AP photo, published by CNN.

It was late in the afternoon of the day Notre Dame burned when my daughter called.

“This is your time period, isn’t it, Mom?”

“Well, mostly,” I answered, “apart from the 19th century Viollet le Duc restorations that, along with Victor Hugo’s novel, saved the building only that recently. One timeline has the building dating from the 13th century but it is actually far older. This building was begun inĀ  … ”

I was in defensive, art historian mode. (more…)