"You have people that are crying. It's just sad; it's a sad moment for everybody. We all lost history, it can never be replaced," Fresno businessman Randy Haron was among the crowd numbed by the unspeakable loss.
RELATED: PHOTOS: Fire breaks out at top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
He had just arrived in Paris when the cathedral caught fire.
These were images he never wanted to capture.
"It was pretty unbelievable really. because it's such a great old structure, it's beautiful and just to see it happen was a tragedy," he said.
For Sandrine Logan, who grew up in France, heartbreak doesn't even begin to describe her state of mind.
"My first emotion was disbelief. I had to go online. and I realized this is really truly happening," she said.
The cathedral has survived more than eight centuries from the French Revolution to the bombs of World War II.
RELATED: VIDEO: Somber crowd sings 'Ave Maria' amid Notre Dame fire
#NotreDameFire: People sing on the streets of Paris as crews work to contain the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Thank you to #abc30insider Walter Laurel for sharing the video with us.— ABC30 Fresno (@ABC30) April 16, 2019
Latest: https://t.co/WrvXIYszvV pic.twitter.com/wTDyBc0ntt
It's why Monday's fire during Holy Week is so difficult to accept.
"For a lot of people, obviously it is a church and a monument, where a lot of people have come over the years to praise our God, and I think it's a real loss," Logan said.
Notre Dame has been so entrenched in French culture at times its beauty has been taken for granted.
Certainly, it won't be anymore.