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Days Before Notre-Dame Was Ravaged By Fire, A Twist Of Fate Saved 16 Of Its Most Precious Relics

Notre Dame

The idea of building Notre-Dame cam about in 1160 by a Parisian bishop named Maurice de Sully. He was just appointed a clergyman when he decided that a new cathedral would grace the city. He planned to build the new cathedral by the Seine River. While the idea came about in 1160, the construction didn’t begin until 1163. When the first stone was placed, Pope Alexander II and King Louis VII were present.


Notre Dame wasn’t completed until the end of 1260. After the cathedral was completed, it sustained damage over the years. During the French Revolution, members of the public defiled many of Notre Dame’s amazing Christian artwork. While there was some damage to the cathedral over the years, it remained standing.

Major Events

Over the years, many important events took place in Notre-Dame. In 1804, Napoleon I was crowned emperor in a ceremony inside the cathedral. About 150-years later, a tightrope walker named Philippe Petit put a line between the two bell towers, and he walked across successfully. It was also home to many funerals for the leaders of the French Republic. The reason so many important events took place in Notre Dame is its extraordinary architecture.

The Relics

Notre Dame is the home to a collection of relics. It contains religious artifacts that once belonged to saints or holy persons. Most of the relics held at Notre-Dame are associated with the most pivotal moments of the Bible’s New Testament. The most important relics date back to Christ’s crucifixion. According to legend, housed in Notre Dame is a splinter from the cross where Jesus was suspended, one nail that held him in place, and the crown of thorns that he wore at the time of his death. These items were origi8nally purchased from the 13th century French King Louis IX for a very hefty sum.

Tourist Attraction

Notre Dame is considered a symbol of Paris, and it is one of the most popular draws for tourists. It is the biggest attraction in Paris, and over 12 million people visit each year. Because the cathedral was visited so often, it was essential always to keep the cathedral in tip-top shape. Many tourists know the name, Notre Dame, from the book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. There have also been plays, movies, and even cartoons based on this incredible cathedral.

Major Projects

In 1963, the front of Notre Dame was scoured by cleaners to remove all of the dirt that had built up over the years. This was done again in 1991 and then again in 2000. It was the project that was scheduled for 2019 that caused the most devastating impact that the cathedral had ever seen.

April 15, 2019

Tragedy struck on April 15, 2019, shortly after sunset. A fire engulfed the upper portion of Notre Dame. There were parts of the cathedral that continued to burn for 15 hours while the Parisians watched in person, and while people from all over the world watched on television in shock over what was taking place in front of their eyes. Many people believe that the fire was the result of a restoration project.

Dousing the Blaze

There are 400 to 500 French firefighters at the cathedral, trying to put out the flames. According to a former firefighter, after the first 20 minutes, it was evident that it was a severe fire. The teams drew water from the Seine river to put out the fire. They also used a robot called Colossus to drench the superheated interior with water. This was necessary due to the rapid increase of heat inside. The only method they didn’t use was dumping water on the cathedral from above. Pouring the water from aerial planes would cause the cathedral to collapse.

Lost Relics

Sadly, plenty of treasured items were destroyed in the fire. Fortunately, the 18th century Great Organ made it through the fire, but because of the water damage, it no longer plays music. The metal rooster that topped the cathedral was also spared. According to reports, there were two teams of firefighters. One team was sent in to save as many relics as possible, and one team to put the fire out. Fortunately, they were able to save the crown of thorns. The rose windows are also still intact. They date back to the 19th century. They even managed to save the tower bells.

Twist Of Fate

Days before Notre-Dame was ravaged by fire, a twist of fate saved 16 of its most precious relics. These relics, which included the statues of the apostles. These objects were removed to make room for the renovations, so they were far away from the fire, saving them for future generations. While the fire was incredibly devastating, it is incredible that a few things were saved.

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