Wauwatosa native living in Paris describes Notre Dame fire: 'Had the smell of smoke in my hair'

Claire Langan

PARIS -- A student from Wauwatosa, who currently lives in Paris, witnessed the Notre Dame Cathedral in flames. Claire Langan said it's something she'll never forget.

Langan fell in love with Paris in 2017. She went to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and studied abroad in Paris for five months. Little did she know, those five months would change her life forever.

"I've never experienced anything like that," Langan said.

Notre Dame Cathedral fire

Paris, France following Notre Dame Cathedral fire

Langan's love for Paris brought her back. She lives right by the Eiffel Tower. For someone in love with French culture, the fire at the cathedral was an emotional roller coaster.

"Sure enough, it was all drifting from Notre Dame. It was passing the Eiffel Tower, so there was smoke everywhere," Langan said.

Claire Langan

When Langan saw Notre Dame was on fire Monday, April 15, she immediately hopped on the Metro. She said Paris had a loud silence that was hard to describe.

"I still had the smell of smoke in my hair and that was something really just so emotional for me that came from Notre Dame," said Langan. "All of Paris is still just distraught."

Langan said she walked by Notre Dame following the fire, and despite everything, she said the cathedral was standing strong.

Notre Dame Cathedral fire