'Paris is disfigured': Tears and shock as Notre-Dame burns » ZOOM Zimbabwe News

‘Paris is disfigured’: Tears and shock as Notre-Dame burns

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Crowds of stunned Parisians and tourists — some crying, others offering prayers — watched on in horror in central Paris on Monday evening as flames engulfed the Notre-Dame cathedral.

Gasps and cries of “Oh my god” erupted at 7:50 pm (1750 GMT) when the top portion of the church’s spire came crashing down into an inferno that has spread to the entire roof.

More gasps came a few seconds later when the rest of the spire collapsed, caught on the cameras of thousands of mobile phones.

Notre Dame on Fire

Part of the roof of the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has collapsed as the fire is still ongoing. The Cathedral's construction began in 1163, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

Posted by ZOOM – Zimbabwe News on Monday, 15 April 2019

“Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before,” said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s, who had biked over after being alerted of the fire by a friend.

“It’s a tragedy,” he added. “If you pray, now is the time to pray.”

AFP / Patrick ANIDJARBystanders looked on as flames and smoke billowed from Notre-Dame

Police were attempting to clear pedestrians away from the two islands in the river Seine, including the Ile de la Cite which houses the soaring Gothic church, one of Europe’s best known landmarks.

But throngs of onlookers kept trying to approach, snarling traffic as they massed on the stone bridges leading to the islands.

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Another woman passed by, tears running from behind her glasses, too overwhelmed to speak to reporters.

“It’s finished, we’ll never be able to see it again,” said Jerome Fautrey, a 37-year-old who had come to watch.

“Now we need to know how this happened — with everything that’s going on in the world, why Notre-Dame? Maybe it’s a message from on high,” he said.

One police officer, arriving on one of the bridges, turned up to gape, saying “Oh my god.”

“It’s incredible, our history is going up in smoke,” said Benoit, 42, who arrived on the scene by bike. — AFP

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