but later that day going to a perfume factory for a two hour tour. As one of the ladies in our group sarcastically muttered, “Where are the priorities?!?”
Nevertheless, despite the breakneck speed and a couple of questionable choices of stops, for the most part it was a memorable visit. Fortunately one of the places we visited was Notre Dame Cathedral.
I am not a religious person, to say the least. (I consider myself spiritual, and I believe faith is a matter best left up to the individual.) However, I readily acknowledge that Notre Dame Cathedral was an incredibly beautiful building, a stunning work of art and architecture. The devastation of the building is a cultural, historical and artistic tragedy. I hope France will be able to rebuild it.
Here are the photos I took of the Cathedral on that trip. I was told this was the coldest summer in Europe in 20 years, which is why it looks like the middle of winter instead of in late July. Grey, overcast skies aside, I think the beauty of the Cathedral is apparent. I’m grateful I had an opportunity to see it in person.