Notre-Dame Cathedral Was Reportedly Saved from "Total Destruction"

Plus, what we know about the fate of the artworks and relics inside—including the Crown of Thorns.

image
YOAN VALAT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Notre-Dame Cathedral is an architectural and historical marvel—but it's also home to many priceless works of art and religious relics. In the wake of yesterday's fire, here's what we know about any surviving artifacts, as well as the state of the structure itself.

The cathedral has been found to be structurally sound.

Despite losing its spire and two-thirds of its roof, and sustaining three large holes in its ceiling—one of which was caused by the spire's collapse—Notre-Dame was declared structurally sound after an inspection this morning.

In the words of Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet, the cathedral has been "saved and preserved as a whole," per . That includes the twin bell towers, as well as the cathedral's beloved bell Emanuelle.

image
A view of the inside of the Cathedral, just following the fire.
YOAN VALAT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

The famous rose windows reportedly don't "appear to be damaged."

The trio of iconic stained-glass windows seem to have survived intact, but according to the , French culture minister Franck Riester noted that they would need to be inspected more carefully to be sure.

"It’s a bit of a miracle. We’re very relieved," cathedral spokesman André Finot told BFMTV.

FRANCE-RELIGION-CROWN-THORNS
A priest at Notre-Dame wipes the Crown of Thorns.
PHILIPPE LOPEZGetty Images

The Crown of Thorns—Notre-Dame's "most precious relic"—has been saved.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed that the cathedral's "most precious and most venerated relic," was not damaged in the fire. The religious relic is believed by some to have been worn by Jesus Christ before the crucifixion. Per , Hidalgo also said that "the significant collection art work and holy objects kept inside the church has been recovered."

The tunic believed to have ties to St. Louis is also safe, as are many other items that were located in the cathedral's treasury. However, the fate of many other artworks and artifacts remains unclear.

As for the monument's paintings, they'll be transported to the Louvre to be examined and restored by experts, Riester said. "The large paintings, at first glance, have not been affected by the fire," Riester explained, per the . "But, often in these situations, there is water damage."

FRANCE-NOTRE DAME-STATUES-RESTORATION
An expert displays the statues removed last week, which are currently at a workshop near Bordeaux.
GEORGES GOBETGetty Images

Last week, copper statues were removed from the roof as a part of the cathedral's ongoing renovations, almost certainly saving them.

Sixteen statues—of twelve apostles and four evangelists—were taken down from the cathedral's roof near the spire on April 11. This morning, photos emerged of the artworks intact, safe inside a workshop in Bordeaux.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Life + Culture