Pictures emerging on the internet are showing the Notre Dame treasures which have survived the huge fire that ripped through the 850-year old cathedral on Monday – but countless others are still unaccounted for.
Experts are entering the wreckage of the Paris landmark to find which of the precious artworks and religious relics have survived the inferno
The mayor of Paris said that one of the most irreplaceable items – the crown of thorns reputed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion – was safe last night.
Also saved were the 17th Century Descent from The Cross, a 1723 statue by Nicolas Coustou sits on the cathedral’s high altar and Virgin of Paris, a 14th Century life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus.
The church’s 13th-century stained glass windows are also safe, but there are fears for its magnificent organ, while the wooden roof and ornate spire have gone.
The country’s Culture Minister Franck Riester told reporters outside Notre Dame that other works are being transferred from a storeroom in City Hall to the Louvre on Tuesday and Wednesday. There they will be dehumidified, protected and eventually restored.
He said that the cathedral’s greatest paintings will be removed starting Friday. He said, “We assume they have not been damaged by the fire but there will eventually be damage from the smoke.”
Firefighters, police, and churchmen risked their lives Monday night to carry priceless historical artifacts and religious relics away from the flames which engulfed Notre Dame.
Monday’s fire destroyed the cathedral roof and collapsed the spire.
Jean-Marc Fournier, a chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade who was also a hero of the Bataclan terror attacks, rushed into the burning cathedral to save the crown.
The Mayor of Paris tweeted her thanks to first responders for forming ‘a formidable human chain’ to save irreplaceable objects including the relic believed by Catholics to be the crown of thorns which was put on Jesus’ head as he died on the cross.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo went on: ‘The Crown of Thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place.’