What a terrible thing the fire was in the Church of Notre Dame in Paris. There is a heartbreaking emotion about the cathedral from the people of France, Francophiles around the world and those who love historic buildings.
Even during a alcohol fuelled lunch on The Seine with a female couple? travelling, one from Scotland and the other from Texas, I managed to snap these two photos, oh look, there is Notre Dame, excuse me for a moment, and one of me with my new Scottish girlfriend, who did not show me her haggis, and it is just as well. After the awful photo of me in yesterday's post, I almost look ok in this 11 year old photo. Paris was grey and showery when we visited, as you can see. Gosh we had a good time with the women from Texas and Scotland.
I don't want to sound mean spirited about the tragic loss of Notre Dame, but I expect it will sound like that.
President Macron of France has or will set up a world wide appeal for the rebuilding of the cathedral. I expect the nearly one hundred year long construction of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona will be finished before the restoration of Notre Dame.
Fact 1. The church is owned by France and its people. France is a wealthy first world country. Can't the country fund the restoration itself?
Fact 2. France leases Notre Dame to the Catholic Church at no cost. The very rich Catholic Church is supposed to maintain the church. It has not done so and a restoration appeal for the church was set up and funding was raised. Why wasn't the Catholic Church made to pay for the restoration? It could certainly contribute substantially to the rebuilding.
Fact 3. The fire is clearly a result of the works underway, so the contractor is responsible for the restoration.
Fact 4. Clearly the contractor will not be able to afford the cost of the restoration, and so it the contractor's insurance company that will have to pay. It may well be a large world wide insurance company with vast financial resources, but there will be dollar limit on the claim.
Fact 5. They can be ugly intrusions in historic buildings but all large buildings should have sprinkler systems. Why did Notre Dame not have them? Especially so as much of it was ancient timber construction.
I will call it. The fire at Notre Dame as a dereliction of duty by the contractor who was restoring the church, the French Government and the Catholic Church.
Before any of you sentimentally donate money to the restoration of the much loved Notre Dame, think about it carefully and who should be paying.