By John S. Frum (Transcriber) | April 19, 2019
One of our writers has a French acquaintance, whom we will call Romain. When asked what the Cathedral of Notre Dame meant to him, he replied:
Regarding Notre Dame per se … it was something always in the landscape. That could not change. That was permanent. Immutable. Something that could only last forever. Just like the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of New York City (and the United States in general), the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris (and France in general) (both engineered by Gustave Eiffel).
But, to French people, the symbol of France was Notre Dame. Should the Eiffel Tower burn tomorrow, well, people would be sad. But nothing comparable as Notre Dame. Nobody would have given any money to rebuild it. Whereas there is money and help coming spontaneously and grassrootsly from everywhere. When a fare was set up to get into Notre Dame, the French people were shocked. French people would rather live close to Notre Dame than to the Eiffel Tower. A small coffee is better enjoyed on a terrace with Notre-Dame in sight.
Notre Dame is part of the identity of the French people. It has been there for the past 800 years. It will be there as long as there is a French people.