For most travellers, a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral is as necessary on a trip to Paris as seeing the Eiffel Tower or Arch de Triumph.
But the next time tourists lay eyes on the famous church, sadly, it won’t look anything like it once did, thanks to a savage fire that tore through the building yesterday (Monday) and into the night.
Watched by thousands of onlookers, the blaze destroyed a large part of Notre Dame’s roof as well as its spire, which collapsed in dramatic fashion.
But it could have been worse.
After attending the scene, French President Emmanuel Macron said “the worst had been avoided” and vowed to rebuild the cathedral.
“What happened tonight in Paris, in this cathedral, is a terrible event,” the president said in a speech, in which he also announced an international fundraising campaign to raise money for repairs.
“Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives ... So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.”
According to The Guardian, fire crews said the structure of the building along with the cathedral’s rectangular bell towers had been saved.
A marvel of Gothic architecture, the 850-year-old Notre Dame was also home to many historical treasures, but at least some of these appear to have also been spared by the fire, the ABC reported.
“The crown of thorns [of Jesus Christ], the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place," Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said.
On social media, French culture minister, Franck Riester, also posted photos of people loading art into vehicles.
Police said began accidentally and could be linked to restoration works at the cathedral.
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