À quick update. I’m on the train going to Clermont-Ferrand for an overnight
I was watching the tv as was the world. Watching Notre Dame burn. I was first notified at 7:2 on my phone by the Washington Post of all things. They beat out AP, BBC, and my Parisien news. To this point, I had not turned on the TV so I had to find my instructions. I was glued to it for a bit then I decided to go see for myself. My first photo was tagged at 8:36. I couldn’t really see much as I was facing the two towers. You could see the arc of the water spraying on and in the building. Once even some shooting flames. The crowd was quiet. Hoping. Praying.
I had no problem getting close by bus. But when I decided to go home, most of the bus lines nearby were closed. Too much traffic. Too many people. I walked to the metro which was running with no issues.
Home again I sat and watched the TV. There was that nervous hour when the French minister said they weren’t sure they could save the towers. Then the screen flashes with Le structure est sauvé et préservé. Whew.
It’s not the first time this or any cathedral burned. I kept thinking about during the 1300s how they would have just watched. A bucket brigade against the fury of a fire… helpless
The pompiers (firefighters) used water from the Seine. They didn’t use aerial drops as the weight of the water dropping may have caused worse damage.
So you go into a cathedral and looked up to a vaulted ceiling. Bricks. Stones. But above that is the attic. Where you will find the wooden structure that holds up the roof. Imagine. Some or many of these beams are original. Old. Dry. Start them burning…
And then as they crumble in flames, the lead roof above melts and falls. I had thought that the weight would have pushed through the vaulted ceiling. But I saw photos last night released by the city of Paris that shows the vault intact above the altar. Thank you, God, Universe, pompiers, what or whoever.
The spire fell. Dramatic footage on YouTube. I didn’t care. The spire was put up in the 1800s. I’m the medieval purist.
I almost missed my train this morning as I asked the taxi to take me by her. From the front, almost normal but the spire is missing. Unsettling. It wasn’t possible to get close. The police has cordoned off the island, stopping pedestrians who are just lookylous. But I could see the north transept, smoke damaged. Windows clear. No stained glass. A wall basically standing by itself. Well. No. It looked that way because I couldn’t see the rest of the building. The walls are still intact. And some places the ceiling remains. But from my perspective at that moment, it looked alone.
A fund was started less than an hour into the fire for rebuilding. Today the BHV groupe promised €200 million. I heard someone else promised €100 million.
The very good thing is there is a school/association in Tours, France, dedicated to the medieval rebuilding and repair crafts.