Sadness in Germany following huge fire in Notre-Dame, 'symbol of France'

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Sadness in Germany following huge fire in Notre-Dame, 'symbol of France'
Onlookers watch in horror as flames engulf Notre-Dame on Monday. Photo: DPA

As pictures emerged of the tragic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris engulfed in flames, people all over the world, including in neighbouring country Germany, spoke of their shock and sadness.


Chancellor Angela Merkel's office called the cathedral a "symbol of France and of our European culture".

"These horrible images of Notre-Dame on fire are painful," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter.

"Notre-Dame is a symbol of France and of our European culture. Our thoughts are with our French friends."

SEE ALSO: What we know so far about the devastating Notre-Dame fire and how it started

The blaze swept through the building, causing the iconic spire to collapse in scenes that shocked the world.

The fire started in the attic of the historic Cathedral at around 6.50pm, and within minutes images and videos of the blaze were being shared around the world.
The cause of the blaze has not been confirmed but the 850-year-old cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work.
Built between the years 1163 and 1345, Notre-Dame is one of the most popular tourist sites in Paris, drawing around 13 million people every year.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also commented on the fire. He said it "hits us in the heart".

"Our thoughts are with all the emergency services and our French friends." Maas added that he hoped no one was hurt in the blaze.

People pray at the sight of Notre-Dame burning. Photo: DPA

Andrea Nahles, leader of the centre-left Social Democracts (SPD) said seeing the cathedral in flames was a "terrible sight". She praised the firefighters "who are trying to save the Parisian landmark".

"A tragic day for our French friends, we are with them," she added.

Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock also spoke of her sadness. She wrote in French that her heart was with Paris and added: "With Notre-Dame, a part of our European history is burning at this moment. How incredibly sad."

Leader of the pro-business Free Democrats said: "To all the French: we weep with you."

Markus Söder, leader of the centre-right Christian Socialists, the sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats, said: "The pictures of Notre-Dame are shocking and sad. Notre-Dame is a symbol of French and European history and culture."

SEE ALSO: Cathedral's main structure saved thanks to heroic efforts from firefighters

Photo: DPA

Söder added that he hoped it could be rebuilt quickly.

As was the case around the world, German newspapers led with the story.

Der Spiegel had the headline "Notre-Dame in flames, the burning sky over Paris."  Süddeutsche Zeitung led with "Battle for the heart of the city", while Bild wrote on a hopeful note: "We are rebuilding Notre-Dame."


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