Tourist Brooke Windsor Takes Sweet Notre Dame Photo Just Before Fire

It was taken an hour before flames engulfed the cathedral.
Brooke Windsor took this photo outside Notre Dame just an hour before it was engulfed by fire. Now she wants to find the man and child.
Brooke Windsor took this photo outside Notre Dame just an hour before it was engulfed by fire. Now she wants to find the man and child.

UPDATE - April 18, 2019: The photographer, Brooke Windsor, found the man in the picture, writing on Twitter "the search is over!" The man has chosen to remain anonymous, but told Windsor he'd find a special place for the snap.

It's a gorgeous moment, to be sure, but when a tourist snapped a picture of a man twirling a child in front of Notre Dame she had no idea it would become a piece of history.

The world watched helplessly Monday as fire engulfed Paris' beloved Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the greatest gothic cathedrals in the world and what's been described by historians as "the very soul of Paris."

Construction of "Our Lady of Paris" started in the 12th century. The monument withstood centuries of wear and the French Revolution, but, in just a few hours, Monday's blaze destroyed much of the roof and its spire. The structure itself was eventually saved by firefighters.

WATCH: Firefighters say they saved much of Notre Dame. Story continues below.

Just an hour before the Notre Dame cathedral caught fire Monday evening, Brooke Windsor, like so many tourists, took a photograph just outside. In it, a man swings a little girl in the air. Behind them, the church stands in all its gothic glory.

Now, Windsor is determined to find the man in the photograph, which is one of the final images taken before flames engulfed the structure. And Twitter users around the world want to help.

"I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire. I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it. Now I wish I had. Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this," Windsor Tweeted Monday.

Her tweet went viral almost immediately, with many noting this sweet moment between the man and child will become iconic.

"This is going to become THAT photo," Michelle Bhasin tweeted in response.

"This photo is not only a keeper, it's historic," Mike Beamish commented.

BBC identified Windsor as a 23-year-old tourist from Michigan. In an update, Windsor tweeted that she hadn't yet found the owner, but was hopeful. It had already been retweeted more than 115,000 times by Tuesday morning.

"No, I have not been able to find the folks in the photo but I am hopeful. Twitter sure knows how to step up," she wrote.

She also noted that she couldn't be sure it was a father and daughter, as some speculated.

"I do not know for sure if it was a dad and daughter, it's simply the dynamic I observed from them while debating on interrupting this moment. It may be an uncle, brother, friend, who knows until we find them," Windsor wrote.

With files from the Associated Press.

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