I had the fortune to visit Notre Dame a few times. It's one of those places you never forget. The first time I visited, I remember taking the batobus there. The water taxi dropped us off right next to the cathedral. The view from the water was unbelievable. It was a warm spring day and the pattern in the clouds produced some amazing photos. I came back a few more times over the years, once taking a tour through the towers with my wife.
Today, Notre Dame was severely damaged by a fire. I had so many emotions watching it burn. It was so sad to see the spire collapse and to think about the stained glass, paintings, and other artifacts getting destroyed inside. It seems especially cruel for this to happen during such an important holy week.
Exactly 3 years ago, I was able to take my then 10 and 7 year old kids to Paris. We took pictures outside Notre Dame and toured the inside. I feel so fortunately to have been able to take them there and that they got to experience the cathedral in all its glory. Seeing their sadness confirmed to me that this 800+ year old cathedral could be appreciated by all, regardless of age, race, or religion. I hope that it can be returned to its former glory. It will take years to recover but I know the Parisians will find a way.
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Chris Wills, founder and developer of the Duckwyn Travel Passport, a travel app for parents and kids to explore and document their travel adventures.