Honoring the Burnt Beauty: Visiting the Notre Dame Post-Fire

Honoring the Burnt Beauty: Visiting the Notre Dame Post-Fire

Neha Sunkara '21, Food Editor

Notre Dame, an icon of a building to all people around the world. It is one of the largest tourist sites for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Built in the 1100s to 1300s and consecrated to the Virgin Mary, it holds a great importance to people around the world, as an awe-inspiring piece of architecture and as a cathedral for Catholics. The news of this magnificent 850-year-old structure burning in a fire struck at the hearts of many, including myself.

The Notre Dame was always one of the buildings on top of my list of places to visit. People always spoke of it magnificence, and I wanted to see it for myself. As I received the news of its burning, I felt my hope of seeing it start to crumble. I watched in shock as a newscaster emotionally explained what had happened: Notre Dame’s spire and roof were burned away by a massive fire that went on for hours and let out a black cloud of smoke. I saw a video that showed the spire of Notre Dame falling in flames and at once, I realized that it would take a while to fix Notre Dame and that visitors would not be allowed in. I knew I was visiting Europe over the summer, so I begged my dad to let me visit Notre Dame, even though it was damaged. I wanted to prove to myself that it was still standing.

On our second day in Paris, we went to see the cathedral. As soon as I turned the corner into the square, I saw it. Notre Dame. Giant, gothic, and grand. I felt tears arise as I walked around it, taking in the state that it’s in. Surrounded by yellow construction vehicles and held together by wood stabilizers, Notre Dame emitted a damaged vibe while its beauty still shined through. As I gazed up at it in awe, I could not help but wonder how beautiful it must have looked before the fire. It started to rain, but I stayed there, staring at Notre Dame, taking it in, trying to memorize how it looked. As I left, it stood gloomily but radiated its magnificence. 

An important lesson that Notre Dame taught me is to stay strong, even through tough times, as the cathedral did. It will be rebuilt, and though it may not be the same, Notre Dame still stands as a symbol of hope for all.