INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Shock and sadness were felt across the world as people watched flames and smoke surround the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.
"It's a sad day for everyone, not only for the people of Paris, for French people, but really for everyone," said Fabrice Lumineau, associate professor at Purdue University.
In the heart of Paris for more than 800 years, the cathedral is the city's most visited monument. Every year, 13 million people come to see it.
"It's amazing Gothic architecture, and in this sense there's no replacing it," said Lumineau, who we spoke with over Skype.
Lumineau was born near Paris and lived in the city for several years.
"Of course at the time it took several centuries to build such a cathedral, but it was the very best technology of the time worldwide," he said.
Teaching from the textbook and experience, Ball State's Fred Suppe studied the Notre Dame Cathedral for decades and has been there twice.
"It's significant for a number of reasons. One is the name - Notre Dame means 'out mother.' It refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. And this is one of the first cathedrals or big churches that's dedicated to her. In the early middle ages, churches are usually dedicated to male saints," said Suppe.
The massive fire happened as the cathedral was undergoing renovations.
"Notre Dame Cathedral is a major Christian monument, a major church for people around the world," said Suppe.
The landmark watched over the city for centuries. Now, tourists and those who call Paris home will stand and sing from the streets to pay their respects.