'I felt disbelief': Canada's Ambassador to France on watching Notre Dame burn
Canada's Ambassador to France Isabelle Hudon says she felt "disbelief" Monday night when she first learned of the fire ravaging the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and began watching the news coverage. The morning after, she says she is filled with hope after seeing the centuries-old building still standing.
"Resilience is the right word for French people," she said.
In an interview with CTV News' Daniele Hamamdjian in front of the historic and iconic church, Hudon said that she had dinner guests over Monday night and was planning on having them gather around the television to watch French President Emmanuel Macron deliver what was supposed to be a televised address to the nation that evening.
But then she learned that Notre Dame was on fire.
"At one point I saw one of my colleagues walking into the dining room and she looked at me in a very weird way and I knew that I had to get out of the room, and she said 'well ambassador, Notre Dame is burning.'"
She said she moved her guests into the living room to watch the coverage of the fire and efforts to extinguish it.
"I felt disbelief," she said, noting a "huge silence" in the city. She said that she woke up with hope after seeing that Macron’s vow to rebuild has been met with millions pledged from around the world to help see the culturally and religiously symbolic building reconstructed.
Hudon has lived in France for the last year and a half, after being appointed as Canada's ambassador by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September 2017. It was also her home in the mid-nineties. When she left then she was pregnant and when her son turned 15 the first stop on a trip to Paris was to visit the Notre Dame.
"He was without words," Hudon said, getting emotional remembering this moment.
"I love to believe that the impossible is possible and Notre Dame de Paris for me is this… and especially, and even more today," she said.