The iconic building–whose name translates to Our Lady of Paris–has stood for over 850 years, withstanding the last two World Wars. Due to unknown causes, the ancient structure began to burn around 6 pm in France and continued to burn for well over nine hours before emergency response personnel were able to put the fire out well into the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Despite how long it burned for, much of Notre Dame still stands. The roof and the attic, made almost entirely of wood, burned away rather quickly, and it was a sad sight to see the iconic spire– a later addition, built in the 19th century–fall into the flames. But the bell towers remain standing and the trio of stained glass rose windows survived as well. The gargoyles that usually sit high up on the towers were removed a week before for cleaning and were saved entirely from the destruction.
The original Great Organ appears to be intact as well, though it is not yet clear how much may be damaged. The small mercy of the main structure and some of the most iconic features of Notre Dame being unharmed is appreciated by Christians as well as history and architecture enthusiasts around the world.
In a televised address to the nation, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “We will rebuild Notre Dame even more beautiful and I want that to be done in the next five years.”
Already, over $700 million has been donated by wealthy French citizens and businesses to the reconstruction of their nations icon. Though some experts have said that it may take up to 10-15 years to fully restore Notre Dame, the people of France are determined to see their Lady back to full glory.