Photographs show the steeple before and after the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Photographs show the steeple before and after the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.
AFP/Getty Images

These photos show the destruction and beauty of the Notre Dame Cathedral

A massive fire engulfed the upper reaches of Paris’ soaring Notre Dame Cathedral as it was undergoing renovations Monday, threatening one of the greatest architectural treasures of the Western world as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world. Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine river, its architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses.

Related Links

Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.

Advertisement
A combination of photographs of people attending a mass (above) in June 2018 and an interior view (bottom) after the fire.
A combination of photographs of people attending a mass (above) in June 2018 and an interior view (bottom) after the fire.
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 16: The interior of the Notre-Dame Cathedral is seen through a doorway following a major fire yesterday on April 16, 2019 in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, causing the famous spire to collapse. The cause is unknown but officials have said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The interior of the Notre Dame Cathedral is seen through a doorway on Tuesday.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

TOPSHOT - (FILES) This combination of file photos created on April 15, 2019, shows (L) scaffolding during the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, in Paris on March 27, 2019 and a firefighter (R) using a hose to douse flames and smoke billowing from the roof at 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 Ludovic MARIN and Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)LUDOVIC MARIN,GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images
Combination photographs of scaffolding during the restoration and during the fire of Notre Dame Cathedral.
LUDOVIC MARIN,GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images

Smoke rises in front of the altar cross at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019, after a fire engulfed the building. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.Images posted on social media showed flames and huge clouds of smoke billowing above the roof of the gothic cathedral, the most visited historic monument in Europe. (Photo by PHILIPPE WOJAZER / POOL / AFP)PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images
The altar cross at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire engulfed the building.
PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on April 16, 2019 shows a view (L) of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral on the 'Ile de la Cite' island in the Seine river in Paris on March 28, 2014 and a view of the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral on April 16, 2019. - Paris was struck in its very heart as flames devoured the roof of Notre-Dame, on April 15, 2019, the medieval cathedral made famous by Victor Hugo, its two massive towers flanked with gargoyles instantly recognisable even by people who have never visited the city. (Photos by PATRICK KOVARIK and BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)PATRICK KOVARIK,BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images
PATRICK KOVARIK,BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images