The Many Lives of Notre-Dame

Darran Anderson
The Many Lives of Notre-Dame

As television crews captured the fiery pillar of smoke billowing from the roof of Notre-Dame cathedral, the collective feeling seemed to be curiously personal. President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, “I am sad to be watching this part of us burn tonight.” The “us” felt not just French or Catholic but universal and intimate. The story of Notre-Dame, of how it has changed and survived for centuries, reveals why we care about the survival of buildings and why even that may not be enough.