大火和浓烟从巴黎圣母院的塔顶滚滚而出。Francois Guillot/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
PARIS — Notre-Dame cathedral, the symbol of the beauty and history of Paris, was scarred by an extensive fire on Monday evening that caused its delicate spire to collapse, bruised the Parisian skies with smoke and further disheartened a city already back on its heels after weeks of violent protests.
The spectacle of flames leaping from the cathedral’s wooden roof — its spire glowing red then turning into a virtual cinder — stunned thousands of onlookers who gathered along the banks of the Seine and packed into the plaza of the nearby Hôtel de Ville, gasping and covering their mouths in horror and wiping away tears.
大火过后的圣母院内部。 POOL PHOTO BY PHILIPPE WOJAZER
上千名巴黎人和游客聚集在塞纳河畔，震惊地看着大火透过大教堂的木屋顶并摧毁了部分尖顶。 YOAN VALAT/EPA, VIA SHUTTERSTOCK
“It is like losing a member of one’s own family,” said Pierre Guillaume Bonnet, a 45-year-old marketing director. “For me there are so many memories tied up in it.”
“感觉就像失去了家庭成员，”45岁的营销总监皮埃尔·纪尧姆·博内(Pierre Guillaume Bonnet)说。“对我来说，这里有太多的回忆。”
Around 500 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly five hours. By 11 p.m. Paris time, the structure had been “saved and preserved as a whole,” the fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said. The two magnificent towers soaring above the skyline had been spared, he said, but two-thirds of the roof was destroyed.
圣母院建于12世纪和13世纪，目前正在进行大规模的翻新工程。 PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE — GETTY IMAGES
消防队员保存了一些教堂中的艺术品，但没有说明大楼内部的损坏情况。 ERIC FEFERBERG/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE — GETTY IMAGES
“The worst has been avoided even though the battle is not completely won,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a brief and solemn speech at Notre-Dame on Monday night, vowing that the cathedral would be rebuilt.
“This is the place where we have lived all of our great moments, the epicenter of our lives,” he said. “It is the cathedral of all the French.”
目击者说，当天最后一批游客试图进入教堂时，圣母院的大门突然关闭，且没有任何解释。 IAN LANGSDON/EPA, VIA SHUTTERSTOCK
巴黎圣母院是巴黎最着名的地标之一，每年吸引约1300万游客。 GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE — GETTY IMAGES
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, officials said. But it appeared to have begun in the interior network of wooden beams, many dating back to the Middle Ages and nicknamed “the forest,” said the cathedral’s rector, Msgr. Patrick Chauvet.
No one was killed, officials said, but a firefighter was seriously injured.
巴黎检察官办公室表示已开始调查失火原因。 THIBAULT CAMUS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The fire broke out about 6:30 p.m., upending Mr. Macron’s plans to deliver an important policy speech about trying to heal the country from months of “Yellow Vest” demonstrations that had already defaced major landmarks in the capital and disfigured some of its wealthiest streets.
The tragedy seemed to underscore the challenges heaped before his administration, which has struggled to reconcile the formidable weight of France’s ideals and storied past with the necessity for change to meet the demands of the 21st century.
A jewel of medieval Gothic architecture built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre-Dame is a landmark not only for Paris, where it squats firmly yet gracefully at its very center, but for all the world. The cathedral is visited by about 30,000 people a day and around 13 million people a year.
For centuries France’s kings and queens were married and buried there. Napoleon was crowned emperor in Notre-Dame in 1804, and the joyous thanksgiving ceremony after the Liberation of Paris in 1944 took place there, led by Charles de Gaulle.
在长达几个世纪的时间里，那里一直是法国国王和王后结婚和被埋葬的地点。1804年，拿破仑在巴黎圣母院加冕为皇帝。1944年巴黎解放后，在夏尔·戴高乐(Charles de Gaulle)的主持下，圣母院举行了欢乐的感恩庆典。
World leaders congregated at the cathedral in a memorial service for Mr. de Gaulle in 1970, and then again for President François Mitterrand in 1996.
On Monday evening, as the last rush of tourists were trying to get in for the day, the doors of Notre-Dame were abruptly shut without explanation, witnesses said. Within moments, tiny bits of white smoke started rising from the spire — which, at 295 feet, was the highest part of the cathedral.
Billowing out, the smoke started turning gray, then black, making it clear that a fire was growing inside the cathedral, which is currently covered in scaffolding. Soon, orange flames began punching out of the spire, quickly increasing in intensity.
The French police rushed in and started blowing whistles, telling everyone to move back, witnesses said. By then, the flames were towering, spilling out of multiple parts of the cathedral.
