🌸 Notre Dame in Spring: A 🚲 Tribute 🌸

Just over two weeks ago, Paris was hit with a devastating fire that struck it right in its figurative heart. I had been in the side garden where the cherry blossoms were in bloom just days before shooting the trees, and of course, my bike. The trees were still in bloom when the fire hit, and when I went to watch as the cathedral burned, I couldn’t bring myself to go watch from the Seine side, where I might see those beautiful trees burning, too.

Notre Dame is well-known across the world and is always among the top destinations for tourists to visit in Paris. And yet, I find many people don’t know the history of the cathedral. Construction work began on Notre Dame in 1180. Yes, you read that right. And it took 200 years to finish. Through centuries of construction and use, the Cathedral has weathered French history through religious wars, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Era, World Wars, and so much more.

As I wrote about in my previous post about the fire, Notre Dame lost its spire last month, but this is not the first time that has happened. In 1786, after the spire’s supporting structure was deemed no longer strong enough to sustain it that restorers removed it and replaced it. A dedicated team has been key to keeping the Cathedral well maintained over the centuries. It seems we owe them a debt of gratitude now more than ever seeing that the Cathedral is still standing.

Julia Willard, Julia Arias, Julie Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Spring in Paris, France, Notre Dame, cherry blossoms

Before this area became overrun by Instagrammers, in 2017 I borrowed a passerby’s bicycle for a quick photoshoot. Photo by G. Lane.

I have been photographing the Cathedral and the surrounding area since I first moved to Paris in 2006. I lived down the street from Notre Dame, on Île Saint Louis, and am embarrassed to say I’m not sure I ever fully appreciated my proximity to it the way I should have. Since I started by photography business and blog, it has become one of the most important and sought-after subjects of my work. I hope you enjoy these photos, as it was pure joy for me to shoot them.

A few photos of my bike from before the fire 🌸🚲




“If we lose Notre Dame, we’re not losing only a sacred space, and not only an art treasure. Notre Dame is a symbol of human accomplishment, and more than that, of social accomplishment. It’s not the work of any one person, but of generations upon generations of labor.”

~ Constance Grady


Check out my other posts featuring Notre Dame here:

🍁🍂 Fall in Paris 🍂🍁

Paris in autumn is a dream. From sunrise to sunset the angle of the sun at this time of year seems to make the city even more magical. Here are a few of my favorite spots to enjoy Paris in the fall. Click any photo to take you to my [...]

November 16th, 2019|
All images are © Julia Willard and may not be used without express written permission. Click any image in this series to be taken to my photography shop. Don’t see the one you want? Just email me!
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