Stepping out of his front door near Paris' Ile Saint-Louis, Benjamin Poussard made his way toward the Pont de la Tournelle, a bridge crossing the Seine River. With plans to meet his wife to celebrate his birthday with a night out, he spotted smoke rising above the Ile de la Cite, the island where the famous Notre Dame Cathedral sits at the heart of Paris.
"It was horrible," Poussard said, describing how he watched flames engulf the roof of the city's most-visited tourist attraction. "People from all over Paris were converged on bridges, watching the smoke rise."
Realizing the magnitude of what was happening, Poussard rushed home to get his camera, returning to the site where crowds of people were filled the streets and bridges surrounding the small island at the city center.