It's been a few days for Paris. On April 15, a massive fire engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, one of the city's most treasured landmarks. Though the fire has since been extinguished, firefighters and officials have been accessing the damage and it looks there's going to be a long, long road to recovery. These photos of Notre Dame after the fire show what they're dealing with.
For what it's worth, though, the cathedral doesn't look so bad from the outside. Of course, there's some major damage, including the destruction of the cathedral's iconic top spire. But as French President Emmanuel Macron said, per CNN, "The worst has been avoided. The façade and the two main towers did not collapse." The New York Times adds that the building is still "structurally sound."
The inside of it is a different story, though. Much of the interior seems to be blackened and charred, including famed parts of the 850-year-old building. While the altar appears to be preserved (for the most part, at least), other areas are scorched and filled with rubble. It's a really sad scene for such a historic monument. So maybe brace yourself for these few photos:
IDK about you, but I don't think I'd be able to tell which section of this building this is if it weren't for the cross, which is absolutely heartbreaking.
But as you can see in this next one, not all of it is ruined. While the roof has collapsed — and the still-burning fire in the vaulted ceiling is visible through the holes — much remains intact.
Some of the famed artwork housed in the cathedral, like Nicolas Coustou's famous Pietà statue, was visible and appeared relatively intact. Paris' Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote on Twitter on April 15 that firefighters, police, and municipal workers had created a "formidable" human chain to save many of the treasures of the cathedral, including Catholic relics like the crown of thorns and the tunic of St. Louis.
So what caused this? According to USA Today, investigators are still trying to figure that out, but it may have been an accident caused by construction to restore the cathedral. The fire apparently started in the attic of the building and spread from there. The New York Times points out, though, that investigators are having trouble determining a cause because any potential evidence was likely destroyed by the flames.
While officials try to figure out that cause, others have banded together to try to pick up the pieces. According to Insider, some of France's richest people have pledged a total of $675 million to help rebuild the center. Among them are Bernard Arnault, who is reportedly the richest person in the country and third-richest in the world, and who pledged to donate $226 million, as well as François-Henri Pinault, who vowed to donated 100 million euros. According to the outlet, it is unclear how much it will cost to restore the cathedral.
Others have extended condolences and well wishes to the country. President Barack Obama was one of many who shared some kind words, alongside a photo of himself and his family at the cathedral. Hillary Clinton sent her heart "out to Paris" while Queen Elizabeth II sent a message to President Macron, obtained by ABC News, offering thoughts and prayers to "those who worship at the Cathedral and all of France at this difficult time."
Here are some ways you can help Notre Dame in Paris, too, so the famous monument can live on for even more centuries.