Local French natives saddened by historic Paris fire


WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — A fire more than 4,000 miles from Wilmington hits home for many here in the Cape Fear.

Patricia Moity says her son proposed to his wife 10 years ago in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral making Monday’s fire a painful experience.

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“I learned it from a text message from my son,” Moity said. “He works in Raleigh and he said ‘Ma, please put the TV on. The Notre Dame is on fire.'”

“When you see it burning it’s like seeing friends burning,” Owner of Far from France Sweet Souvenirs Alban Pelletier said. “It’s not an easy thing to watch.”

Separated by thousands of miles and watching a piece of history go up in flames, French natives, who now live in the Cape Fear, saw hundreds of years of history burn.

“I don’t know if it’s a sign from God to get everyone back together,” Moity said. “We [Americans] had 9/11 and the times after were good. Everyone was really working together.”

Moity grew up in a small town outside of Paris. Now, she owns Caprice Bistro, a french restaurant in Wilmington. She says everyone will remember this event.

“It doesn’t only belong to France, but to the world,” she said.

Pelletier agrees.

“Notre Dame is one of the main three monuments that everyone goes to visit when they go to Paris,” Pelletier said. “They go to Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It’s not just for the Catholic. It’s for everyone. It’s a big symbol for Paris and France, in general.”

Pelletier was born in France and lived in Paris for about 10 years. He says he would pass the Cathedral almost everyday.

“You cannot not think about the men and women who built this for 200 years who’d give their life for it,” Pelletier said.

Pelletier and Moity say this is one of the biggest tragedies to a country amidst holy week and Easter just 5 days away.

But, they say they are confident in their country’s faith and ability to overcome.