'It was truly beautiful’: VCU student abroad remembers Notre Dame Cathedral

'It was truly beautiful’: VCU student abroad remembers Notre Dame Cathedral

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - What better city to study sculpture in than Paris?

"One of my classes is in the Louvre,” 21-year-old Madison Hansen said.

She’s only lived in the city for months, but it didn’t take long for Madison Hansen to fall in love with it, as many have.

The tragedy has become one of those moments people will never forget - what they were doing when they first heard the Notre Dame cathedral was on fire, with flames shooting into the sky.

“I was out to dinner with one of my friends," Hansen remembered, "and someone texted me asking if everyone was okay, because Notre Dame was on fire.”

Hansen could see the embers burning from miles away. She instantly remembered its breath-taking designs.

“The ceilings vaulted up so high that it was overwhelming almost-- but the best way," she reminisced.

Not long ago, she had attended mass in the 800-year-old building. The mass was brief, but she felt a deep connection to the cathedral.

“It felt like someone died, because of how much history is behind it and how long this building stood there only to be destroyed by an accidental fire,” she said.

The fire images haunted her overnight, leading her to revisit the cathedral Tuesday morning - a scene filled with mourners, investigators and journalists.

“It’s this incredible piece of history that out-dates America and I’m very lucky to have been able to see it,” Hansen said.

Her parents, who will visit in may, can’t say the same. They join millions around the world who are either grateful for the moments they spent in awe of the relic or feel immense emptiness for a building they’ll never see in its true form.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.