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Cathedral of Notre-Dame Burns

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello
January 12, 2022
A view of a large stained-glass rose window at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris.
Svetlana Day/Dreamstime
One of the world's most beautiful cathedrals caught fire Monday evening, destroying the roof and part of the iconic spire as firefighters worked to save the Paris landmark.

The travel community is responding with disbelief at the news that a fire broke out on the medieval wooden roof of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, in Paris, on Monday evening.

FIREFIGHTERS STRUGGLE TO SAVE THE CATHEDRAL

The New York Times and other news sources report that part of the cathedral's iconic 315-foot spire has collapsed. A spokesman for the cathedral told the Times that as of this evening no injuries were reported, and Parisian fire department officials confirmed that report. The fire may have been caused by an ongoing construction and restoration project, but that has not been confirmed. More than 400 firefighters worked into the night to stop the blaze and save the cathedral from further damage.

Hours after the fire began, fire department officials announced that the most significant works of art, and religious relics such as the crown of thorns, inside the cathedral had been saved and that the main structure and two towers at the front of the building had been saved. UNESCO released a statement of support, saying it stands by France "to safeguard and restore this invaluable heritage." French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, "Thinking of all the Catholics and all the French people. Like all of our countrymen, I am sad tonight to see part of us burning."

FOLLOW #NOTREDAMEFIRE ON TWITTER TO LEARN MORE

For travelers with memories of visiting the City of Light and its 850-year-old cathedral (which attracts 14 million annual visitors), the damage to the roof, spire, and church interior is, of course, especially heartbreaking. The fire struck the storied church, which has survived centuries of warfare, plague, and civil unrest, at the start of Holy Week, when liturgical events such as Holy Thursday and Good Friday commemorate the Last Supper and the Passion, culminating in the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

For further updates from the BBC, CNN, and other news organizations on the ground in Paris, we suggest following the hashtag #notredamefire on Twitter.

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