Devastating aftermath of the Notre Dame inferno leaves the world in mourning

A catastrophic eruption in the Notre Dame of Paris has left a nation grieving the destruction of its cultural and historical & # 39; epicenter & # 39; this morning, while the French police are now investigating whether the fire was caused by accident.

Hundreds of heroic firefighters continued the night and started fighting to halt the complete destruction of the milestone after the iconic spire had been knocked to the ground last night for the horrified Parisians.

Meanwhile, teams raced to regain what treasures they could have of the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece, which housed priceless objects and remains of enormous religious and international significance.

The outbreak, which broke out when the last crowd of tourists ended the visit around 7 p.m. local time, eventually became nearly full nine hours later as & # 39; completely under control & # 39; explained.

However, it is expected that it will take several days to completely extinguish all remaining fires, dampen the hot spots and secure the world-famous building.

Attention is now focused on what may have led the milestone, part of which was restored in a £ 5 million renovation, to fall victim to such a disaster after an official claimed a & # 39; lost flame & # 39 ; caused the inferno.

The Paris public prosecutor said the police would investigate & # 39; involuntary destruction caused by fire & # 39; indicating that the authorities are currently treating the fire as a tragic accident and not arson or terrorism.

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A catastrophic fire in the Notre Dame of Paris (shown this morning) has left a country that mourns the destruction of its cultural and historical & # 39; epicenter & # 39; this morning when French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild the cherished monument

A catastrophic fire in the Notre Dame of Paris (shown this morning) has left a country that mourns the destruction of its cultural and historical & # 39; epicenter & # 39; this morning when French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild the cherished monument

Firefighters continue to extinguish the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris with water this morning after a devastating fire that destroyed its roof last night

Firefighters continue to extinguish the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris with water this morning after a devastating fire that destroyed its roof last night

Firefighters continue to extinguish the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris with water this morning after a devastating fire that destroyed its roof last night

Firefighters at the scene of the fire this morning. It is expected that it will take several days to completely extinguish all remaining fires, dampen the hotspots and secure the world-famous building

Firefighters at the scene of the fire this morning. It is expected that it will take several days to completely extinguish all remaining fires, dampen the hotspots and secure the world-famous building

Firefighters at the scene of the fire this morning. It is expected that it will take several days to completely extinguish all remaining fires, dampen the hotspots and secure the world-famous building

Hundreds of firefighters competed to stop the fire from completely destroying the cherished facade (pictured) after the flames had flattened the roof, causing the striker to fall to the ground for crowds of Parisians

Hundreds of firefighters competed to stop the fire from completely destroying the cherished facade (pictured) after the flames had flattened the roof, causing the striker to fall to the ground for crowds of Parisians

Hundreds of firefighters competed to stop the fire from completely destroying the cherished facade (pictured) after the flames had flattened the roof, causing the striker to fall to the ground for crowds of Parisians

When darkness fell on Paris on Monday evening, the destroyed cathedral was illuminated by the still burning flames in the roof while firefighters fought against the inferno

When darkness fell on Paris on Monday evening, the destroyed cathedral was illuminated by the still burning flames in the roof while firefighters fought against the inferno

When darkness fell on Paris on Monday evening, the destroyed cathedral was illuminated by the still burning flames in the roof while firefighters fought against the inferno

A shard of the spire of the cathedral plunges through the sky while it collapsed earlier after the fire was burned through its base

A shard of the spire of the cathedral plunges through the sky while it collapsed earlier after the fire was burned through its base

A shard of the spire of the cathedral plunges through the sky while it collapsed earlier after the fire was burned through its base

A view from the cathedral shows flames in the roof, while firefighters submerge it with snakes from below. A shocked fireman looks back at the camera while the flames blast through a hole in the roof

A view from the cathedral shows flames in the roof, while firefighters submerge it with snakes from below. A shocked fireman looks back at the camera while the flames blast through a hole in the roof

A view from the cathedral shows flames in the roof, while firefighters submerge it with snakes from below. A shocked fireman looks back at the camera while the flames blast through a hole in the roof

A spokesperson for the cathedral told Le Monde that the entire frame of the roof of the historic cathedral (pictured here before the fire) was set on fire

A spokesperson for the cathedral told Le Monde that the entire frame of the roof of the historic cathedral (pictured here before the fire) was set on fire

A spokesperson for the cathedral told Le Monde that the entire frame of the roof of the historic cathedral (pictured here before the fire) was set on fire

During a visit to the scene on Monday evening, French President Emmanuel Macron said that a national subscription would be launched to rebuild the national monument.

