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French natives living in Madison look on in disbelief as Notre Dame burns

MADISON (WKOW) — As flames engulfed one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, people around the globe looked on in disbelief, including the owners of a French cafe in Madison.

“My family in France sent me a text on my phone saying, ‘Did you see what’s happening at Notre Dame?'” said Carine Vigy, who owns La Baguette with her husband on Madison’s west side.

She quickly flipped on a French television news station and was captivated by the images.

“We’ve been glued to the TV ever since it’s been on. It’s on the French news constantly,” said Vigy. “And I’m still processing the whole thing as it’s still going on. It’s a shock,” she explained as she looked on.

She grew up in east Paris and said the gothic cathedral was the jewel of the city.

“I suppose they’re doing what they can, but I don’t know how and why they’re not able to stop,” said Vigy.

As the news developed, Vigy became more and more concerned about the history and paintings inside the burning cathedral.

“You don’t know how much damage is going to be done. I mean, it’s a landmark in Paris,” she said.

Those who were in her bakery and cafe watched the television as they sipped their drinks, fixated on the heartbreaking videos being shown.

Notre Dame was a place Vigy said she and her family would often visit when they had family in town or were passing by. She described it as a place that would take your breath away with its beauty.

“It just feels so strong and so powerful. You can’t guess that it’s so fragile inside actually,” she added.

A heartbreaking start to the holiest week that will now be scorched into an unimaginable history.

Hunter Sáenz

Reporter, WKOW

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