Notre Dame Cathedral Hit By Major Fire

A major, destructive fire hits one of the most historic churches in the world.

In a blow to France, Catholicism, and history just as Holy Week begins, the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was hit by a major fire today that appears to be causing significant structural damage:

PARIS — A large fire broke out at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris on Monday evening, causing part of the historic church’s spire to collapse as the blaze spread along its roof.

André Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, said in a telephone interview that the cause of the fire remained unknown, and there was no immediate indication that anyone had been hurt.

“It’s not about the faith — Notre Dame is a symbol of France,” said Emmanuel Guary, a 31-year-old actor who was among a huge crowd amassed on the Rue Rivoli, on the Right Bank. Many had tears in their eyes.

After part of the spire collapsed, the fire appeared to spread across the rooftop, where the growing flames licked the sky and projected a yellow smoke over the horizon.

The fire alarm first went off around 6:30 p.m., Mr. Finot said, adding that the cathedral had been evacuated.

As the last rush of tourists were trying to get in for the day, the doors of Notre Dame were abruptly shut without explanation, witnesses said.

Within moments, tiny bits of white smoke started rising from the spire. Billowing out, the smoke started turning gray, then black, making it clear that a fire was growing inside the cathedral, which is currently covered in scaffolding. Soon, orange flames began punching out of the spire, quickly increasing in intensity.

The French police rushed in and started blowing whistles, telling everyone to move back, witnesses said. By then, the flames were towering, spilling out of multiple parts of the cathedral. Tourists and residents alike came to a standstill, pulling out their phones to call their loved ones. Older Parisians began to cry, lamenting how their national treasure was quickly being lost.

More from The Washington Post:

PARIS — The central spire of Notre Dame Cathedral collapsed on Monday as a massive fire spread through the building that has stood for more than 800 years at the heart of Paris.

Yellow clouds of smoke billowed into an otherwise perfect blue sky as orange flames assaulted the gargoyles and the belfry. As evening began to fall over the city, a gaping hole could be seen where the enormous vaulted roof once had been. 

The heat of the fire could be felt from across the River Seine as firefighters frantically pumped water from cranes. The city seemed to stand still as the fire raged, with thousands of passerby watching from the streets below. Many were in tears, silently filming the scenes on smartphones and broadcasting them across the globe.

The building, the cornerstone of which was laid in 1163, is the most visited monument in Paris, with more than 12 million people coming each year — nearly double the people who visit Eiffel Tower. Its intricate stone work, spires and flying buttresses make it one of the great masterpieces of architecture. 

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Notre-Dame of Paris preyed by the flames. The sorrow of an entire nation. Our thoughts with all Catholics and French people. Like all our compatriots, I’m sad tonight to see this part of ourselves burn.”

Donia Hammami, 35, a trade expert in Paris, ran to the scene from her gym nearby when she saw the reports of the blaze. She was in tears in the crowd, watching the cathedral burn.

“For me, this has been an inspiration for so many other churches in Europe from the 14th century onward, in the way it came up with a way to mirror more light,” Hammami said. “It’s been here for all those ages.”

“This is a historic moment for all of us, in the worst possible sense of the term,” she added.

President Trump tweeted his advice to Paris: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”

There have been several dramatic photos and videos posted on social media today of the fire, but perhaps the most dramatic and shocking have been those showing the Cathedral’s famous spire collapsing amid the flames which you can see in the tweets from Breaking News Feed and Patrick Galey of Agence-France Presse

While it’s obviously too early to speculate about a cause, the Cathedral has been undergoing major renovation work even as it remained open to tourists and worshipers. Given this, the most likely explanation is that the fire is somehow related to those renovation efforts. A complete answer, though, will take time.

In the meantime, this fire comes as Catholics in France and around the world begin the start of Holy Week, which started yesterday on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. An event like this at this time is particularly sad for Catholics worldwide and for the people of France.

The Notre Dame Cathedral is not just a French symbol, though, or even a Catholic one. It is perhaps one of the greatest construction marvels in history. It has stood for nearly 900 years and survived the French Revolution and Hitler. Even if you aren’t Catholic or religious, this is a sad day.