AFP reported that the billionaire French fashion magnate Francois-Henri Pinault had pledged 100 million euros (£ 86 million) for the effort.

The fire broke out just before 7:00 pm local time in a rooftop area that underwent around £ 6m of renovations. The fire department said last night that they believed it was an accident, but the investigation continued.

More than 400 firefighters fought against the flames, which quickly spread along the roof construction, causing burning wood to collapse on the ceiling of the underlying vault. Part of it crashed into the aisle, but the Twitter account of the cathedral stated that the damage inside was less than feared, in a message that & # 39; Allelujah & # 39; ended.

Around 3:00 a.m. local time, the Paris fire brigade, Jean-Claude Gallet, said: & # 39; We can imagine that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved, as well as the two towers. & # 39;

And a brigade spokesperson added: & # 39; We will continue to watch over any residues of fire and cool areas that are still glowing hot, such as the wooden beam frame. & # 39;

One fireman was seriously injured by tackling the fire, but no fatalities were reported. The building – and the entire Ile de la Cite island that it occupies in the center of the French capital – was successfully evacuated because the severity of the fire became apparent.

Like the historic narrowing, the cathedral was home to dozens of priceless objects, including the famous crown of thorns worn by Jesus during his crucifixion.

A human chain of care providers carried this and many other things in safety.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said: & # 39; Thanks to the [Paris fire brigade], police officers and municipal agents who created a huge human chain tonight to save the works of Notre Dame. The Doornenkroon, the tunic of Saint Louis and some other important works are now in a safe place. & # 39;

Priceless works that could not be relocated did less well. Firefighters told how the stained glass windows of the building, high on the north, west and south side of the cathedral, explode & # 39; in the heat of the inferno.

& # 39; They exploded due to the heat of the fire, & # 39; said one, referring to the Rosette West that was built in 1225, the Rosette North and the Rossette South, both from 1250.

An aerial view of the cathedral taken from a police drone showed the famous structure completely stripped of its roof and still on fire inside

An aerial view of the cathedral taken from a police drone showed the famous structure completely stripped of its roof and still on fire inside

An aerial view of the cathedral taken from a police drone showed the famous structure completely stripped of its roof and still on fire inside

Images of drones from the French Ministry of the Interior showed the destruction of the ancient wooden roof of the cathedral

Images of drones from the French Ministry of the Interior showed the destruction of the ancient wooden roof of the cathedral

Images of drones from the French Ministry of the Interior showed the destruction of the ancient wooden roof of the cathedral

Speaking with tears in his eyes on the stairs of the cathedral, Macron vowed to rebuild Notre Dame with the help of the international community

Speaking with tears in his eyes on the stairs of the cathedral, Macron vowed to rebuild Notre Dame with the help of the international community

Speaking with tears in his eyes on the stairs of the cathedral, Macron vowed to rebuild Notre Dame with the help of the international community

Teams of firefighters from all over the city were called in to try to turn off the fire after it quickly spread through the cathedral on Monday evening

Teams of firefighters from all over the city were called in to try to turn off the fire after it quickly spread through the cathedral on Monday evening

Teams of firefighters from all over the city were called in to try to turn off the fire after it quickly spread through the cathedral on Monday evening

A large part of the top of the structure fell victim to the inferno, including the famous spire and a part of the dome in the back of the church

A large part of the top of the structure fell victim to the inferno, including the famous spire and a part of the dome in the back of the church

A large part of the top of the structure fell victim to the inferno, including the famous spire and a part of the dome in the back of the church

The fast-moving fire consumed the roof of the cathedral. Tonight President Emmanuel Macron said the entire nation was moved. "Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us all burn," he tweeted

The fast-moving fire consumed the roof of the cathedral. Tonight President Emmanuel Macron said the entire nation was moved. "Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us all burn," he tweeted

The fast-moving fire consumed the roof of the cathedral. Tonight President Emmanuel Macron said the entire nation was moved. & # 39; Like all our countrymen, I am sad this evening to see that this part of us all burns up & # 39 ;, he tweeted

Smoke continues to blow into the air tonight, while firefighters try to prevent the flames from spreading

Smoke continues to blow into the air tonight, while firefighters try to prevent the flames from spreading

Smoke continues to blow into the air tonight, while firefighters try to prevent the flames from spreading

Photos from inside the ancient church show the stone roof of the structure partially collapsed after the huge fire

Photos from inside the ancient church show the stone roof of the structure partially collapsed after the huge fire

Photos from inside the ancient church show the stone roof of the structure partially collapsed after the huge fire

Many of the pews were depicted intact despite the eruption, since the stone part of the church remained largely intact despite the wooden roof construction that was bombed.

