When I was going to Paris for the first time in the 80's and wanted to know more about the construction and architecture of Notre Dame, I read "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follet. Yes, a novel, but much great research and information. About two years after visiting Notre Dame, I reread it. The only book I have ever reread. The tragedy of yesterday is beyond words and so emotional. Something that old could be almost gone that fast was heartbreaking. By the way, in the campo here in Mexico, I have watched a small village building a chapel for the last 20 years. Guess what? They use the construction techniques to build with wood, pulleys, and so many other things. Quite a sight to see. Like going back to the 11th century.
I have to admit that Notre Dame was not the most awe-inspiring church or cathedral that I have seen on my travels. But there is no doubt that it was an incredible monument of world heritage... a marvel of engineering from an era that didn't have modern technology, a priceless treasure of architectural art. I too have read "Pillars of the Earth". I have enjoyed all of Ken Follett's historical novels. Have you read "World Without End", the sequel to "Pillars of the Earth"?