Idris Elba, Ellie Goulding and more stars react to the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire

By Meaghan Wray

History buffs, travellers and big names around the world mourned the Notre-Dame Cathedral as it burned on Monday (April 15). After a 12-hour fight and the loss of the grand building’s spire and roof, the cathedral mostly remains standing after nearly 1,000 years.

The twin bell towers and the Notre Dame’s iconic 18th century organ remain intact, and efforts are underway to preserve everything else possible. Most of its artwork was saved, but many people – including celebrities from Idris Elba to Ellie Goulding, Maisie Williams and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – are mourning the incredible loss during renovations leading up to Easter, which is celebrated by western Catholics and Protestants this week.

It is difficult to understate Notre-Dame’s cultural importance to Paris – and to France. Notre-Dame de Paris sits on the spot where the city was founded in the Middle Ages. It is also said to have been the location of a Roman temple in ancient times. Construction began on the building in 1160 and was finally completed 100 years later. The entire city is built around Notre-Dame, with its 20 arrondissements spiralling out like a shell from the location of the cathedral out to the suburbs. It is the very heart of the city. Throughout its long history, Notre-Dame has survived much, including being desecrated during the French Revolution. It is a symbol of hope, having also weathered both world wars and the Nazi occupation. Twelve million people visit it daily.

Here’s a look at what many famous names were saying as they heard about and saw the blaze.

Nearly everyone expressed sadness and disbelief at the news.

Others shared their own experiences at Notre-Dame in expressing sadness at the news.

Others pointed out that Notre-Dame has overcome much throughout its history.

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