Notre-Dame Cathedral is the very soul of Paris but so much more — it is a touchstone for all that is the best about the world, and a monument to the highest aspirations of artistic achievement that transcends religion and time. It has survived so much — from the French Revolution to Nazi occupation — to watch its devastation is excruciating.”
~Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters
Steve and I visited the Notre Dame Cathedral in September, 2011. Having loved ecclesiastical architecture since I studied it in Mr. Orr’s AP European History class in tenth grade, I was particularly keen to see the most iconic French Gothic cathedral in existence. I was awed by its beauty, its grace, and its historical significance, and I was in tears watching it be engulfed by flames today.
Notre Dame was – is – so much more than mere stones and mortar. I cherish Notre Dame as an example of the soaring heights that human ingenuity and spirit can achieve. From the news reports I have read, it appears that not all is lost, that the statuary, the art, and even the stained glass have been or could be recovered – I hope that’s true. But still, it breaks my heart to think that my children won’t be able to marvel at the gargoyles or at the ceiling arching high above them. And yet I know the people of Paris, and those of us in far-flung places around the world who love art and architecture, will rebuild.
Go look at the beauty in the world.