For those who may not know, the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire on April 15, 2019. The fire took approximately 15 hours to completely put out, leaving extensive damage to the cathedral. While the cathedral did ultimately survive the fire, it will still require extensive repairs. Because of the recent press that the Notre Dame Cathedral received, it can be helpful to provide a historic background of the cathedral, and how it influences today’s society.

The Notre Dame Cathedral, which is also known as Notre-Dame de Paris, is located in Paris, France, and was completed in 1260. It took around 100 years to finish the entire cathedral. The first major work that was completed on the cathedral came in the 1790s after its extensive religious imagery was either significantly damaged, or destroyed altogether.

The Notre Dame Cathedral began seeing significant increases in visitors after the well-known novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was written in 1831. After seeing the significant increase in annual visitors, the city of Paris decided to complete extensive renovations throughout the following years to continue bringing more people to the city. While most of the original designs and art have been replaced, the original integrity of the cathedral has remained.

In recent years, the Notre Dame Cathedral has remained one of the most well-known cathedrals in the world and has provided countless people a place to practice their religion. According to the Paris Digest, Notre Dame typically attracted approximately 12 million visitors each year, indicating its prominence in today’s society.

Following the extensive, 15-hour fire that required 500 firefighters and nearly destroyed the cathedral, communities around the world showed their appreciation for the cathedral through expansive donations. According to the New York Times, a fund that was started to raise money to go towards repairing the cathedral reached nearly $950 million from donors around the world.

After gaining such extensive funding for repairs, the city of Paris has indicated its plan to rebuild and repair the cathedral. As a result of the extensive financial support that donors have provided, French President Emmanuel Macron stated his goal of fully repairing and reopening the cathedral in approximately five years. While professionals in the industry argue that the timeline provided by President Macron was too short, their ultimate goal is to completely renovate and reopen the cathedral in the coming years.