For the first time in over two centuries, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral was unable to hold midnight mass on Christmas Eve, as reconstruction work continues after the April fire that ravaged ancient structure, RFI reports.
Father Patrick Chauvet, the cathedral’s rector, held the service at Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, a few hundred metres away.
Notre-Dame had remained open for Christmas through two centuries of often tumultuous history – including the Nazi occupation of Paris during the Second World War – and was closed only during the anti-Catholic revolutionary period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
“It isn’t the same feeling but it’s still a Christmas Mass,” said 16-year-old Juliette, who had made the 760-kilometre trip to Paris from Aix-en-Provence with her family. “There will be a thought for Notre-Dame tonight, that’s for sure.”