France is Heartbroken After Notre Dame Fire

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News about the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris spread all over the world, my aunt heard about it before I did and texted me. I was in Paris the day it started, standing near the Arc De Triomphe with my mom.  We could see the smoke, billowing into the sky. The fire began around 6:30 pm. Sirens blared as hundreds of emergency responders fled to the cathedral. Around 500 firefighters were battling the flames. All along the River Seine people recorded the fire with their phones, many were crying. Everyone sort of came together, making those terrible moments a little more bearable.  

My mom and I walked back to our bed and breakfast.  We found our hostess huddled around the TV with her family. We all watched in horror as the 290 ft. spire collapsed. The people of France are heartbroken. Losing the cathedral is like losing a part of themselves. The Notre Dame is a symbol of Paris, around 13 million people visit it each year. The cathedral is 850 years old and is a priceless part of French history. The night of the fire felt very surreal. 

Three days before the fire, after a long day of walking in the city, I strolled through the Notre Dame Cathedral.  I remember how dark and mysterious it was, and how tall the ceilings were.

It’s still hard to grasp the event because it happened so fast.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but most suspect it was an accident and probably had something to do with the construction that was happening. Two thirds of the roof were destroyed, but the famous bell towers are still intact. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, announced that they will be rebuilding the cathedral. Macron estimates that the building will reopen in five years, but many think it could take much longer than that.

Although fire was a terrible tragedy, it also brought people together in a way that’s hard to explain. The night of April 15th is one that the world will never forget, and neither will I.