Those watching the news last night were left dismayed at the sight of the Notre Dame cathedral being torn apart by flames.
The beautiful cathedral has stood proudly on the banks of the River Seine for over 800 years; an enduring source of light and inspiration for Parisians and visitors alike.
And so to see the magnificent structure engulfed by fire felt physically painful for many; a destruction of history and culture as well as brick and mortar. And when the gothic spire fell, tears of anguish fell in the streets of Paris.
In the light of day, things look more positive, despite the blackened and broken exterior. The fire has been put out and the scarred cathedral will heal in time, thanks to the courageous firefighters who risked their own lives to preserve this precious piece of French medieval history.
The spire and the roof have collapsed, but the stone structure and two iconic towers have, crucially, survived. Early photographs have also shown how at least one of the famed rose windows have survived.
There is hope where there could well have been simply complete devastation, and the people of France are now looking to rebuild.
President Emmanuel Macron has addressed his nation, pledging to bring Notre Dame back to its former glory within five years, stating:
We will rebuild Notre Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it,
It is up to us to change this disaster into an opportunity to come together, having deeply reflected on what we have been and what we have to be and become better than we are.
It is up to us to find the thread of our national project.
Today we unite in prayer with the people of France, as we wait for the sorrow inflicted by the serious damage to be transformed into hope with reconstruction. Holy Mary, Our Lady, pray for us. #NotreDame
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 16, 2019
Donations have already poured in for the rebuilding of ‘Our Lady’, with donors having already pledged more than €700 million, according to Reuters.
These donations have come from private businesses and local authorities as well as wealthy individuals.
French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault’s family and his luxury goods group, LVMH, have pledged €200 million, while Francois Henri Pinault – head of the Kering luxury goods company – have promised €100 million.
L’Oreal – alongside the Bettencourt Meyer family and the Bettencourt Schueller foundation – will donate €200 million, while oil company Total will give €100 million.
The City of Paris will donate €50 million, while tech giant Apple will be donating an unspecified sum.
— Axel Reinaud (@areinaud) April 16, 2019
Our thoughts are with the people of Paris as they look towards rebuilding this majestic cathedral.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.