In what seems now to be a portent of things to come, on April 15, 2019, fire ravaged Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral. Then, in 2020, COVID-19 delayed efforts to restore the structure, a masterpiece of Catholic architecture and a French national treasure.
On April 16, almost a year to the day later, National Geographic Channel aired Saving Notre Dame (more on that here), a French-produced documentary on the rebuilding effort. Now, five months to the day after that, ABC offers a look back at the tragedy that shook many across the world.
From the inbox:
ABC will air “Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris,” a moving two-hour documentary special featuring shocking first-hand accounts of the Notre-Dame cathedral’s infamous 2019 fire, WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 16 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT).
Together with harrowing footage from within the inferno, “Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris” features interviews with firefighters, clergy, local officials, and those who were inside the cathedral on April 15, 2019, to tell the story of the fire watched around the world.
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, and is also the keeper of some of Christianity’s most priceless and revered relics.
On April 15, 2019, the unimaginable was broadcast live throughout the world: 500 Parisian firefighters were losing the battle against a raging fire that was destroying it all. The world cried and prayed, powerless as the flames threatened to wipe out nearly 900 years of history.
Ultimately the president of France and the general in charge of the Paris Fire Brigade made the significant decision of sending a commando of elite firefighters to an extremely perilous, even suicidal mission to save the cathedral.
“Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris” highlights the events of that fateful night on April 15, 2019, and showcases the brave and extraordinary efforts to save the very soul of Paris and Europe’s most precious monument.
“Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris” is produced by Propagate and Goldfish Pictures. Jules and Gedeon Naudet produced and directed the special. Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens are executive producers for Propagate. Pascal Pinning and Julien Degroote are executive producers for TF1.
As a side note, the Naudet brothers, based in Paris, both happened to be in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. Jules caught the only known video of the first hijacked plane hitting the World Trade Center; Gedeon also filmed the second impact. Both brothers filmed continuously, capturing the event as it happened. Their acclaimed special, 9/11, aired on CBS on March 10, 2002.
Also, in December 2007, CBS aired In God's Name, featuring the Naudet brothers' interviews with world religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI.
Here's an ABC News report on how Parisians reacted to the devastating Notre-Dame fire ...
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager and blog editor at Family Theater Productions.