Notre Dame fire leaves Faroe Islanders shocked: ‘When I saw it on the telly, I felt shocked that this could happen,’ says Tórshavn-based French teacher

Following Monday’s devastating fire at Notre Dame in Paris, people in the Faroe Islands are sharing their stories of visits to the cathedral.

“When I saw it on the telly, I felt shocked that this could happen,” said Napoleon Smith who visited Paris last month.

The gravity of shocking video and pictures showing Notre Dame on fire is weighing heavily on people across the world, including Napoleon Smith.

Mr. Smith has studied in France for five years and is currently a French teacher in Tórshavn.

Yesterday Mr. Smith spent several hours talking to friends in France, who were equally horrified and devastated seeing the Notre Dame in flames.

“I called a friend this morning, and she told me that they are all sad. And she is sad as well. Although she does not live in Paris, this has affected her and it has affected all people in France,” Mr. Smith explained in an interview with Kringvarp Føroya.

Mr. Smith continued:

“For them (the French), Notre Dame is a cultural heritage, a custom and an identity, as noted by (Emmanuel) Macron, the French president. He stated that they (the French) have lost a part of themselves.

Before the Eiffel Tower, there was only Notre Dame. Then it became Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. These two have been the symbol of the city of Paris,” Mr. Smith added philosophically.

Last month, Mr. Smith got lost while wandering the streets of Paris. Thankfully, he got back on track – thanks to Notre Dame.

“When I arrived to the city center and saw the church, I felt that now I am in Paris for real and now I can see the medieval period. It (seeing Notre Dame cathedral) gave me a thrill. I was a little bit lost, and then all of a sudden I saw this huge building. It almost sent shivers down my spine,” said Mr. Smith.

Author: Jens Hákun Leo