A couple of nights ago I watched a documentary about the fire in Notre Dame on Swedish Television. I imagine that many of us remember hearing about it on the news. The first thing in my mind was; It cant be. It is Notre Dame – she can’t be on fire. But she could. She burned – and touched the heart of millions of people all over the world.
I have visited Notre Dame in Paris three times. The first back in 1994, the second twenty years later in 2004 and the third in 2017. For me the old Cathedral has been more of a historic landmark and a crowded tourist attraction on the “must see list” of Paris. I didn’t fully understand what the old lady stood for for millions of people. Not until now.
When I saw how Paris cried as the smoke rose over the city, the importance of the cathedral started to be clear for me. It was not only Paris that cried – the reactions came from all over the world. Notre Dame clearly was more than a “must see” landmark. It really was the Lady of us all.
On the documentary we could see how the firefighters risked their lives to save the Lady. If the two towers were lost to the fire – the entire cathedral probably would have been lost. The decision to try and save the towers was made by the French President him self – and the firefighters didn’t hesitate to do the job.
Finally the fire was under control and the towers were saved. A lot of the treasures from the cathedral were saved by brave people and collected in the Hôtel de Ville. The President promised to rebuild the cathedral in five years. I suppose the Corona-Pandemic can affect that plan to be put forward a bit. But the cathedral will no doubt stand proud again, ready for my fourth visit.
The next time I visit Notre Dame with my camera, the cathedral will mean something else for me. It is a symbol of hope for the world. It clearly mean som much more to a lot of people, than I could ever imagine.
The pictures in this post is from my 2017 visit. Taken with my first Leica M6, a Zeiss lens and a roll of Tri-X.