What Remains of Notre Dame in Paris After the Destructive Fire?
Notre Dame Cathedral is an architectural and historical marvel—but it's also home to many priceless works of art and religious relics. In the wake of today's fire, here's what we know about any surviving artifacts, as well as the state of the structure itself.
At 8:20 p.m. Paris time (2:20 p.m. EST), Bloomberg reported that Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told the press that first responders were trying to salvage the art and artifacts inside the cathedral. Later in the day, the same outlet reported that Mayor Anne Hidalgo believed that the cathedral's two main towers might be saved, and that "the significant collection art work and holy objects kept inside the church has been recovered."
Local journalist Nicolas Delesalle also reported that some of the relics had been saved. He identified a Notre Dame priest as his source.
Une bonne nouvelle : toutes les œuvres d’art ont été sauvées. Le trésor de la cathédrale est intact, la couronne d’épines, les saints sacrements. #NOTRE_DAME— Nicolas Delesalle (@KoliaDelesalle) April 15, 2019
Delesalle singled out the Crown of Thorns—arguably the most famous and precious object kept inside the cathedral—as reportedly safe and intact. The religious relic is believed by some to have been worn by Jesus Christ before the crucifixion. The cathedral is also home to two other relics: a piece of the cross that he was thought to have been crucified on, as well as one of the nails used in the crucifixion.
Additionally, sixteen copper statues were removed from the cathedral's roof near the spire just last week on April 11, as a part of the structure's ongoing renovations. News outlet The Local reported that the statues would be on display in side the cathedral, before being transported two at a time to an expert preservationist in southern France. There hasn't been any reporting specifically on the state of these pieces—however, if they hadn't been removed, they almost certainly wouldn't have survived.
Décrochées grâce à une grue de 120 mètres de haut, ces statues de Notre-Dame de Paris vont être restaurées pic.twitter.com/lmzjF8bCVJ— BFMTV (@BFMTV) April 11, 2019
Observer and Guardian correspondent Kim Willsher reported that part of the structure of the church would survive, as well—but a fire officer reportedly said that two-thirds of the roof had been lost. Per the BBC, Reuters has also reported that "We can now say that the structure of Notre-Dame has been saved from total destruction."
Officials at #NotreDame scene reporting the fire has dropped in intensity and cathedral structure "saved", particularly the north belfry. Building being "cooled". Fire officer confirms this but says 2/3 of roof destroyed. Firefighters now trying to save works of art inside.— Kim Willsher (@kimwillsher1) April 15, 2019
That said, one iconic piece of the cathedral has been destroyed: its razor-thin spire. According to the BBC, this architectural feature dated back to the 12th century.
T&C will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.