The Notre Dame Fire and the Paris Phoenix


Part of our team lives in Paris and we cherish the city.

The notion of the iconic and beloved Notre Dame burning is a tragedy of the first order.

But Paris and its citizens will ensure that the Cathedral rises again.

Paris is a Phoenix bird after all.

The article by Michel Gurfinkiel published on April 15, 2019 captured the moment:

In emotional terms, the fire that destroyed Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris can be described as the 9/11 of France. No matter what the cause may turn out to be. Like New York, which even in periods of war was supposed to be immune from foreign attacks, Paris was supposed to be spared irretrievable catastrophes, either civilian or military.

That ended for New York in 2001. The last time the capital of France suffered wide range destruction was the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and 1871 and its revolutionary sequel, the Commune of Paris, which scorched the Royal Palace of Tuileries and of City Hall.

In 1918, the last year of World War I, German artillery did find its mark in Paris, most notably in the Marais district. Unlike London, Berlin, Warsaw, or Florence, Paris “did not burn” during World War II. The result was that most Parisians indulged throughout the second half of the 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st in the fallacy that their city was too beautiful, too “historical,” too much a part of Unesco’s World Heritage, to be struck.

Time and again, Parisians were reminded that things could go the other way, after all. There were riots, terrorist attacks, bombings. But Paris itself seemed to be immortal. People started to wake up for real after the Islamist killing spree of November 2015, at the Bataclan theatre and other places. More recently, there was a succession of frightening scenes in the wake of the recent Yellow Vests’ protest: the Arch of Triumph defaced, the Champs-Elysées’ shops and restaurants torched. And now, Notre-Dame was aflame.

From my window, I could see a pillar of black and reddish smoke rising above the roofs, a helicopter circling above the fire. The iron spire, a 19th century addition to the Gothic church, collapsed all of sudden — evincing gasps of horror not only in Paris but around the world. Much like the moment when Twin Towers of the World Trade Center suddenly came down. Today the whole of France, the whole world trembled as the scale of what was happening sunk in.

For the rest of the article, see the following: