Notre Dame holds a special place for many in the Valley

FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) Before her high school trip to France, Hannah Slagle thought it would be the Eiffel Tower that won her heart over. But instead, fell in love with the historic cathedral, Notre Dame.

"I remember walking up and it just is breathtaking. It doesn't seem as big in pictures as what you would expect. And just like, the details that they put into that, especially being 856 years old. Like, our architects sometimes can't even do that," Slagle said, who later went on to live in Lyon, France for a summer semester in college.

The French relic is a place several others in the Valley say they were also in awe of.

"So, Notre Dame is one of, in my head I guess, three main locations in Paris that I was like, 'I have to see this!'" Reyna Bergstrom, who's visited the cathedral twice, said.

"Just the stained glass windows, art on every corner... It's all really beautiful," Samuel Dobie, a two-time visitor of Notre Dame, said.

But yesterday was a different kind of awe, as Dobie and Slagle tell Valley News Live they were glued to their screens—Watching as the flames engulfed their favorite French monument.

"I think the first video I saw was the steeple falling down," Dobie said.

"It hits.To see them, their hearts breaking for something that they love so much and knowing that culture, it just hurts," Slagle said.

Notre Dame is now a place they're now celebrating and remembering with the rest of the world on social media—Sharing pictures, videos and memories of special times in and outside of the cathedral.

"It's still kind of a shock just because like, I've been sitting in the pews in that worship space. So, I guess it does hit a little close to home," Dobie said.

"It's sad to see a place that has such religious ties and is really part of France's and the world's history. And just all the art that's inside there. It's really like, 'Oh wow. It's really sad that that's gone,'" Bergstrom said.

For now, they're holding on to what used to be, and hoping for a full recovery that they can one day visit again.

"A great piece of history has been lost, but I have faith that they'll be able to restore it. Obviously it will never be the same," Slagle said.

Several of France's wealthiest residents have pledged millions of dollars to help in the cathedral's rebuilding process. The French President saying he wants to see Notre Dame's renovations done within the next five years.

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