Update: There is some good news amid this tragedy:

At the same time, though, the structure itself is obviously going to suffer tremendous damage that will likely take years to repair. Additionally, the BBC reports that all of the stained glass in the cathedral has melted under the heat of the fire. The loss here is going to be immense and, in some sense, irreparable.

President Trump, meanwhile, had his own suggestion about how to put out the fire:

To which French authorities responded:

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Catholic Church, Religion, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. EddieInCA says:

    This is heartbreaking. No words. Even if it’s salvageable, it won’t be the same. This is a sad day.

  2. SenyorDave says:

    @EddieInCA: Agreed, just stunning to watch and think of the loss. They rebuild, and on the plus side they will be able to attract the best artisans throughout the world. BBC is reporting that virtually all the stained glass has melted. One would hope that something like that can be restored to its former glory.

  3. CSK says:

    This is a devastating loss not just to Roman Catholics but to everyone who cares about history, culture, and art.

  4. Kathy says:

    This is indeed tragic. It’s one more part of the cultural patrimony of humanity destroyed.

    Oh, I’m sure there will be attempts, perhaps successful, to rebuild and restore. It won’t be the first time. But it won’t be the same.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    First, and foremost…welcome back, Doug. Nice to see you posting again.

    I’m an atheist, but I’ve visited that building twice. Capital “A” Architecture, like this, sits at the nexus of Art, Science, and Philosophy. Buildings like this show what we are capable of as human beings. You do not have to be a religious person to be awed by the beauty of a place like this.
    Such a loss. I only hope it can be recovered.

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  6. Teve says:

    “Pete Buttigieg’s dad taught at Notre Dame! the day after he announced he wanted to be the first gay president, god set Notre Dame on fire! Wake up sheeple!!!!” -some internet preacher before the week is over, I bet.

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  7. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Too soon.

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  8. The Internet preachers barely consider Catholics to be Christian. I doubt they care.

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  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    Beauty subtracted from the world.

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  10. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    ·
    2h
    So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!

    I’m sure they keep 747 Supertankers loaded and ready to go over at Charles de Gaulle.

  11. Joe says:

    I am glad I got my kids there.

  12. Teve says:
  13. Teve says:

    Sécurité Civile Fr
    @SecCivileFrance

    Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.
    3:38 PM · Apr 15, 2019 ·

    even in the middle of this horrible disaster, the French take a moment to sneer at Trump. I respect that. À votre santé!

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  14. wr says:

    Literally in tears watching this…

  15. Kit says:

    I used to make a point of walking in whenever I passed by, but it’s been a couple of years now. The crowds… Notre Dame and the Pantheon, those were my architectural loves. What a loss.

  16. Grumpy realist says:

    Supposedly the next hour is the make-or-break hour to see if they can save the main building. Le Monde is covering this live.

  17. KM says:

    @Gustopher :
    Unfortunately not. The fire isn’t even out and ALREADY the nuts and haters are starting. Spencer tweeted out some nonsense about white nationalists needed to take this as a declaration of war and threads are starting to fill with trolls blaming this on Muslim immigrants or Rep. Omar for some reason (cuz Trumpkins, that’s why!).

    The world’s in tears over our history burning before our eyes and they’re already out there starting shit. We’re trying to understand the tragedy and they’ve got memes and conspiracies ready to go. We have less beauty now in this world and they’re running around to make it even uglier.

    It’s never too soon to not let people take advantage of your grief.

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  18. gVOR08 says:

    There was a fire in Cincinnati a few years ago. Guy lost his mansion and a classic car collection. Traditional slate over timber roof. The fire department said the fire got between the slate and the timbers and they couldn’t effectively get water on it.

  19. Teve says:

    .
    Quote Tweet

    Medievalists.net
    @Medievalists
    · 1h
    A priest from Notre Dame Cathedral reports that all the art work and the holy relics contained in the cathedral has been saved.

    It was under renovation so a lot of the artifacts have been moved out. So far most of what they’ve lost has been the roof that dates back to the 19th century and the spire.

  20. Franklin says:

    I gather there have been no injuries or deaths, and I hope it remains that way for the firefighters doing their best.

