Remembering the Notre Dame cathedral fire: 1 year later

PARIS -- On April 15, 2019, the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire, with horrified Parisians watching as its iconic spire burned and fell to the ground.

One year later, the beloved French landmark is still scarred, and renovation work ground to a halt with the coronavirus lockdown in place nationwide in France since March 17.

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Yet despite the damage and global crisis, the cathedral briefly came back to life as a center for prayer.

On Good Friday, Paris' Archbishop Michel Aupetit led Good Friday celebrations from inside the cathedral. With the cathedral off-limits to the public and Paris in lockdown, the half-dozen people were the only participants in the proceedings, but they were broadcast live. There was no Easter service, and there are no plans to mark the anniversary of the devastating fire.

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The spire above the Notre Dame cathedral toppled over after it was engulfed in flames amid a blaze that raged through the Paris landmark.

Notre Dame survived years of wars and revolutions.

Construction on Notre Dame - French for "Our Lady" - began in the 12th century and continued for nearly 200 years. It sustained damage and fell into neglect during the French Revolution, but received renewed attention following the 1831 publication of Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame." This led to two decades of restorations, including the cathedral's famous flying buttresses and a reconstructed spire.

It has stood, in the words of one art expert, as "one of the great monuments to the best of civilization."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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