This was the Notre Dame before the fire…

On 15 April 2019, a blanket of doom struck the French capital. One of the world's most famous monuments caught fire. This destroyed a very large part of the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral on the île de la Cité. The future of this monument was questioned for a few very long hours, but luckily we now know for certain that the church will be rebuilt. However, this will take up a long time and therefore it will be inaccessible for a very long time...

A few months ago I visited Paris and took a look inside the Notre Dame. After my visit, I also climbed the towers, which have now suffered great damage. The spire tower is completely destroyed.
In this small photo reportage you can see what the Notre-Dame looked like before the fire.

Do you want to read more about the Notre Dame? Here you can read all about my own visit only a few months ago.

The interior of the Notre Dame

A couple of months ago, I visited this French monument myself. Inside, I made quite a lot of photos. It’s a shame that this beautiful interior went up in flames, and therefore I wanted to create a sort of everlasting memory for this majestic cathedral by showing you all what it looked like.

notre dame inside before fire

Once you entered the cathedral, you immediately got welcomed by this fantastic sight.

notre dame art before fire

A few of the works of art that you could see everywhere in the Notre Dame.

cathedral notre dame inside before fire

The beautiful vaults and chandeliers gave this cathedral its beautiful interior.

paris notre dame inside before burning

What a loss this will be… This really is a big loss for Paris!

notre dame interior before fire

To be clear: it is not because of these candles that the Notre Dame was set ablaze!

stained glass windows notre dame before fire

One of the beautiful stained glass windows that unfortunately was badly damaged during the fire.

rose window notre dame before fire

The other rose window. Unfortunately this artwork is also heavily damaged.

The interior of the bell towers that you could climb

Every day, there were hundreds of people that visited the towers of the Notre Dame. From here, you got one of the most rewarding views of Paris. You could also spend some time inside one of the bell towers. There you could see the wooden construction of the tower and it immediately becomes clear how the fire could spread so rapidly.

notre dame bell tower wooden frame

Once you climbed the towers, you could enter here to view the bells of the Notre Dame.

bell tower clock notre dame before fire

People were scared that one of these giant bells would fall because of the fire.

notre dame bell tower wooden framework

There is so much wood here! No wonder that the Notre Dame caught fire so quickly…

All towers were made from timber that was centuries old.

bell clock tower notre dame fire

Too bad that we can’t hear these beautiful bells ring anymore for now!

The view from the bell towers

After a tiring climb along the twirling staircase of the Notre Dame, you were rewarded with fantastic views over Paris. During my visit to this vantage point, I was greeted by a couple of gorgeous gargoyles, of which most have also perished in the fires.

gargoyle notre dame before fire

When you climbed the tower of the Notre Dame, you got to see a lot of these gargoyles.

gargoyle notre dame roof view paris

Yet another stunning gargoyle.

spire notre dame before fire

This beautiful spire is unfortunately no longer. The structure tumbled down around 8 pm.

spire notre dame fire

What a sad day!

view notre dame tower before fire

The view from one of the towers of the Notre Dame.

notre dame view paris eiffel tower

From here you also had a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower.

destroyed part notre dame fire

This whole part is destroyed by the fire. The roof collapsed at 8:30 pm, after the spire had already fallen.

gargoyle viewpoint notre dame before fire

One of the gargoyles on the highest point of the Notre Dame.

gargoyles notre dame before fire

These gargoyles are actually art treasures in themselves…

gargoyles viewpoint notre dame fire

It is unclear how many of these gargoyles have been preserved and when the Notre Dame will reopen again.

The exterior of the cathedral

On the outside of the Notre Dame there is also a lot of damage. On these photos you can see the beautiful facade and how much eye for details was spent on all these magnificent sculptures.

notre dame facade before burning

An icon of Paris: the Notre Dame.

face notre dame before fire

The very detailed facade of the Notre Dame.

sculptures notre dame

The side of the Notre Dame. Look at all those beautiful sculptures!

notre dame entrance gate

A close-up on the magnificent entrance door of the Notre Dame.

What do we know about the fire?

  • The fire broke out around 6:50 pm on April 15, 2019. About half an hour before, there was a church service going on. Fortunately, all believers were swiftly removed from the cathedral so that there were no victims among them.
  • At 8 pm the fire spread so violently that the 93-meter-high spire (305 ft) collapsed. Not much later, the entire roof went up in flames.
  • According to the police, this is not a terrorist act.
  • The Notre Dame will be rebuilt. Officials were very afraid that the whole church would be destroyed because of the fire. However, we are now sure that the Notre Dame will be restored. However, the reconstruction will likely take years…
  • More than 500 members of the fire brigade were deployed to extinguish the fire.

Artworks destroyed

Although most of the artworks in Notre-Dame were saved, there is still a lot of irreversible damage:

  • The masterpieces such as the crown of thorns, a piece from the cross of Christ and one of the nails used for his crucifixion have all been saved.
  • The gigantic organ from the fifteenth century may have been very badly damaged. This also applies to a lot of the beautiful paintings that couldn’t be removed in time from the burning building.
  • The beautiful rose windows (stained glass windows) may also have been severely damaged. This becomes clear from photos that show that the lead started to melt. Of course a lot of debris has also fallen on these fragile windows.

Want to know more about the Notre Dame?

Would you like to know more about its history? Or maybe you want to read more about my visit to the towers. In this blog post I tell you about my visit to this iconic church of Paris.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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  1. Ahmad Abdou says:

    It is very sad to know that Notr dame is now burned. I don’t know how that happened but it’s awkward why there were no fast response to the fire.

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