Many of the pews were depicted intact despite the eruption, since the stone part of the church remained largely intact despite the wooden roof construction that was bombed.

Many of the pews were depicted intact despite the eruption, since the stone part of the church remained largely intact despite the wooden roof construction that was bombed.

Firefighters had also struggled to bring down many of the large paintings in the cathedral, said clergyman Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, meaning that the extent of the devastation had not been known for some time.

But at the height of the inferno, many feared that the entire building would be lost.

Spokesperson André Finot said: & # 39; Everything is burning. The frame – dating from the 19th century on one side and the 13th century on the other – there will be nothing left. & # 39;

And as the fire spread, President Macron tweeted: & Our dear wife of Paris in flames. Emotion of an entire nation. Thoughts go out to all Catholics and all of France. Like all our countrymen, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn. & # 39;

He was joined by politicians, religious leaders and academics who complained about the losses suffered.

& # 39; If Paris is the Eiffel Tower, then France is Notre Dame. It is the entire culture, the entire history of France incarnated in this monument, & Bernard Lecomte, a writer and specialist in religious history told French television.

The Vatican expressed its & # 39; disbelief & # 39; and & # 39; sadness & # 39; over the fire and offered prayers for firefighters who adjusted the outburst and solidarity with the French people.

In Washington, Donald Trump tweeted: & # 39; So terrible to see the huge fire at Notre Dame in Paris. & # 39;

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent the best wishes of the Anglican church to people on the spot. & # 39; Tonight we are praying for the firefighters tackling the tragic fire of Notre Dame – and for everyone in France and beyond who is watching and crying for this beautiful, holy place where millions of Jesus Christ have met & he said.

And British Prime Minister Theresa May added: & # 39; My thoughts are tonight with the people of France and with the emergency services fighting the terrible fire. & # 39;

Firefighters were still fighting to control the fire when the night passed over Paris and the roof of Notre Dame was still on fire. The glass window also appeared to have been destroyed by the heat of the fire

Firefighters were still fighting to control the fire when the night passed over Paris and the roof of Notre Dame was still on fire. The glass window also appeared to have been destroyed by the heat of the fire

Firefighters were still fighting to control the fire when the night passed over Paris and the roof of Notre Dame was still on fire. The glass window also appeared to have been destroyed by the heat of the fire

The position on top of the church and the wooden frame of the building would be completely on fire by a spokesperson for the cathedral

The position on top of the church and the wooden frame of the building would be completely on fire by a spokesperson for the cathedral

The position on top of the church and the wooden frame of the building would be completely on fire by a spokesperson for the cathedral

The famous spire of Notre Dame collapsed dramatically around 7.15 pm GMT after the fire broke through the wooden building at the top of the building

The famous spire of Notre Dame collapsed dramatically around 7.15 pm GMT after the fire broke through the wooden building at the top of the building

The famous spire of Notre Dame collapsed dramatically around 7.15 pm GMT after the fire broke through the wooden building at the top of the building

Firefighters unpack the fire on Monday evening while flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral while it burns in Paris

Firefighters unpack the fire on Monday evening while flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral while it burns in Paris

Firefighters unpack the fire on Monday evening while flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral while it burns in Paris

When the flames stopped, the thought turned to rebuilding the monument.

In a passionate speech outside the cathedral, President Macron said: & We will appeal to the greatest talents and we will rebuild Notre Dame, because the French are waiting for that, because that is what our history deserves, because it is our history deepest destination. & # 39;

Late on Monday evening, French billionaire François-Henri Pinault promised 100 million euros (£ 86.2 million) for the reconstruction of the cathedral.

In a statement, the CEO of the Kering group, which owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion houses, sent the money for & # 39; the effort needed to completely rebuild Notre Dame & # 39; would be paid by the Artemis investment company of the Pinault family.

