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Notre-Dame in flames: tourism professionals are sorry

After the crisis of "yellow vests" which has reduced the tourist attendance at the end of the year in the capital, professionals are sorry to see a monument as emblematic as the Notre-Dame cathedral being the prey of the flames.

"It's a trauma How long will it take to rebuild a historic monument like Notre-Dame?" Questioned Monday Didier Arino, director of the cabinet specialized Protourism. "It's a monument so emblematic of Paris and France, in its influence …", he added.

Visited by 12 to 14 million people a year, an average of more than 30,000 per day, this masterpiece of Gothic architecture located on the Ile de la Cité, in the heart of medieval Paris, is a step must for tourists staying in the capital.

"For the image of Paris, after the Arc de Triomphe ransacked by rioters during the demonstrations of + yellow vests +, this is not good news … it does not give an image of a country that masters: how can one, in 2019, have a monument that burns so easily? ", Mr. Arino was sorry to AFP.

The scenes of rampage on the Champs-Elysees have scared foreign and French customers, with a loss of turnover of more than 250 million euros in the hotel and catering industry in Paris and Ile-de-France, according to the employers' group of independent of the sector, the GNI.

– Friends of Notre Dame –

"We did not need that, it will have an impact on hotel accommodation, because it is one of the most visited tourist sites in France," said Jean-Virgile Crance, president the national grouping of hotel chains (Mercure, Ibis, Sofitel, Balladins, Kyriad, etc.).

"We were already victims of violence related to the movement of + yellow vests +, especially in the upscale hotel," he said.

Last December, the number of overnight stays in hotels dropped by 5.3% in Paris, a scene of recurring violence during the demonstrations that began in mid-November, particularly on the Champs-Elysées, a showcase for France in France. foreign.

"We are fortunate in France to have an invaluable heritage, which the world envies us.It is necessary that this drama encourages us to have a real strategy, offensive, to develop the tourist industry, essential for the country", said M Crance.

"It's dramatic: it's a free monument, one of the two most visited in the capital, with the Eiffel Tower," said Rene-Marc Chikli, president of the syndicate of tour operators Seto.

"I find myself tonight on a boat on the Seine: Notre-Dame is a stage of the visit … it will have to withdraw from the program," he said. "We did not need that," he added.

Listed by UNESCO as world heritage since 1991, the monument is very popular with tourists from around the world, especially those from across the Atlantic, particularly attached to Quasimodo and other characters – immortalized by cinema and comedy musical – out of the imagination of Victor Hugo.

Patrons had been solicited in the United States to finance the renovation of the monument, the last great restoration by Viollet-le-Duc in the nineteenth century, after the publication of the novel by Victor Hugo. Several hundred "Friends of Notre Dame" had made a donation.

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