We were heartbroken and horrified to watch the news yesterday afternoon, as footage of the tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral streamed into our living room. The iconic cathedral has long been so much more than merely a place of worship. It represents the architecture, history and culture of an entire nation. It beckons travelers and pilgrims, alike, as one of the most visited sites in the entire world. And now, after a devastating fire, France is vowing to rebuild.
One of the most heartbreaking things about the Notre Dame fire, for us, has been all of the stories that have poured out about the personal connection that people have to the cathedral. One friend posted on social media about being comforted by sitting quietly in the cathedral during a difficult time. Others have posted about how visiting the cathedral was the highlight of their trip to Paris. And, sadly, we’ve seen posts from others who talked about visiting the cathedral as something that was a high priority for them…someday.
We’re heartened by the thought that Notre Dame will be rebuilt, and we’re hoping to be a small part of the effort to rebuild the cathedral, so that new generations of travelers can experience its majesty. So, as part of our Huckleberry Travel Gives Back initiative, for each booking made with us to France in 2019, we will make a donation to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, which is a international non-profit organization that works to preserve World Heritage sites across the globe.
It’s never too late to travel. The fire at Notre Dame is a reminder that places change over time—sometimes suddenly—and putting off travel that’s been on your “to do” list might mean the loss of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’ve been longing to travel to a dream destination, don’t put it off. And if you’ve been wantint to travel to France, now is the perfect time to go, because Paris can use your tourist dollars now, more than ever. And, if you’d like to help preserve iconic World Heritage sites, consider making a donation of your own to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.