    This is very sad, but it reminds me of various times when historical artifacts and architecture have been destroyed intentionally, a recent example being ISIS in Syria. In that respect I hope this was just an accident as currently suspected. Not that it will save the landmark, but I’d hate this to be the act of some coward who could become (in)famous.

  21. PJ says:

    “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”

    Compare and contrast:

    Hillary Clinton:

    My heart goes out to Paris. Notre Dame is a symbol of our ability as human beings to unite for a higher purpose—to build breathtaking spaces for worship that no one person could have built on their own. I wish France strength and shared purpose as they grieve and rebuild.

    Barack Obama:

    Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.

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  22. KM says:

    @Teve :

    The windows.

    The glorious stained glass windows are gone. Even if the structure can be saved, that which filled it with light is lost.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.

    Further evidence that Pud is a complete moron.

  24. Matt says:

    @wr: Yeah I’m feeling pretty choked up. That place was beautiful when I visited many years ago. So the pictures almost physically hurt to look at.

  25. Kathy says:

    @PJ:

    Compare and contrast:

    Is it really fair to compare Trump to actual human beings?

  26. CSK says:

    The Paris police chief says the structure has been saved; the fire was prevented from spreading to the northern belfry.

  27. Teve says:

    Huh. I just learned that the roof was replaced in the 1800s because the hunchback story made it a tourist attraction and when tourists arrived it was dilapidated.

  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:
    I’m sure the roof itself was replaced in the 1800’s when Viollet-le-Duc restored the building, but I assume the timber frame itself was largely untouched from the 12th century. Perhaps it was supplemented in later years, but I’ll bet it was largely intact from almost 900 years ago.
    More here.
    https://www.cnn.com/style/article/nortre-dame-fire-oak-wood-trnd/index.html

  29. Stormy Dragon says:

    List of destroyed heritage

    Sadly, every monument on earth will some day be gone, and just a few decades later, most people won’t even remember it once existed. 800 years is a long life for a building.

  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    just a few decades later, most people won’t even remember it once existed

    That’s why Dennison puts his name on everything in big gold letters…his legacy.
    Pffft…..

  31. MikeSJ says:

    My wife and I would have lunch sitting in the park directly behind Notre Dame. It was amazingly beautiful there, I was always surprised we could just wander over, find an empty bench and take it all in.

    It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening now. A small bit of good news is it’s been reported that the main structure has been saved. I also understand a great deal of Notre Dame dates from the 19th century when it was extensively repaired, lots of it is not original, same thing is true of some of the stained glass.

    My hope is a stray billionaire would be willing to drop his or her net worth from say 10 billion to 9 billion and fully fund the reconstruction. Maybe this time with modern fire suppression systems in place….

  32. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That’s true. on the other hand, think of the lengths people have gone to in order to preserve historic sites. Like cutting up, moving, and reassembling the temple of Rameses II at Abu Simbel in Egypt, to protect it from the rising Nile due to the construction of the Aswan Dam.

    And think, too, of the very ancient monuments that have survived to this day. The Pyramids at Giza, for example, are about 4,500 years old. This menas they were about 2,500 years old when Cleopatra, the last Egyptian pharaoh, lived her life.

  33. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Sadly, every monument on earth will some day be gone, and just a few decades later, most people won’t even remember it once existed.

    That is what keeps me grounded.

    My personal philosophy is to become comfortable with the fact that everything around me will someday be in a trash heap. It is already gone. And, that everyone I know, or will know, will be gone.

    Acquisition is not something that causes strife. I appreciate what is here, but the loss of something is no longer a matter.

    This leaves me far more time for the now.

  34. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    The Great Pyramid of Giza being the last surviving member of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”, the other six having long since vanished, one of them so thoroughly that people are beginning to question if it actually ever existed.

    And even the Great Pyramid of Giza isn’t really the Great Pyramid: the golden capstone and the polished exterior were long ago stripped, the modern monument being just the support structure for the original. And without the protective surface, that remaining structure is eroding away more and more every year.

  35. Teve says:

    I wonder if the stained glass was captured comprehensively enough in photos to restore?

