CMU Professor of French, Christi Brookes, feels impact of fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

MT. PLEASANT (WJRT) - (04/16/19) - The fires may be out at Notre Dame Cathedral, but hearts are still burning across the world.

A Professor of French at Central Michigan University toured, researched, and taught in France. Professor Christi Brookes says she has a 4-year-old son, and she's devastated he'll never see the Notre Dame Cathedral that she knew.

Brookes says it's not only a sacred place, but it's the heart and sole identity of Paris. So much so that when asked what it would translate to in America, she says a comparison does not exist.

"Notre Dame really is so super tied to the identity of France. It's not just spiritual. It's cultural. It's political. It's architectural. It holds much of France's history. Unlike Independence Hall or The White House or the Empire State Building, these are all separate things. In France, all of that is located within Notre Dame," Brookes said.

Brookes says Notre Dame Cathedral can be seen from many places, as it's in the center of Paris.

Historically, it's also at the heart of France. It was associated with the Early Medieval University. Napoleon was crowned emperor there in the 19th Century. It was rebuilt in the 19th century after Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame. When Paris was liberated from the Germans in 1944, the cathedral is where the bells rang out.

With history tied so intimately to the city and country, Brookes believes action will be taken to prevent future tragedies.

"There will be discussions not just within France but worldwide about how we take care of these precious world heritage sites and cultural artifacts. There will be a larger discussion about how to do that and how to do it well," Brookes said.

Despite the tragedy, Brookes says France is known for comebacks.

She believes Paris and France will rebuild - as it always does.

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