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Thread: Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is on fire, major damage expected

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    Exclamation Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is on fire, major damage expected

    A historic building survived centuries until now.

    https://www.wbur.org/npr/713525879/p...dral-in-flames
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    Additional film footage from CNN, fire appears to be severe.

    https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/...ire/index.html
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    Roof has collapsed, one tower has fallen; fire began in scaffolding amid refurbishment project
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    Watching it on CNN. Wow one of the marvels of the medieval world going up in flames.
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    Saw Notre Dame and walked around in it with my first wife, c. 1980.

    Saw WTC in NYC with my second wife, c. 1990s.

    Not going anywhere with my third wife. Staying home.
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    Fire has spread through entire cathedral, end to end, uncontrolled. Live video feed here. 850 years of history, gone.

    https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/...ire/index.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Roof has collapsed, one tower has fallen; fire began in scaffolding amid refurbishment project
    The two towers at the front of the cathedral are standing (at least at the moment); it was the spire that collapsed.
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    The spire was raised in the 19th century and replaced an earlier work.

    The Flèche or Spire of the Cathedral, which was destroyed in the April 2019 fire,[21] was located over the transept and altar. The original spire was constructed in the 13th century, probably between 1220 and 1230. It was battered, weakened and bent by the wind over five centuries, and finally was removed in 1786. During the 19th century restoration, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc decided to recreate it, making a new version of oak covered with lead. The entire spire weighed 750 tons. Following Viollet-le-Duc's plans, the spire was surrounded by copper statues of the twelve Apostles, in four groups of three, one group at each point of the compass. Each of the four groups were preceded by an animal symbolising one of the four evangelists: a steer for Saint Luke, a lion for Saint Mark, an eagle for Saint John and an angel for Saint Matthew. Prior to the spire's collapse, all of the statues looked at Paris, except one; the statue of Saint Thomas, the patron saint of architects, looked at the spire, and had the features of Viollet-le-Duc.
    The destruction is horribly tragic and I expect we all want to know what, if any, restoration can be done for this beautiful cathedral.

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    Hopefully there is no loss of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    Following Viollet-le-Duc's plans, the spire was surrounded by copper statues of the twelve Apostles, in four groups of three, one group at each point of the compass. Each of the four groups were preceded by an animal symbolising one of the four evangelists: a steer for Saint Luke, a lion for Saint Mark, an eagle for Saint John and an angel for Saint Matthew. Prior to the spire's collapse, all of the statues looked at Paris, except one; the statue of Saint Thomas, the patron saint of architects, looked at the spire, and had the features of Viollet-le-Duc.
    Interestingly, the statues were removed a couple of weeks ago as part of the restoration work that was going on, so that they could get some renovation. So they are safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    The two towers at the front of the cathedral are standing (at least at the moment); it was the spire that collapsed.
    CNBC reports: "As of Monday afternoon, the spire of the cathedral had fallen, and the fire had spread to one of its iconic rectangular towers."

    I remember being inside the cathedral, and marveling at how huge it was.
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    I've only seen it from the outside. I'm used to being around quite a few cathedrals (living in Europe...); the Notre Dame is quite huge indeed. I didn't know it was that old (construction started in 1163! ...And took 2 centuries.).

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    I woke up this morning to heart this horrible news on the radio. We have been inside it twice - 1976 & 2011 - but it was so crowded that it was hard to get a quiet long look at any particular part. I am really saddened by the, apparent, loss of the beautiful Rose Windows.

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    At least the glass in one of the higher (smaller) rose windows is destroyed as flames went through it; for the large lower rose windows it's not clear at the moment. They might be OK. For all rose windows, the stone structure seems (largely) OK. The glass-in-lead can be remade, we have capable artisans. Of course it will no longer be actual 13th century glass, but the result will be similar or identical if desired.

    All in all, the damage does not seem extreme. Ignoring the sphire, the view from the ground outside will not be all that different from before the fire. Also inside, it's not like it's one black mess. Pictures showed candles which hadn't melted, pillars which were still white, wooden decoration intact in large portions of the cathedral. Other portions were worse. The main thing is the roof structure which is almost completely gone. It will all be renovated, it will take time but as it seems, one day we (well, not necessarily "we") will be celebrating 1000 years of Notre Dame.

