HOUSTON — Tears fell as smoke rose in Paris.

The Notre Dame Cathedral fire impacted people around the world, including here in Houston.

“Maybe it’s a sign from God,” said France native Marie Riviere. “I don’t know.”

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Riviere works at FLO Paris French Bakery-Café. Her attention quickly turned from fancy French cakes to the Notre Dame Cathedral.

“I was shocked when I saw it on my phone,” Riviere said. “I was really, really shocked.”

The folks at Houston’s French Alliance watched coverage on 24-hour French TV.

“I can’t believe I’m seeing this,” said office manager Angela Gomez.

She last visited Notre Dame in 2012. That’s more than 600 years after its completion.

“And I went inside and everything, it’s humongous,” Gomez said. “People wait in line. It’s very strict to get in.”

Sarah Fishman teaches French history at the University of Houston.

“It tells you you’re in the heart of Paris,” Fishman said.

Fishman is going back to France in June and hopes part of Notre Dame’s historic structure can be saved.

She’s particularly concerned about its stained glass windows.

“They took those windows out before World War II and stashed them away,” Fishman said. “That’s how much they wanted to protect them.”

It may have survived war, but how much of Notre Dame survived this fire remains to be seen.

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