Houstonians reflect on Notre Dame Cathedral's influence

Houstonians reflect on Notre Dame Cathedral's influence

"@emmanuelMacron, we stand at the sides of the French people", wrote the Greek prime minister. It has marked significant moments in French history, such as the end of World War II, as well as holidays and special occasions.

French police have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire, which potentially may be linked to the $10m (NZ) renovations being undertaken at the cathedral.

Despite the dramatic image of the flaming cathedral, no one was killed. Remarkably, only one of the about 400 firefighters who battled the blaze was injured, officials said.

Last week, 16 religious statues were removed from the peak of the building for the first time in over a century to be taken for cleaning and therefore escaped the blaze.

Nearby buildings were evacuated as fears mounted that the structure could collapse.

Others sang with their eyes focused on the sky that had gone from blue to yellow and orange, and filled with acrid smoke.

Large portions of one of the world's greatest tourist attractions have been saved. KPRC2 reporter Sophia Beausoleil visited a French cafe and met a husband and wife who say they've spent a lot of time in Paris and were saddened by what they saw on the news Monday.

In an impromptu act of togetherness and hope, Parisians and people just visiting France's charismatic capital came together to pray for Notre Dame as a fire quickly advanced through the cathedral.

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit invited priests across France to ring church bells in a call for prayers.

Late Monday, signs pointed to the fire nearing an end as lights could be seen through the windows moving around the front of the cathedral, apparently investigators inspecting the scene.

Ashley Huntington, 21, an American university student studying in Paris, said: 'Our class ran what was supposed to be 30 minutes walking but we probably got here in 20 running.

Firefighters are now fighting to save the rest of the 850-year-old building, which caught fire in the early hours of the morning (Australian time).

The Vatican issued the following statement: "The Holy See has learned with shock and sadness the news of the awful fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world".

Earlier he told his compatriots that a "part of us" is on fire as hundreds of stunned Parisians lined the banks of the Seine to watch the cathedral burn.

Macron arrived at the scene of the fire Monday night.

Built over a century starting in 1163, Notre Dame is considered to be among the finest examples of French Gothic cathedral architecture. Its architecture is renowned for, among other things, its many gargoyles and iconic flying buttresses. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year.

Most of the original stained glass windows were long ago destroyed, according to Cohen. Its priceless treasures also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.

The Kings of Bahrain and Morocco have also expressed their solidarity with the French people. "You can feel it in the stone, in those monuments".

U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking at the start of an appearance in Minnesota, spoke of the "terrible, bad fire" that devastated "one of the great treasures of the world".

Notre Dame survived being ransacked by rioting Huguenots in the 16th century, pillaging during the French Revolution of the 1790s and being left in a state of semi-neglect until Victor Hugo's 1831 novel The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, which led to renewed interest in the cathedral and a major restoration which began in 1844.

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