Mainers who witnessed the enormous fire that engulfed the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on Monday described the experience as harrowing and surreal.
Ellsworth High School sent a group of 13 students, alongside five chaperones, to Paris this week on a trip to study the artists of France and Spain. The group arrived in the city on Saturday, and one of the first places the students visited was the cathedral.
Jasmine Ireland, drama teacher at Ellsworth High, said the group had planned to take a tour of the cathedral Tuesday before leaving Paris to spend a few days in the Provence region of France. Ireland said the group was on its way to the Eiffel Tower at around 6 p.m. Paris time Monday, but had to turn around and return to the hotel after receiving the notification about the fire.
“It can only be described as surreal. The students are both stunned and heartbroken,” Ireland said. “It was one of the first places we set eyes on when we arrived, and they were so in awe of it. We saw them giving Mass in the courtyard yesterday to thousands of onlookers for Palm Sunday. Unreal.”
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
More by Emily Burnham