Thursday 18 April 2019

Notre Dame architect discusses possibility that the fire was arson

A reader has posted this very interesting interview with the retired 'architect of Notre Dame' about the fire. 

He seems to think arson is possible. 

I have no idea and don't particularly suspect arson, but it is very strange, very telling and very dismaying that people who merely ask if it was arson are being demonised in left-of-centre newspapers like the Independent. 

I asked a British journalist friend if it could be arson at 21.30 French time on the night of the fire and he said the police had ruled it out. I said aren't journalists meant to ask awkward questions? His reply: journalists should not repeat baseless and provocative allegations. 

I was reminded of what Douglas Murray said about journalists seeing their role as negotiating between their readers and the truth.

I assume that the fire was not terrorism because what would be the point of terrorists setting fire to Notre Dame and not claiming responsibility? In fact, I am writing this mainly to annoy people who think one should not write about the possibility of arson.


  1. “Before proclaiming ourselves builders, let us recognize first that we are inheritors...
    Notre-Dame de Paris does not belong to us,” he said. “We are the first to see it burn: Our only duty is to restore her, with the patience that an absolute masterpiece requires, to pass it on the way we received it.”

    François-Xavier Bellamy

  2. The cathedrals, for all their sacred origins, call to mind a worldly folk saying: The first half of your life, you work for your name; the second half of your life, your name works for you. Over centuries France constructed its monuments. Now monuments construct France. What would it be without them? The bitter truth is that these old things are what is most impressive and special about France, partly because they have been “consecrated” by age but also because they embody realities that many people regret being cut off from.

    The fire at Notre-Dame is harrowing in a way that feels religious because it is religious: It forces us to understand France as those who created it understood it. The people weeping on the banks of the Seine must have sensed this, even if they could not put into words exactly what they were weeping over.

    Why Did Nonbelievers Grieve for Notre-Dame?