"It's awesome to see a disappearing in front of you." It's been there for so many years and in a few minutes it's disappearing … crazy, "Binétruy told CNN.
"Paris without Notre Dame … madness," he added.
His words echoed the anguish and disbelief felt by many Parisians as they watched the historic structure burn. CNN correspondent Hadas Gold said people crowded the banks of the Seine to gaze helplessly at the unthinkable.
Many Parisians towering over the river, burst into tears and hugged each other as the church succumbed to flames and billowing clouds of smoke.
The city was eerily quiet, save for the helicopters and fire trucks.
[Citation needed] The finland told CNN.
But as the burnt fire, crowds let out audible gasps and groans. [19659002Everyone'sreallyquiet"saidFinneytoAmericantouristwhovisitedthecathedralmultipletimes
When the cathedral's spire fell, everyone around her screamed.
"It's the saddest thing I've ever witnessed – the crowd standing there, a lot of people crying," Finney said. "It was just a horrible tragedy."
Even so, some Parisians – silent tender after a series of deadly terrorist attacks in the French capital in 2015 – showed resilience Monday in the face of disaster.
CNN's Gianluca Mezzofiore and Hadas's Gold contributed to this story.