If you’re heading to Paris in the coming days, the City of Lights will no doubt be more sombre than it typically is in summer, as Parisians mourn their landmark ‘Lady’.
The 850-year-old Notre Dame cathedral caught fire at around 4.50pm on Monday afternoon, bringing down the spire and the roof, The Guardian reports.
French President Emmanuel Macron summed up the mood of the nation when he spoke of his sadness at seeing “this part of us burn”.
“Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” he wrote on Twitter.
While in a later post he claimed they will work together to rebuild the iconic building.
“This Notre-Dame cathedral, we will rebuild it,” he said. “All together. It’s part of our French destiny. I commit myself: tomorrow a national subscription will be launched, and well beyond our borders.”
Cette cathédrale Notre-Dame, nous la rebâtirons. Tous ensemble. C’est une part de notre destin français. Je m’y engage : dès demain une souscription nationale sera lancée, et bien au-delà de nos frontières.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
Parisians speaking to international media outlets echoed the president’s emotion.
“Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before,” Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“I’m a Parisian, my father was a Parisian, my grandfather as well – this was something we brought our sons to see,” he said. “I won’t be showing this to my son.”
Notre-Dame – burning soul of the French nation.
📷 Parisians watch was their beloved cathedral burns.The heartbreaking sight drew crowds onto the streets and to viewpoints where many knelt to pray, cry or stand in stunned silencehttps://t.co/c6UU1kPZyL pic.twitter.com/mP56XmxJqG
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 16, 2019
Thibaud Binétruy, who was walking home when he saw smoke rising in the distance, told CNN: “It’s awful to see such a symbol disappearing in front of you. It’s been there for so many years and in a few minutes half of it disappears… crazy.
“Paris without Notre Dame … madness.”
Elsewhere, Australia’s Smartraveller website warned travellers to avoid the area and follow the instructions of local authorities.
While, Kellie Banditt, team leader of Travel at 60, said she had received no notices of changed tour itineraries as of Tuesday morning in Australia but that tour companies would no doubt advise customers if upcoming trips were set to be impacted by the fire.