Rebuilding Notre Dame a ‘National Project’ for France

It took 500 firefighters about 12 hours to extinguish the fire that consumed a large portion of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday. On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to make rebuilding the iconic French church a “national project.”

“We will build the cathedral of Notre Dame even more beautiful than it was. But this must be done in five years. We can do that,” vowed Marcon.

There were no reported fatalities from the fire, though one firefighter was severely injured, officials said.

Notre Dame is in the center of Paris and has survived the Reformation, the French Revolution, two world wars and Nazi occupation. Monday’s fire ravaged the 850-year-old gothic structure in a matter of hours.

Investigators are now examining the charred remains of the structure, the cornerstone of which was laid in 1163. Its two rectangular bell towers are still standing but the roof is heavily damaged by the collapsed 750-ton spire. Amid the wreckage, the cross is still standing in the sanctuary.

Notre Dame was catapulted into the consciences of the world in 1831 when Victor Hugo wrote “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Disney released an animated version of the drama in 1996.

Joining us to talk about the rebuilding of Notre Dame is the Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, Blair Kamin.

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