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  1. ITV Report

Parisians describe their heartbreak in the aftermath of Notre-Dame blaze

For generations, Notre Dame has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer, and on Monday night many feared she was to be lost forever.

The hundreds of Parisians who mounted a vigil as Notre-Dame burned gave voice, in their songs and tears, to the grief of a nation.

But the cathedral stands for more than the pride and patriotic spirit of France - Notre-Dame is one of the revered treasures of the world.

ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy spoke to Parisians about the impact the fire has had.

The aftermath inside Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral. Credit: AP

Juliana Angotti said she has mixed emotions about Notre-Dame.

She said: "I wanted to see that it's still here.

"I am very sad, but I am happy because it's still strong and it's still here, it's still beautiful".

Last night Marie Delahaye watched as the cathedral burned, remembering how her grandparents brought her as a little girl to play in its shadow.

"You're just watching your main woman of the town dying in front of your eyes and you can't do anything," she said.

"It's not just about religion, so it's kind of a big house for everyone and to see that house burning, it's a real strong image to see."

That house was the centrepiece of the celebrations for the Liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation, in 1944.

One of the architects of that liberation, President Charles de Gaulle, was honoured with a memorial service there in 1970.

It was also the setting for that most famous French novel, Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The cathedral has also offered welcome to those born beyond these borders.

Charlie McKenzie left the UK four years ago and worked as a guide inside Notre Dame ever since.

He describes the positivity that is shared among residents.

"It was appalling to see it in that condition, the optimism of it though, seeing the most important parts of the structure still standing, you can't really explain it.

"It may be decades before it's up and running again but that's just another chapter in its story."