  36. Slugger says:

    Aujord’hui mon coeur est lourd,mais je sais que Paris, l’éternel, continuera.

    I am a pretty secular guy, but let me know how I can contribute to the restoration.

    Nous sommes votre freres.

  37. Teve says:

    RWNJs are pushing suspicion about muslims

    Matt Walsh

    Verified account

    @MattWalshBlog
    Follow Follow @MattWalshBlog
    More
    I don’t understand how a fire of this magnitude could happen accidentally

    11:30 AM – 15 Apr 2019

    Stephanie Lourdes

    @Stephanielk79
    5h5 hours ago
    More Stephanie Lourdes Retweeted Damien Rieu
    Muslims laughing at the Notre Dame fire this is so sick ! #MAGA #WWG1WGA #QAnon #POTUS #BREAKING #Antisemitism #Christian #QArmy #WalkAway #NotreDame #notredamedeParis

    The Millennial Patriot

    @EchosJuliette
    6h6 hours ago
    More
    So. May, Merkel, and Macron met recently regarding Brexit (which will determine May’s leaving). Today Macron was set to address the French public. Today Notre Dame is in flames.

    FF?

    #WWG1WGA
    #Q

  38. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Yes, but 4,500 years is nothing to sneeze at.

    The Egyptians called their tombs “Houses of Eternity.” I admit thousands of years are not an eternity, but it’s not bad at all for a bronze-age civilization with an oppressively hot climate.

  39. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    While loss makes us sad, the only alternative to a world where everything ends is one where nothing ever changes, and that would be even sadder.

  40. An Interested Party says:

    I’m struck by how many people who aren’t French and/or aren’t Catholic are affected by this tragedy…perhaps that is a hopeful sign of our shared humanity, which transcends nationality and religion, among other things…

  41. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That is the point… Change is the only eternal.

  42. Guarneri says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That was my very thought. Tragic.

  43. Teve says:
  44. EddieInCA says:

    I’m an atheist, but I love old churches. Especially old European churches. For me, it’s not about the religion, but about the history, art, and architecture.

    My first trip to Paris was when when I was 24. I was going to ski in Chamonix with friends, and I had an extra four days that my friends didn’t. So I decided to go to Paris, then take the train to Geneva four days later to meet my friends. I arrived at CDG with 40 French Francs in my pocket and $200 in American Express Traveler’s Checks (remember those?). I somehow found my way to central Paris to the hotel I was hoping to book. Fortunately, it was winter, and the hotel was open and had availability. The hotel was the Hotel Henri IV, and my shitty room, with shared bath down the hall, was $6US per night. It’s been upgraded twice since that stay in 1984. The floor was uneven. The sheets were hard. But it was clean, and the location was perfect. Left Bank, Fifth Arrondissement, near Pont Neuf. Every morning, my breakfast consisted of a fresh ham and cheese croissant, and an orange juice, and I ate it either on a bench on the Pont Neuf Bridge or a bench in front of Notre Dame. That was my routine.

    On my third day there, I went into Notre Dame, and spent more than three hours, just walking through, looking at the windows, the art, and the shop.

    A decade later, I got to spend 6 months in Paris on a job, and I stayed in the same neighborhood. I had a routine. I went to the same bakery, same coffee shop, same grocery store, same crepe maker, same gym. I was a creature of habit. Every Saturday, I ran the streets of Paris, ending my runs in the courtyard of Notre Dame, or the park directly behind it.

    About 8 years ago, I went back with my wife, who had never been to Paris. I got a hotel in the same neighborhood, and started showing her my old places. To my amazement, the baker was still there, and he freaking remembered me. I walked in and he immediately recognized me and called me by my name. My wife was impressed, but mostly I think she was relieved that I had told her the truth about my time in Paris, and wasn’t just feeding her stories.

    I’m so bummed about this fire. I know it’s just a building, but I have such amazing memories of that building and the neighborhood around it that it’s hard to process for me right now.

    After 9/11, it was hard for me to process the lack of two towers in downtown NYC. This will be similar if the structure isn’t standing. It just won’t make sense inside my head, despite me knowing what happened.