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    many years ago I ventured up toward the amazing "forest" of oak beams in the roof, many of them 19th century replacements. The spire was also from that time I hear now on the news. Three rose windows intact.
    I wonder if it will be decided to rebuild exactly. Commentators are speculating. These catastrophes often have opportunities for reinterpretation as well as decades of work for specialists. I remember when Uppark (mansion in UK) caught fire from a stray flame torch in the roof. It was restored by an army of such dedicated experts, Windsor chapel too. I think it will be seen as a pivotal event in Paris well beyond the historically important flying buttresses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    ... Not going anywhere ... Staying home.
    And we thank you for your support.

    It looks like the main structure will survive. The rest can be rebuilt. (This was done in the early 19th century. It's actually why the roof and spire failed. The architect chose to use original materials - flammable wood - instead of using steel beams for support.) So far over $330 million has been pledged by private donors.

    The treasury in the cathedral was (mostly) saved by volunteers. They formed a human chain to remove the artifacts.

    The investigators are saying it was probably an accident, the result of ongoing restoration work. Not surprised. I've been around a lot of construction projects. After "tripping" and "foreign object in the eye" the most common incident was "scaffold fire."
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    Scaffolding fire? I wouldn't want to be that scaffy company right now.

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    A friend of a friend was going on about how it wasn't really a tragedy, because reasons. He ended up getting unfriended by the person I actually knew, who was in no mood to play political games over the destruction of nearly a thousand years of art, architecture, and history. Consensus was that if the Algerian guy in the group wasn't going to call it a symbol of French imperialism and was grieving, this guy didn't have a leg to stand on.

    I also found out that two people I knew independently made decisions in high school, about ten or fifteen years apart, not to go to Paris and are now deeply regretting it.
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    Paris is beautiful and filthy/trashy all at once. It's like a joke because it's true and everyone says it. Still, I would love to go back and see the Louvre... wait, no, I can't do that, it will burn down. I'M NOT GOING! IT'S OKAY!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I also found out that two people I knew independently made decisions in high school, about ten or fifteen years apart, not to go to Paris and are now deeply regretting it.
    I lived in Paris in 1984-85 for 10 months, visited it again in about 2004 for work, and went back for a vacation in 2013 with my wife. Each time I've visited Notre Dame (many times in 84-85). I've gotten a little teary at times over this tragedy, but I also found the response very moving, such as the people singing hymns around the cathedral (and I am not a religious person). I suspect she will be restored to her full glory, but I also suspect it might not be in my lifetime; this work could take decades. Even if I go back to Paris, I might never go inside her again.
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    I live close to Paris by US standards (I live in Paris by Australian standards). I've been to Paris multiple times, also for purely tourist reasons. You can perfectly enjoy Paris without going inside the Notre Dame, in fact that is what I did as it was too crowded. I also didn't ascend the Eifel tower for the same reason. And I didn't visit the Louvre. You can spend a long time just marveling at those buildings from the outside, discovering all their details. And even today, right after the fire, you could do that at Notre Dame very similar as you would have been able to do that just before the fire. The roof isn't very visible from ground level anyway. So your Paris experience will not suffer from a slight hiccup inside Notre Dame.

    Of course, if you have the time and feel so inclined, it is a magnificent experience to visit the insides of the Louvre, Notre Dame, Eifel tower. But Paris has so much to offer that you can always find an alternative. Louvre? Musée d'Orsay. Notre Dame? Sacre Coeur. Eifel Tower? OK no real alternative there. Even Bruce Springsteen knew that. However, if you can't go up the Eifel Tower, go right under it and look up. You'll see less Paris but more Tower, and really appreciate its size.

    PS a bold claim was just made to rebuild Notre Dame in 5 years and even more beautiful than before, so if you wait a tiny bit to visit Paris, it'll be as good as ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    PS a bold claim was just made to rebuild Notre Dame in 5 years and even more beautiful than before, so if you wait a tiny bit to visit Paris, it'll be as good as ever.
    And fifty times as crowded as it was before. It will still be worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Even if I go back to Paris, I might never go inside her again.
    Because of the crowds.
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    I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the wooden pews survived as did much of the stained glass behind the nave in the rear of the cathedral. I was expecting near-total devastation inside but the image or two that I've seen shows that the sheer size of the structure was key to its preservation.

