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Notre Dame Cathedral will rise again. But it will never be the same.

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"You still haven't seen Notre Dame's west facade," we tease my dad. The first time my mum, an art historian and Gothic architecture obsessive, took us to Paris's iconic cathedral, the front was covered in scaffolding, as workers were painstakingly removing years of accumulated grime, turning the brooding, dark grey stone so many shades lighter that it almost seemed white. My mum, my sister and I visited the lightened edifice years later. My dad had to work. We rub it in.

Flames and smoke rise as the spire on Notre Dame cathedral collapses.Credit:AP

Uncovered were the 28 kings of Judah, standing in a dramatic row on the cathedral's facade. Mistaken for old French monarchs, the statues were beheaded and removed during the tumult of the French Revolution. New versions were installed in the 19th century. Human ingenuity built Notre Dame. Human folly has marred it. Human reverence for the old and the beautiful has rescued it - before, anyway.

We walked on the roof to observe the church's profuse decoration more........

© Brisbane Times