  45. R. Dave says:

    Tragic as this is, the photo of the cross still shining through the rubble is quite the Easter-appropriate image.

    https://twitter.com/EgTwaddle/status/1117934407258497024?s=20

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @MikeSJ:

    Place to donate: (swiped from Le Monde) https://don.fondation-patrimoine.org/SauvonsNotreDame/

    Already one of France’s billionaires has put up a large chunk of change to get things started.

    Rumour is at least some of the stained glass windows have been saved.

    Considering how old the building is and how much of it was made of wood, it’s not surprising that something like this would occur.

    (Dreher et al over at TAC are of course wringing their hands and finding cosmic interpretations in all of this. It’s gotta be symbolic of something–the decay and collapse of Western Civilisation. Full Sturm und Drang, as opposed to what probably actually happened, which is dumb worker did something while working on scaffolding and set very old and dried out wood on fire by accident.)

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  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    What you said.

    It’s one of the privileges in life showing someone Paris for the first time, isn’t it? Sainte Chappelle is prettier, but Notre Dame is the mysterious heart of the city. They spent 150 years building that thing, like staring in the Civil War and wrapping up about now. I’m big on multiple motives, but no matter how you slice it, there’s genuine faith behind that.

  48. Franklin says:

    @Teve: Note: I got a comment deleted elsewhere simply because I said that wasn’t Trump’s stupidest idea.

  49. Tony W says:

    The building is a testament to what humans can accomplish without modern machinery. Visiting Notre Dame again after it has been rebuilt with the same modern machinery that builds mega-stadiums will be a much less significant experience.

    My other thought here is that it’s particularly evil when a religious organization, in this case the Catholic church, builds a ridiculously ornate monument on the backs of the millions of poor who tithed money they didn’t really have to support the decadence.

    Worse, that tithing was far from voluntary. The people who paid for Notre Dame’s construction were victims of the church’s blatant extortion – tithe or go to hell – and that is the definition of evil in my book.

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  50. Joe says:

    @Kathy: @Liberal Capitalist:

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said—‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

    – Percy Bysshe Shelley

  51. CSK says:

    All 3 rose windows are intact.

  52. Kathy says:

    @Tony W:

    The building is a testament to what humans can accomplish without modern machinery.

    Sorry, I laughed a little when I read that.

    I agree it’s impressive. But think of far older monuments, accomplished without even iron tools, like most monuments in Egypt, from the Pyramids to rather simple Obelisks. Or Stonehenge in Britain. Or most pre-Colombian architecture in the Americas. It’s along, illustrious list.

    My other thought here is that it’s particularly evil when a religious organization, in this case the Catholic church, builds a ridiculously ornate monument on the backs of the millions of poor who tithed money they didn’t really have to support the decadence.

    Do you think this might be mitigated by the fact that this was the norm in really all human societies from the beginning? The Egyptian pharaohs collected taxes to build huge monuments that are little more than fancy graves (and grave robber magnets, to boot). Augustus boasted near his death he had turned Rome from a city of brick to a city of marble. And for that matter, how about municipal bond issues to build super fancy modern stadia?

    It would be worth noting all these examples are matched by public works, such as dams and irrigation systems in Egypt, fora and aqueducts in Rome, and streets, bridges, police forces, etc. in modern cities.

  53. Tony W says:

    @Kathy: You’re not wrong that this has happened since the beginning of humanity, however I will argue that taxation is different than extortion over one’s “soul”.

    Those public works projects benefit the majority of society – dams, irrigation, aqueducts, police, etc.

    Notre Dame, and every other ornate cathedral, benefits nobody. If good works are done by the church, even more of them could be done if money wasn’t diverted toward construction of that monstrosity.

    I’m not just picking on the European Catholics here either. Their Crystal Cathedral in California is a modern day example.

    Evangelicals seem to do it differently – instead of directing the tithes into enormous buildings they instead support individuals and their Gulfstream jets and mansions. In that regard, I suppose the Catholics are superior.

  54. Teve says:

    @Franklin: it’s not Trump’s stupidest idea. It’s logistically impossible, would probably cause more damage than it was worth, would possibly kill people, but conceivably could have some impact on the fire.