    https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxne....jpg?ve=1&tl=1

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    All I really wanted was for the rose windows to survive. Those were gorgeous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    You can perfectly enjoy Paris without going inside the Notre Dame,
    I have no disagreement with that. Paris is wonderful and it most certainly worth a visit for many, many things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the wooden pews survived as did much of the stained glass behind the nave in the rear of the cathedral. I was expecting near-total devastation inside but the image or two that I've seen shows that the sheer size of the structure was key to its preservation.

    https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxne....jpg?ve=1&tl=1
    The size, and the hefty ceiling below the wooden roof structure. While the cathedral was an absolute torch on top, you could perfectly well be inside it and basically not even notice the fire (before the spire fell down and punctured the ceiling, of course).

    A very similar situation happened in 1968 when during the night the roof of the Saint-Paul church of Antwerp burned. Being one of the main churches of Antwerp (there is of course the cathedral as well), it contained many works of art including Van Dyck, Jordaens and three Rubens. In fact, it used to have over 30 ceiling paintings by Rubens but those got destroyed in another fire a few centuries before. Anyway, back to 1968. The roof is ablaze, the priest panics. No people are inside the church, but he is devastated by the thought of all the art being lost. At that time of the night and in that part of the city, you basically find two kinds of people: students (quite some art students), and people who offer nightly services of various nature to students. All of them stormed into the church in a way unseen since the French Revolution, the priest smart enough not to object against anyone particular's precense in a holy place. The group removed as many art pieces as they could as quickly and safely as they could. Forget white gloves and bubble wrap; many art works were mounted very firmly against the walls and pilars so they had to resort to using military shovels to pry some works off the walls and use knives to cut some (large) works out of their frames. One of the main paintings was an absolutely huge painting by Cornelis Cels (most wall carpets are smaller than that one!) which they removed as only the cloth from huge ladders. In the end nobody got hurt, and almost all art was saved with relatively minor damage. And nothing got stolen.

    I'll link to some pictures of the event -the art saving, not so much the fire itself- here:
    https://gvacdn.akamaized.net/Assets/...5&maxwidth=700
    https://gvacdn.akamaized.net/Assets/...5&maxwidth=700
    https://images4.persgroep.net/rcs/aV...b2&quality=0.8
    http://images.memorix.nl/naa/thumb/5...c56ed507eb.jpg
    https://archive.is/9jt2Y/a8f363a7f07...c8122a0986.JPG
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2019-Apr-16 at 09:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Saw Notre Dame and walked around in it with my first wife, c. 1980.

    Saw WTC in NYC with my second wife, c. 1990s.

    Not going anywhere with my third wife. Staying home.
    Notre Dame burned about 40 years after your visit, and the WTC was attacked about ten --- the reaction seems a bit delayed. Is the volcano in Edinburgh acting up? You may have been there sometime in the past decade or so
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2019-Apr-16 at 09:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Notre Dame burned about 40 years after your visit, and the WTC was attacked about ten --- the reaction seems a bit delayed. Is the volcano in Edinburgh acting up? You may have been there sometime in the past decade or so
    I was in Edinburgh about, um, 1980 or so. So there will be a volcano.
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    Looking at the latest photos the damage, while still devastating, seems not to be as bad as I originally feared. I am especially pleased that many of the stained glass windows do appear to have survived. They will have to be surveyed for a full assessment but it does appear to be a better result that appeared certain at the start.

    The argument is now about how much restoration work will change the historic nature of the building. I have no worries about artisans being able to replicate the detail of much of the structure .A walk around Dresden can show how good restoration work can look. However, the BBC has reported that a big concern is how to replace the huge roof timbers due to the depredation of Europe's forests.

    And yes, there is much to see in Paris without visiting the Cathedral.

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    Two options for the roof if you cannot or do not want to cut down huge trees:

    -glued timber. In fact, a Belgian company was already asked to create a bunch of 20m*1.2m glued timbers ASAP to support the weakened north facade.
    -other material. After the Saint Paul church roof burned down in 1968 (see above), it was replaced with a concrete structure. As there is a ceiling below and roof cover above, it can be made absolutely invisible while improving the fire safety of the building. Sure it's not exactly 12th century building technique, but half a city burning down was very 12th century and we're not aiming for that anymore.

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