The massive blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral in 2019 devastated one of the most notable monuments in Paris, placing it at the heart of the national conversation in France in a way that had not been seen since Victor Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the 19th century.
The 850-year-old monument is a symbol of French heritage dating back to the Middle Ages. Tomas Van Houtryve, a Belgian-American photographer, artist and film-maker, says the blaze and reconstruction created a new sense of appreciation for the cathedral.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” says van Houtryve. “You always have to work on preserving and protecting and cherishing what’s important around you.”