Notre-Dame was built from 1163 to 1345 and was the site of the crowning of Henry the IV of England as King of France in 1431 and the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804. Interest in the cathedral grew after the publication of Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris, published in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, in 1831, leading to a restoration project between 1844 and 1864 that included adding the cathedral's iconic spire that collapsed in the fire.
Rear of Notre-Dame from the left bank of the Seine
Notre-Dame front views from the left bank
Approaching the front entrance on Isle de la Cité
We pass by Notre-Dame on every trip to Paris, generally while walking from the right bank of the Seine to the left bank, often crossing over Isle de la Cité, the island in the Seine on which Notre-Dame is located, on our way to great restaurants near Place Saint-Michel or heading over to Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens) or the shops, cafes, and restaurants on Boulevard Saint-Michel.
Luckily, the stained glass windows, the organ, and many of the relics were saved, thanks to heroic efforts of the fire brigade to bring them out of the burning edifice, to be featured (we hope) in the new Notre-Dame that will arise from this tragedy.
In tribute to the incredible efforts of the Paris Fire Brigade (Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris), we want to share a video they made while putting out the fire and also an incredibly moving video of Parisians across the river from the fire praying and singing Ave Maria as the cathedral burns.
We look forward to the new Notre-Dame de Paris to arise from the ashes!