Three words sent in a text message in the early hours of Tuesday morning sent grief's ripples through Aurelie Quade's world.
The French national and now Wagga resident turned to the Internet to confirm the unthinkable.
"A family member just sent me a message, it said 'Notre Dame inferno', and I thought, 'it couldn't be, certainly not', so I googled it and I saw it," she said.
"More than 800 years of history gone in a number of hours. It was horrible."
Before arriving in Wagga a little over a decade ago, Mrs Quade lived in her hometown of Villers-Cotterets in France. Famous as the birthplace of the renowned French author Alexander Dumas, the city is just under two hours from the cathedral in the heart of Paris.
Mrs Quade watched on with the rest of the world while the fire take hold and destroyed the historic structure. Yet owing to the time difference, she was not able to share her grief with her loved ones in her homeland.
"My grandparents live just half-an-hour from the centre of Paris," she said.
"It's just so upsetting, it has survived years of war and unrest only to be destroyed in this modern era.
"I don't care which religion you follow, Notre Dame belongs to all French people. It is a landmark loved all over the world."
Aided by a 'perfect storm of conditions', the Gothic architecture caught alight as the sun set over the city. The roof quickly collapsed, pulling down the iconic spire. Up to two-thirds of the roof has been destroyed.
"Even if they do repair it, it will never be the same. The skills used to make it, we have lost. We would have to wait another 800 years for it to mean something again."
Mrs Quade's last visit to Paris was in 2017. Now she grieves her three children will never again experience the awe and majesty of standing inside the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Similarly, frequent flyer and French tutor Sue Savage described the heartbreaking realisation that the iconic towers of the old cathedral may never again create a part of the Paris vista.
"You take for granted that these places will always be there," said Ms Savage.
Her last journey to the city was up to seven years ago. During each visit she made a point of attending the cathedral, which she described as not only an "important tourist destination, but foremost a place of worship".
"I don't always go to Paris, there are so many wonderful places in France, but you could spend your whole life [in Paris] and still not see it all," she said.
"There are an awful lot of Francophiles in Wagga, a lot of us who travel there often. For us all, this was really terrible news."