    Trump’s stupidest ideas are things that couldn’t even work in principle, like the United States getting out of debt by borrowing a whole bunch of money, collecting interest on it, and giving it back. 🙂

  55. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Tony W:

    Worse, that tithing was far from voluntary.

    Actually cost of the labor on these buildings was either semi-skilled or skilled labor, and thus needed to be paid. Other unskilled labor was often convinced to donate time in exchange for having sins absolved. The churches likely made as much money by sending “relics” on tour, like the crown of thorns or a splinter of the cross, as was raised by tithing.
    @Kathy:

    But think of far older monuments, accomplished without even iron tools

    Yes…but all the “buildings” you list are basically just stacked stones.
    Gothic Cathedrals were a quantum leap over even the preceding Romanesque buildings, and were essentially the first “Modern” buildings. They are much taller, the walls are opened to let light in, and the physical forces at work are clearly expressed in the structure. As I commented above; these buildings are really an expression of our highest concepts of art, science, and philosophy that is rarely captured even today.

  56. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    While you are waiting for Notre Dame to be re-constructed (likely decades) I would suggest visiting the following if you should find yourself in central France. These are listed in the order they were built and if you visit them in order you will be able to clearly see the evolution of the Gothic style of building.
    Basilica de St. Denis…the first Gothic Cathedral located in a northern suburb of Paris.
    Cathedral Notre Dame de Chartres…located in Chartres about an hour south of Paris…my personal favorite. The stained glass is original and thus has a blue tint that the modern glass in Paris didn’t/doesn’t have.
    Notre Dame de Paris would be next in the list, then;
    Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens…located in Amiens, about an hour and a half north of Paris. This is Gothic Architecture raised to high art. It is also the largest of the Gothic Cathedrals.
    Notre Dame de Reims…in the Champagne region, Reims is home to Veuve Cliquot if you’re thirsty. The tallest of this group, and as Kings were coronated here, perhaps the most ornate. If it’s of consolation, Reims burnt in WW1…and is today visited by a million people a year.
    There. Today’s Arch History lesson is complete.

  57. Mikey says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Actually cost of the labor on these buildings was either semi-skilled or skilled labor, and thus needed to be paid.

    Something interesting I just found out is construction of different parts of the cathedrals could be “sponsored” by different benefactors.

    For example, St. Lawrence in Nuremberg, if you look at the photo you see the northern spire (on the left in the photo) is considerably different from the southern. This is because whoever “sponsored” the northern tower had more money so they made it a bit fancier.

  58. Kathy says:

    @Tony W:

    You’re not wrong that this has happened since the beginning of humanity, however I will argue that taxation is different than extortion over one’s “soul”.

    Oh, I agree.

    BTW one major course of income for churches a bit later on was the sale of indulgences. And that’s just another way of spiritual extortion.

    Evangelicals seem to do it differently – instead of directing the tithes into enormous buildings they instead support individuals and their Gulfstream jets and mansions.

    Some of those mega churches are monumental in size if not in design. So Evangelicals can do both.

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  59. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Mikey:
    I’m not familiar with that one.
    However the Cathedral at Chartres also has two different spires; one was built in a later era after lightning hit the original.

  60. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve: I’m surprised he didn’t tell the French people that they should have raked.

  61. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “That’s why Dennison puts his name on everything in big gold letters…his legacy”

    “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.”

    I guess Trump’s answer would be that Ozymandias didn’t put his name on enough statues.

  62. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The churches likely made as much money by sending “relics” on tour, like the crown of thorns or a splinter of the cross, as was raised by tithing.

    Aren’t there enough splinters of the “true” cross for, like, building an XVIII century navy? 🙂

    Yes…but all the “buildings” you list are basically just stacked stones.

    With mortar. I don’t think there was concrete until later on.

    And, sure, they’re far simpler. But that’s about what you’d expect of people with a rather limited set of materials. The Great Pyramid of Khufu was the world’s tallest building until the 1130s CE. That’s a run of around 3,600 years, even if it’s “just” stacked stones.

  63. Mikey says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I used to live in Nuremberg and St. Lawrence (Lorenzkirche) is one of my favorite buildings on Earth. It was severely damaged by bombing during WW2 but restored. I have great hope for the restoration of Notre Dame because I have seen what can be done.

