Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Notre Dame

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.


  1. I agree with you 100%! It is criminal that the building did not even have sprinklers, which should have been retrofitted some time ago.
    Ah people get too lax and too greedy with the funds available.
    I am just relieved that no one was injured. Imagine if the building had been full of tourists and panic ensued!
    Great picture of you and the lass from Scotland.
    I've waited all day my time for your views on this. You did not disappoint.

  2. I do like all your points Andrew. And interestingly enough when it first went up Daughter's and my only concern was for Shakespeare and Company Book store next door to it. I mean it's sad and all but insurance and the tax free trillions the RC gathers tightly to its bosom could cover it and I see several billionaires have come forward.


  3. I mourn the loss of beauty - and it was beautiful, but agree with your points.
    At least it won't be demolished and have a nasty block of apartments put up to replace it.
    PS: You were too hard on yesterday's photo of yourself. And look fine in today's too.

  4. I think this fire will have everyone in charge of historic cathedrals worldwide very alert and worried now to the fire dangers of old wood in the buildings. I see that two billionaires have pledged a lot of money (total of 300,000,000 $ or Euros) to rebuild. I did not know that France owns the cathedral.

  5. I think the fire is a very sad. I woke to the heartbreaking news yesterday morning...and my eyes filled with tears...tears I could not control...and had no desire to control.

    To see historical buildings, no matter where they are in this world of ours, is devastating. They are part of our lives...of our history.

  6. I realise this isn't your main issue, but I didn't particularly love or value Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Notre Dame de Paris' damage, on the other hand, is irreplaceable.

  7. I agree with you Andrew. Although very sad about the fire and damage to suck an iconic monument the Catholic Church should be funding great part of the rebuilding and do should the insurance of the contractors. Being Portuguese I was aghast when I read that the Portuguese government was planning to donate towards the reconstruction of Notre Dame, but just a couple of weeks ago told its citizens it had no money to contribute to the victims of Mozambique's (a former colony) devastating cyclone who lost everything and are in danger of dying of hunger and diseases. In our warped society it seems monuments are more important than people. Very sad...

  8. I won't be donating any money, I simply can't afford it. #3: I did not know that. I was late turning on the news last night, and saw the blaze but assumed it was vandalism. I am sorry to see the loss of such a beautiful old building, but it will be rebuilt, unlike many beautiful old buildings in other places that are simply replaced with ugly modern structures.

  9. Many here are saying exactly the same. The Vatican itself has so much money, the cost of rebuilding would be peanuts.

  10. It was lucky to be standing as Hitler planned to level Paris to the ground until he toured the empty city and was overcome by the buildings. He looted all the art instead. Good programme on SBS about his plans to build the largest city/museum in the world.
    As to the sprinklers, by the time the smoke reached the tallest parts the Church would be well alight. A computer system to monitor smoke or hot spots from cellars to spires would be better.

  11. France has been once a wealthy country now they are strikes all the time and it has become rather poor ! The old pope will not move but a lot of private millionaires have already donated ¨600 millions of Euros amongst them Apple, Oreal, Dior, etc and it will be much more. Fortunately ! The Vatican is very rich, but not for church restaurations !!

  12. Macron has promised it will be restored in five years.I am sure that is doable and will happen especially wih the reverence in which the French people seem to hold Notre Dame.We visited Paris and saw Notre Dame Cathedtal in 1987 and I especially loved the beautiful windows You have made some very good points re who should bear the cost of repairs and restoration.

  13. I don't think I need to respond to comments for this post. Thank you ball boys. Thank you all.

  14. I was surprised about the lack of sprinklers.
    Enjoyed the pictures:)

  15. Once again we think the same. When the rich were busy donating their money this week I wondered why they never offered any of that money to the poor around the world??

    We are going to Paris next week. I have been there twice and only seen Notre Dame from the exterior. It was on my bucket list this time to go inside. C'est la vie...

  16. Oh boy, you just named a very rich corporation---the Catholics, and I never thought of that. Yes, they certainly should pay. Ultimate fault is with the contractor, however, and his or her insurance carrier. A contractor in Portland dug near the street, hit a gas line and exploded an entire block, destroying businesses, injuring people, killing a cat, and I haven't heard how all that has played out, since that too was contractor fault.

    1. With every issue of "Freethought Today," I find instances of one American diocese or another having to pay tens of millions--or even hundreds of millions--of dollars in restitution to victims of pedophilia. Where have these dioceses been keeping all that money that they would even have it to pay out without the necessity of selling real estate? I also wonder how their pedophilia penalties have affected their members' willingness to donate to the church when those members know that the money will go to the victims of pedophilia. Last I heard, rank and file Catholics were blaming the victims for speaking out rather than blaming the church hierarchy for aiding and abetting, the implication being that those members wouldn't be eager to donate to the church if they knew the money would go to the church's victims.

  17. I have never believed that a government should participate in the maintenance or rebuilding of any active place of worship, but I admit that my position has been tested (not defeated but tested) in the case of an 800 year old focus of national pride and identity. I considered Macron's remark that a church that took 200 years to build could be rebuilt prettier than ever in a mere five years to be breathtakingly arrogant.

  18. Oh I agree 100% Andrew. It was a tragedy for sure but I would be unbelievably angry if our Government donated money to the restoration. If the Catholic Church did, no problemo, but we the Government has more relevant to struggling Aussies to think about. As you say the Catholic church is one of the richest 'organizations' in the world, let them dig into their coffers! I bet that surprised you coming from a Francophile 😀