Tragedy hits Paris

Lauren Biggins, Reporter

At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Monday April 15, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame devastatingly caught on fire, leaving the building in shambles, and the world in shock. The 850-year-old Notre-Dame Cathedral is an astounding piece of architectural history and one of the most visited historical landmarks in Paris, reeling in about 13 million visitors per year. Many people watched the flames in horror from the river bank on Monday night, with tears streaming down their face as if they were being struck personally by the tragedy. How the fire started is unknown, firefighters are still vigilantly searching through the remains to find the answer as to what could have caused this disaster. The origin of the fire is currently under close investigation, but as of recently authorities have deemed the tribulation as an accident.

On Tuesday April 16, President Emmanuel Macron asked French citizens to put all politics and disagreements to the side, and to come together for the aftermath of the cathedral. Hundreds gathered for song and prayer in the Place Saint Michel, opposite Notre-Dame, while during the day, hundreds more had assembled at the bridge leading on to the church plaza. Mr. Macron took this moment as a chance to announce a major rebuilding plan for the cathedral, that will only take roughly 5 years time. In a quote from Mr. Macron’s speech he states, “So, yes, we will rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral, more beautiful than ever, and I want this to be finished in five years, […] We can do it, and we will mobilize to do so.” Mr. Macron also declared, “In the course of our history, we’ve built cities, ports, churches, […] Many have burned or were destroyed in wars, revolutions or by man’s mistakes. Each time, each time, we’ve rebuilt them.”

So far, about a billion dollars have been raised to help restore this treasured landmark. As of how they are going to rebuild it, France may be turning to a digital map of the building, created from lasers that thoroughly scanned the cathedral back in 2015. Andrew Tallon, a professor of art at Vassar College, created this map that might now help architects and engineers create an almost perfect replica of the Cathedral. This digital model will be a crucial part of the restoration process because it recounts exactly what the cathedral looked like before the devastation of the fire. Tallon’s digital map won’t be a perfect fix, though, architects will still need to recoup information from past restorations, such as building materials, photographs, measurements, and drawings, but Tallon’s model will definitely be a huge part of the process.