  64. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..Like cutting up, moving, and reassembling the temple of Rameses II at Abu Simbel in Egypt, to protect it from the rising Nile due to the construction of the Aswan Dam.

    Then there is the London Bridge that was relocated to Arizona.
    After the bridge was dismantled, it was transported to Merrivale Quarry where 15 to 20 cm (5.9 to 7.9 inches) were sliced off many of the original stones. The bridge arrived in pieces at the Port of Long Beach, California and was transported overland to Lake Havasu City, where re-assembly began in 1968.
    Rolling Stones?

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy: @Stormy Dragon:
    In Amsterdam they built the Nieuwe Kerk in the 14th century to supplement the Oude Kerk. Then in the mid-17th the Nieuwe Kerk burned down and was rebuilt as the Nieuwe Kerk, which it remains today despite the fact that this ‘New’ church was built before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and rebuilt ~ a century before the Declaration of Independence. Now it’s a museum.

  66. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: And not all mortar was masonry mortar. My understanding is that some mortar was algae based. Sort of a gluing stones together with pond scum type of thing.

  67. Teve says:
  68. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:

    a highly accurate digital scan of the whole building

    We have just recently used this process on a circa 1876 theatre we are restoring/renovating.
    It is a truly amazing tool.

  69. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:

    Aren’t there enough splinters of the “true” cross for, like, building an XVIII century navy?

    And how many crowns of thorns, too?

  70. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: there was a good joke in the Name of the Rose about how many different bones of a saint the churches had, but I can’t remember it well enough to do it justice.

  71. KM says:

    @Teve:
    Interesting – there’s articles going around about Assassin’s Creed Notre Dame model being able to be used as well. I wonder if they’re the same model and Ubisoft worked off it or if they created a second one??

  72. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: IIRC, one of the stained glass windows in the cathedral at Rheims, destroyed during the World War I bombardment, was replaced with one created by Marc Chagall.

  73. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    [..]despite the fact that this ‘New’ church was built before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and rebuilt ~ a century before the Declaration of Independence.

    Names tend to persist long past their time.

    For instance, the city of Naples is called Napoli in Italian. It sounds very Italian, too. but that comes from its original Greek name Neapolis. That last means “New city.” It was founded sometime in the 500s BCE, so it’s been “New City” now for around 2,500 years.

    It was a rather popular name in ancient times, too. Carthage, in its native Phoenician, which I won’t attempt to reproduce here, also meant “New City.”

  74. Mikey says:

    @KM: The digital artist who did AC: Unity’s Notre Dame said she worked on it for two years.

    I’m currently playing the game and I can say the detail of Notre Dame is absolutely stunning, inside and out.

  75. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy:
    When I get hold of the Infinity Gauntlet I’m going to create a city, call it the Old City, then hang around long enough to chuckle as future archeologists strive to make sense of it.

    Or cure cancer. Definitely one of those two things.

  76. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:
    I remember the Sean Connery movie, but not much about it.

  77. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    When I get hold of the Infinity Gauntlet

    I had to Google that.

    But, you know, there’s a site in France, I think, where archaeologists and historians are doing a recreation, in scale, of a medieval castle. This is a rather common technique, which allows people to figure out how the ancients did things, sometimes, and how the things were used.

    My first thought on learning this was “I bet this will confuse future archaeologists no end.” I can see a bright young grad student in 3148 thinking they discovered the 21st century collapse, rather than some other grad student’s old project.

  78. mattbernius says:

    Hijack: if you are considering donating to the restoration of Notre Dame, also consider giving to the fund established to help rebuild the three Historic African American churches destroyed by arson in the last few months.

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/church-fires-st-landry-parishmacedonia-ministry

    Admittedly the Catholic Church isn’t in great financial shape (Notre Dame has been in declining condition for a number of years without funds for repair: see http://time.com/4876087/notre-dame-cathedral-is-crumbling/), but these communities are also really needy as well and getting far less attention.

  79. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:
  80. grumpy realist says:

    Article from The Guardian with a run-down of the eyeballed damage so far. All three Rose windows are intact.