Paris is my favourite place in the whole world. I feel at home and at ease there and never get tired of walking through its streets.
Every corner you turn there’s something beautiful to see. Sometimes it’s just an antique lamp post, but that’s what makes Paris Paris- the small touches of character.
I’m also a history nerd- I have a deep passion for architecture, art and stories. Three things which Paris has in abundance.
Paris has my heart. Which is why I cried when I first saw the pictures of Notre Dame burning. It PHYSICALLY hurt. The same sort of pain you feel after a break up, but minus the crappy ex.
Notre Dame was and is an icon in its own right, but I didn’t cry for the loss of an icon, I cried for everything that was lost along with it.
History is something that cannot be restored. If something breaks, you cannot repair it to the same state it was before. There’ll always be a crack, a scar and a memory of what happened.
The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that an international architectural competition for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame spire will be organised.
BREAKING: France announces an international architects' competition to rebuild the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral. https://t.co/QzKw30c0Cg
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 17, 2019
I get it. I respect it. But I think it’s a stupid project.
I won’t say it’s pointless- I understand the desire to rebuild what was lost. It provides a lot of catharsis to a lot of people. Seeing new architecture stand is much better than staring at a blackened burnt shell of a cathedral.
People, governments and corporations all over the world have made some really big pledges toward the project.
The first major donation (a casual 100 million euros) came from billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault who is married to actor Salma Hayek.
“Faced with this tragedy, my father and I have decided to contribute to the funds needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame de Paris, in order to bring this jewel of our heritage back to life as soon as possible.”
François-Henri Pinault #notredamedeparis 2/2
— Kering (@KeringGroup) April 16, 2019
Then Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH (a luxury goods company which includes brands like Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Marc Jacobs), pledged double.
"In the wake of this national tragedy, the Arnault family and the LVMH Group pledge their support for #NotreDame. They will donate a total of 200 million euros to the fund for reconstruction of this architectural work, which is an integral part of the history of France." pic.twitter.com/utvJT8xJht
— LVMH (@LVMH) April 16, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook also announced the company would be “donating to the rebuilding efforts”.
A bunch more stupidly rich people have pledged money to rebuild Notre Dame. Over 1 billion dollars has been raised in just two days.
But rebuilding the damaged parts of the cathedral is just a vanity project designed to make people feel better and a city look better- it won’t fix anything.
Re-designing an icon is counterintuitive: replacing something old with something new completely changes the integrity and meaning of that thing. A new spire at Notre Dame is not the old spire and it never will be.
Instead of wasting time and money on a pointless restoration, why isn’t the world focusing on changing things before disaster strikes?
Our leaders should be donating to causes which address universal health, poverty or climate change.
It’s clearly something the world can afford- the wealthy and powerful just need to make the choice to put their money in places that will actually make a difference.
Notre Dame is gone, it’s not coming back. The sooner we face that reality, the sooner we can move forward and create new history.