French consul in Vancouver touched by outpouring of support after Notre-Dame fire

Consul General Philipe Sutter was at an elementary school in Burnaby Tuesday morning.

The Consul General of France in Vancouver said he is encouraged by the support pouring into the consulate after a catastrophic fire engulfed the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris Monday.

Philipe Sutter was in Burnaby at the signing of an exchange agreement between the school district and the Academie d’Aix-Marseille/Nice in the South of France.

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“We were very moved by all the messages we received, also by Twitter and Facebook, and of course, by phone,” Sutter told the NOW.

The fire at the cathedral had reportedly been contained by early Tuesday morning after a 12-hour battle against the blaze, but the iconic spire and roof of the 850-year-old structure was destroyed.

Although Sutter is originally from the Alsace region in northeastern France, he said the destruction to the cathedral felt personal since he has lived in Paris and, as a Catholic, attended masses there.

“It’s part of our daily life in Paris to enjoy this masterpiece,” he said.

Sutter said international fundraising efforts to restore building, which he described as a part of a “common heritage,” are already underway, and people contacting his office aren’t just offering well-wishes.

“Already many of them also want to participate to the reconstruction, to the rebuilding of the Notre-Dame de Paris,” he said.

“It will be difficult, but I think that together, with this international solidarity, we will be up to the challenge.”

An investigation continues into the cause of the fire. The roof of the cathedral had been undergoing a major restoration when fire broke out.

With files from Canadian Press.

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