A man reacts as he watches the flames engulf the roof of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. – A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year. A spokesman for the cathedral told AFP that the wooden structure supporting the roof was being gutted by the blaze. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS—It was the morning after the fire ravaged Notre-Dame, consuming its oak latticework and lead roof, damaging rose windows, toppling its spire. There was a low, gray sky and it was still unseasonably cold. People had gathered again along the riverbanks facing the cathedral, trying to get a closer look at what remained.
What did remain? I walked closer. The facade and two boxy towers held their sturdy place on the horizon, as they had for eight centuries. So did the walls of the transept. This was as it should be. This was reassuring. “Notre-Dame is Devastated, but Saved,” the headline ran on France’s leading news channel.