The images of the fire are haunting. 12 million people reportedly visit the monument every year, making it one of the biggest tourist attractions in Paris.
"I've never seen that before", he said.
"It's very upsetting", Kei told News4Jax.
Notre Dame is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It was a true privilege, he said.
"It's terrible. It's a symbol of Paris", Bukalski said.
What moved him most was the music.
"France has lost something really, really great", said a traveler.
"It's an absolute tragedy", said Professor Bourg.
Casbarian also founded Rice Architecture Paris, which is a program that brings Rice students to the City of Lights for a semester of study. Notre Dame sites on the Seine river, on a spot where a previous cathedral, the Saint-Étienne, had stood for at least 400 years before. During the French Revolution, heads were chopped off of statues of biblical characters, and a goddess of liberty replaced the Virgin Mary in some places, Lucas said.
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Historians expressed incredulity at the collapse of a building that has been a symbol of France for nearly a millennium and withstood war and revolution.
The space is now gutted by fire. As night fell, people clutched flickering candles, still praying as ochre-colored plumes of smoke billowed in a dimming sky.
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"Dear friends", Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit tweeted in French Monday.
She noted that while cathedrals bombed in World War II were rebuilt, it's hard to imagine how long that would take or what it would cost to rebuild Notre Dame. "Our hearts are with the citizens of France and to the legends of the Notre-Dame, real and fictional ones". Baizan's husband studied engineering in Paris and visits multiple times a year - and even taught their children how to speak French. " H.R.H. the Grand Duchess, godmother of the Bourdon Marie of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris". "We're still working to save the cathedral's work of arts".
"Great edifices, like great mountains, are the work of centuries", Hugo wrote in his 1831 masterpiece. "Art often undergoes a transformation while they are pending... they proceed quietly in accordance with the transformed art".
In the early hours of Tuesday, French firefighters said they might have managed to save the towers, however, leaving open the possibility that Notre Dame may rise from the ashes and be restored to its splendor once again.
"This is the absolute worst time it can happen", said Shepherd, of the Washington National Cathedral, of the week that includes mourning and reflection on the Crucifixion and a time of celebration of the Christian belief in Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday. "Everything is burning", the spokesman for Notre Dame, Andre Finot, told AFP.
Prosecutors believe the fire was an accident and may have started amid a renovation project at the cathedral.