Michelle Obama speaks on stage during tour to promote her memoir Becoming on Tuesday (April 16) in Hotel Accor Arena Bercy in Paris, France.

During the discussion, the 55-year-old former First Lady opened up about her reaction to the Notre Dame Cathedral catching fire on Monday night.

“Paris was my first international experience as a little girl and I wrote about it in the book. It was the first time I got on a plane with a passport away from home,” Michelle expressed (via BBC). “We have to be strong in times like this, we have to believe in each other and use these times to unite because Notre Dame will be rebuilt. You have been through worse as so many of us have. Now is the time to be strong and have faith.”

“It was disbelief at first, we were on route and the security driver said, ‘Notre Dame is burning’, and I thought you must be joking,” Michelle continued. “You sort of hope that it’s a fire nearby or there’s something near but you can’t imagine that you would see this fire fall. It didn’t really hit me until I saw all the images that you all saw.”

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