History is remembered through manuscripts, artifacts and very few architectural landmarks that we cannot tear down to rewrite our own lifestyle choices, which is meant to be history in due time. Notre Dame, for all its grandeur and excellence, could have lasted a millennium or even more, had it not been for the tragic fire that had burnt down the roof and walls that guarded a faith and its secrets within her rose-tinted windows.
We never really know what it means to lose a monument unless we recount what it stood for and how long it stood against the test of time. For more than 800 years, Notre Dame has drawn 13 million travelers and worshippers alike to the city of love. One may even go so far as to say the Parisian city landscape is painted with richer context to rival the collections of the famed Louvre, where salvaged artifacts from the Gothic Cathedral now reside.
Paris is less of a destination and more of a journey through time. What better place to begin with than the chime of the 10 bells of the Notre Dame?
From medieval times, it’s has witnessed and undergone numerous changes, including a temporary state of desecration during the French Revolution. Years later, when Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor, he oversaw a period of restoration for the Cathedral. It’s ceilings, septs and the famous spire has inspired and fueled the imagination of artists like Michelangelo whose names and works are testaments to the immortality of art itself. When centuries-old walls burn down and sends smoke to the sky, the world only watches mournfully and prays. When the smoke spreads and the skies finally clear, there is one less legacy in the skyline, but will the industrial indifference continue after a few headlines and articles? Or will we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past? For all the wonders and victories of mankind the Cathedral has overlooked, there has been an alarming rise in the crimes against humanity and nature in the name of war and pollution. It’s been 850 years and in her last moments, did she marvel in the nostalgia that the present echos the past? Was she in disdain that darkness and cold indifference prevails in this era?
History matters because it gives us hope that times will inevitably change but it is in the eyes and hands of this generation to stop mirroring the dark horrors of the past and echo the message of understanding, peace, and tranquility that perseverance of art gives. Some lost treasures are lost forever and a handful turns up centuries later in entirely different places but the tales live on to inspire adventures and inventions alike to find throughout the sands of time.