To all Parisians and Europeans, Notre Dame is simply a wonder. There it stands, the subject of pride and admiration. Each time we passed by, even if we’d seen it a thousand times, we’d always at least glance at it, almost as if we had to. And yet we took that wonder for granted. Not that it became invisible or that we stopped noticing it, but because it simply stood there as it should: like the pyramids, Greek theatres or the temples of ancient Rome. It was a wonder of the world, an eternal monument that existed well before us and would long outlive us too.
The sorrow becomes even deeper when you realise that the catastrophe of Notre Dame represents so perfectly the condition of contemporary Europeans: people condemned to live among wonders, taking them for granted, ignorant of the fact that they may disappear– then suddenly finding themselves in a situation they’d never envisioned.