“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.-Claude Frollo ” ― Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
When I visited Paris, I said to myself the next time I went, I would buy myself a ticket to go around Notre Dame, to walk through its aisles, to gaze up at the beautiful rose windows, to crane my neck and stare at the beautiful flying buttresses that have held my imagination ever since I learned about them during a Humanities class in high school, to climb as high was what was permitted to gaze at Paris from its heights. The last time, I stared at Notre Dame from a seat in the square just in front of the cathedral and I imagined how much I would enjoy myself during the next trip with quite possibly a day adoring the beautiful Lady of Paris.
I can’t be sure I can do that now. Because the beloved cathedral that has stood the test of 850 years and has watched Paris evolved is burning. My heart breaks as I watch the breaking news on telly. The beautiful spire that has towered over the roofs and the nave collapsed as the world watched. I’ve read from reports that the gargoyles were seen tumbling down from their lofty posts.
I’m going to stop watching the news now. I don’t think I can bear hearing about the flying buttresses collapsing. I know that Paris can rebuild, as it often has, because it survives and it evolves. But even if they rebuild The Lady, it will never be the same again.
I’m going to try (very hard) to remember Paris and Notre Dame the way I saw Notre Dame last. Beautifully incandescent in the unexpected Parisian sunshine and blue skies 💔