Hope rises from the ashes of Notre Dame

Paris weeps: The cathedral took almost 200 years to build, but was ravaged in just nine hours.

Can France recover? For 855 years, Notre Dame Cathedral has watched over the city of Paris. The worst fire in its history has triggered an outpouring of shock and grief.

What’s happening

On Monday, a fire broke out at the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It destroyed the building’s spire and 800-year-old wooden roof.

Thanks to the heroic actions of firefighters, the stone exterior and bell towers were saved.

Outside on the streets, Parisians sung hymns, cried and prayed.

Find out more

Within hours, world leaders and public figures offered messages of support to France.

“Part of us is burning,” wrote French President Emmanuel Macron.

Notre Dame was built between 1163 and 1345.

It has played an important role in French history. Kings were crowned and married there. Notre Dame survived the French Revolution and the Second World War.

The roof was called “the forest” because each of its beams is carved from a different oak tree. Five thousand were used in total.

As Notre Dame burned, firefighters risked their lives to protect medieval artworks. One of the firefighters was seriously injured.

Macron has promised to rebuild Notre Dame. Some of France’s richest people have already pledged millions of euros to help.

Can France recover?

Some say…

It will be very hard. Millions of people have their own personal memories of the building and relationship with it. Notre Dame was a huge achievement and this is a huge loss not just for France, but all of humanity. Even if we rebuild what the fire destroyed, it will not have the same history and significance as before.

Others think…

Yes! For one thing, we should be grateful that many of the most precious relics were spared by the flames. Although it is sad, the cathedral will be rebuilt by a new generation of artists and architects, showing what humans are capable of when we come together and dedicate ourselves to a higher purpose. There is hope from the ashes.

You Decide

  1. Why are people so sad about Notre Dame burning down?

Activities

  1. Notre Dame was built in the Gothic architectural style, with elaborate stone spires and gargoyles. Design your own Gothic-style cathedral.

Some People Say...

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

Victor Hugo, author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

What do you think?

Word Watch

Notre Dame
This means “Our Lady” (a reference to the Virgin Mary) in French.
Exterior
The outside of a building.
French Revolution
Between 1789 and 1799, the French people rose up against the monarchy and beheaded King Louis XVI.
Medieval
A period roughly between the fifth and 15th centuries.
Significance
When something has deeper meaning than what appears on the surface.

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