Michelle Obama almost witnessed firsthand the destruction of Notre Dame. As the fires were ravaging the historic cathedral, the former First Lady was dining in Paris.
The world watched in horror on April 15 as fires tore through Notre Dame, and Michelle Obama, 55, was one of the many people left aghast at the destruction of the French landmark. However, unlike those whose eyes were glued to news coverage of the fire, the former FLOTUS was actually in France when the blaze broke out (h/t TMZ, and click here to see pictures of Michelle on the river cruise.) Michelle, who was in Paris for a Conference at the Accord Hotel as part of the promotion of her bestseller, Becoming, had boarded the Ducasse sur Seine, a dinner cruise, earlier in the night. Though the night began joyous, with the former First Lady sipping wine with her fellow guests, the mood shifted when chef Alain Ducasse showed her coverage of the fire.
Michelle’s expression “completely changed,” according to BACKGRID, as she was visibly concerned over what she saw. She almost got a front-row view of the destruction. Notre Dame is one of the focal points of the Ducasse sur Seine, and the cruise was supposed to travel right by it. However, the captain of the luxury electric boat housing the former First Lady made an executive decision to take a different route, ensure the safety of both Michelle and the rest of the passengers.
“The majesty of Notre Dame—the history, artistry, and spirituality—took our breath away, lifting us to a higher understanding of who we are and who we can be,” Michelle tweeted when sharing the statement issued by her husband, Barack Obama, 57, on the tragedy. “Being here in Paris tonight, my heart aches with the people of France. Yet I know that Notre Dame will soon awe us again.” The former President said that “it’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.”
The majesty of Notre Dame—the history, artistry, and spirituality—took our breath away, lifting us to a higher understanding of who we are and who we can be. Being here in Paris tonight, my heart aches with the people of France. Yet I know that Notre Dame will soon awe us again. https://t.co/p1mIDMbwe1
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) April 15, 2019
The fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral burned for several hours and destroyed the 850-year-old structure’s iconic spire and roof. Firefighters fought for several hours to contain the blaze and it was extinguished in the early hours of Tuesday morning (Ap. 16). Officials are treating the first as an accident, not a deliberate act, according to The New York Times. The main cathedral, its two towers, and northern belfry were saved. Because the cathedral was undergoing restoration at the time of the first, many of Notre Dame’s historic artifacts and historic treasures were not on site. Many relics – including Tunic of Saint Louis, the Crown of Thorns, and a fragment of the True Cross were reportedly saved.