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French bakery owner in West Palm Beach reflects on significance of Notre Dame fire

Alain Ponzé, the owner of the "Bistro Bistro Bakery" in West Palm Beach, watches reports from a French news outlet April 16, 2019, the day after the Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire.
"Bistro Bistro Bakery" in West Palm Beach
Posted at 1:18 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 19:28:21-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A French news outlet reporting the latest on the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral was playing on the television in the corner of Bistro Bistro in the Northwood area of West Palm Beach Tuesday morning.

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"For me, if it happened to the Eiffel Tower, it would be the same impact for me or like the Arc de Triomphe, something like that," said Alain Ponzé, owner of Bistro Bistro Bakery. "It really belongs to France. All over the world, they come to France to visit that."

The food that Ponzé serves at Bistro Bistro, located at 506 Northwood Rd., is reminiscent of what he grew up with in Lyon, France, which is about 350 miles south of Paris.

He recalls visiting Paris as a tourist like so many others, but feels a special connection to Notre Dame because of the significance it holds as a symbol of France.

“I grew up with that. It’s my country. Even if I don’t live there for almost 30 years, when something happens like that in France ... I feel bad," he said. "A little bit of myself is hurt.”

Ponzé expected to see more customers coming in Tuesday to reflect on the country’s heritage and history and to support French people.

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