Tourists and residents alike came to a standstill, pulling out their phones to call their loved ones. Older Parisians began to cry, lamenting how their national treasure was quickly being lost.
Thousands stood on the banks of the Seine river and watched in shock as the fire tore through the cathedral’s wooden roof and brought down the spire. Video filmed by onlookers and shared on social media showed smoke and flames billowing from the top of the cathedral.
Jean-Louis Martin, 56, a native of Dijon in eastern France who works at the university in Geneva, gasped as the flames leapt up. “It hurts me,” he said. “There are no words. It’s just horrible.”
56岁的让-路易斯·马丁(Jean-Louis Martin)是法国东部的第戎人，现在日内瓦的大学工作。看着火焰升腾而起，他发出惊叫。 “我好难过，”他说。 “我无法形容。这太可怕了。”
The crowd gasped and cried in horror when the spire fell. “Paris is beheaded,” said Pierre-Eric Trimovillas, 32.
Vincent Dunn, a fire consultant and former New York City fire chief, said that fire hose streams could not reach the top of such a cathedral, and that reaching the top on foot was often an arduous climb over winding steps.
“These cathedrals and houses of worship are built to burn,” he said. “If they weren’t houses of worship, they’d be condemned.”
The city’s prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation.
Monsignor Chauvet said firefighters were able to save some of the cathedral’s artworks but did not say how much was damaged inside the building. A linen fabric associated with Saint Louis, the Holy Crown of thorns and the cathedral’s treasury were saved.
Mr. Gallet, the fire chief, said firefighters were still rescuing artworks in the building, hours after the fire had started. The main risk, he said, was the smoke within the cathedral, and the fall of materials, including melting lead.
The cathedral had been undergoing extensive renovation work. Last week, 16 copper statues representing the Twelve Apostles and four evangelists were lifted with a crane so that the spire could be renovated.
The cathedral had been in dire need of a thorough and expensive restoration, André Finot, the cathedral spokesman, told The New York Times in 2017.
Broken gargoyles and fallen balustrades had been replaced by plastic pipes and wooden planks. Flying buttresses had been darkened by pollution and eroded by rainwater. Pinnacles had been propped up by beams and held together with straps. In some places, limestone crumbled at a finger’s touch.
Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College in New York, said construction work and renovations had long been a dangerous combination.
纽约约翰·杰伊学院(John Jay College)消防学副教授格伦·科贝特(Glenn Corbett)表示，建筑工程和翻修一直是危险的组合。
“There’s a history of churches and synagogues and other houses of worship falling victim to construction fires,” he said, adding that one of the reasons for the peril was the proximity of open flames on torches, sparks from welders and other hazards on scaffolding to other flammable materials.
In recent years, the Friends of Notre-Dame, a foundation based in the United States, estimated that the structure needed nearly $40 million for urgent repairs. The French state, which owns the cathedral, already devotes up to 2 million euros a year in upkeep, or about $2.4 million.
近年来，据总部位于美国的巴黎圣母院之友基金会(Friends of Notre-Dame)估计，这座建筑需要近4000万美元进行紧急修复。大教堂所属的法国政府每年投入的保养费用已高达200万欧元，约合240万美元。
The fire came during Holy Week, six days before Easter Sunday. For Roman Catholics, the cathedral has been a spiritual pilgrimage site for generations. France has a deep Catholic history, and nearly two-thirds of its population is Catholic, even though fewer and fewer attend Mass.
“It’s apocalyptic,” said Eleanor Batreau, 45, who organizes pilgrimages to Lourdes and sometimes works at Notre-Dame. “It reminds me of Dresden burning. I’m a Catholic, and Notre-Dame is a symbol of Mary.”
The risk of the fire is not just to the cathedral itself, but also to the gargoyles that cover its walls and to the stained glass, particularly its “rose” windows.
The largest of its bells, which dates to 1681, managed to survive the French Revolution and has been rung at some of the most important events in French history, including both World Wars.
Yet the fire is likely to be just the latest, if most dramatic, insult to a landmark that has endured decades of neglect and damage, some at the hands of French revolutionaries, through its more than 850-year history.
Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, “Notre-Dame of Paris,” noted even then that “one cannot but regret, cannot but feel indignant at the innumerable degradations and mutilations inflicted on the venerable pile, both by the action of time and the hand of man.”
作者：Adam Nossiter, Aurelien Breeden
Liz Alderman、lian Peltier、Constant MeheutDaphné Anglès和Marlise Simons自巴黎、Alex Marshall自伦敦、Elizabeth Dias自华盛顿、James Glanz自纽约对本文有报道贡献。