‘It’s a symbol of Paris and France’: French shop owner shocked by Notre Dame fire

Updated: Apr. 16, 2019 at 4:17 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Alban Pelletier was inside his Wilmington bakery when a news alert came across his cell phone that the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was on fire.

“It was heartbreaking to look at, thank God they saved most of it. They lost the roof, but the walls and structure are still intact. I’m glad they were able to save a lot of the art,” said Pelletier.

Pelletier has owned Far From France at the Point at Barclay since 2017, however, he lived in Paris for 12 years and passed by Notre Dame every day.

“When you see it burning, it’s not just about Notre Dame, it’s a symbol of Paris and France. It’s a symbol that represents more than just a Catholic church,” he said.

Pelletier said he last stepped inside the historic cathedral in 2014 but visited it several times prior to that with his wife.

“It’s beautiful, but each time you go there is like 20 or 30,000 people waiting to get in,” he said. “You can’t go to France without seeing those three main monuments: Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre.”

Pelletier added it’s devastating that the church burned down during the holiest week for the Catholic faith with Easter this Sunday.

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