The cathedral is one of the most visited sights in Europe, and when Holy Week kicked off yesterday, thousands of tourists were in the area and people were gathered walking open-mouthed to see how the disaster unfolded .

Firefighters extinguish flames from the roof while trying to prevent the flames from spreading. Nobody was injured, Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said on the spot and added: & # 39; It's too early to determine the causes of the fire & # 39;

Firefighters extinguish flames from the roof while trying to prevent the flames from spreading. Nobody was injured, Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said on the spot and added: & # 39; It's too early to determine the causes of the fire & # 39;

Firefighters extinguish flames from the roof while trying to prevent the flames from spreading. Nobody was injured, Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said on the spot and added: & # 39; It's too early to determine the causes of the fire & # 39;

The burning orange of the flames can be seen through the window with rose petals tonight while Parisians and tourists look horrified as the fire in the cathedral spreads

The burning orange of the flames can be seen through the window with rose petals tonight while Parisians and tourists look horrified as the fire in the cathedral spreads

The burning orange of the flames can be seen through the window with rose petals tonight while Parisians and tourists look horrified as the fire in the cathedral spreads

People are looking in Paris tonight while the fire in Notre Dame continues to litter the building, while firefighters fight to control it

People are looking in Paris tonight while the fire in Notre Dame continues to litter the building, while firefighters fight to control it

People are looking in Paris tonight while the fire in Notre Dame continues to litter the building, while firefighters fight to control it

The steeple collapses while the flames burn through the roof of Notre Dame in Paris. The fire started in the late afternoon at one of the most visited monuments in the French capital

The steeple collapses while the flames burn through the roof of Notre Dame in Paris. The fire started in the late afternoon at one of the most visited monuments in the French capital

The steeple collapses while the flames burn through the roof of Notre Dame in Paris. The fire started in the late afternoon at one of the most visited monuments in the French capital

A cordon is in place while firefighters spray water on the gothic cathedral to try and make the flames disappear tonight

A cordon is in place while firefighters spray water on the gothic cathedral to try and make the flames disappear tonight

A cordon is in place while firefighters spray water on the gothic cathedral to try and make the flames disappear tonight

A lonely fireman on a crane uses a hose to try out the flames tonight. British Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her thoughts about the people of France and the emergency services fighting a devastating fire tonight

A lonely fireman on a crane uses a hose to try out the flames tonight. British Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her thoughts about the people of France and the emergency services fighting a devastating fire tonight

A lonely fireman on a crane uses a hose to try out the flames tonight. British Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her thoughts about the people of France and the emergency services fighting a devastating fire tonight

The flames have flooded large parts of the cathedral, located in the center of Paris. A water jet can be seen in the lower right of the photo while firefighters are fighting the fire tonight. Officials in Paris said the fire could be linked to restoration work, as the top of the church is currently undergoing a renovation project of 6 million euros ($ 6.8 million)

The flames have flooded large parts of the cathedral, located in the center of Paris. A water jet can be seen in the lower right of the photo while firefighters are fighting the fire tonight. Officials in Paris said the fire could be linked to restoration work, as the top of the church is currently undergoing a renovation project of 6 million euros ($ 6.8 million)

The flames have flooded large parts of the cathedral, located in the center of Paris. A water jet can be seen in the lower right of the photo while firefighters are fighting the fire tonight. Officials in Paris said the fire could be linked to restoration work, as the top of the church is currently undergoing a renovation project of 6 million euros ($ 6.8 million)

The spire saw light leaning over it as it started to fall away because of the fire that tore through the foundation and the rest of the roof

The spire saw light leaning over it as it started to fall away because of the fire that tore through the foundation and the rest of the roof

The spire saw light leaning over it as it started to fall away because of the fire that tore through the foundation and the rest of the roof

One of the turrets on the cathedral before it collapsed

One of the turrets on the cathedral before it collapsed

The turret after it collapsed

The turret after it collapsed

One of the towers on the cathedral before it collapsed (left) around 7:00 pm tonight and then around 7:30 pm

Shortly after the fire broke out, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he was sad to see & # 39; part of us burned & # 39; and sent his condolences to people all over France

Shortly after the fire broke out, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he was sad to see & # 39; part of us burned & # 39; and sent his condolences to people all over France

Shortly after the fire broke out, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he was sad to see & # 39; part of us burned & # 39; and sent his condolences to people all over France

A visible upset Emmanual Macron walking near Notre Dame while burning

A visible upset Emmanual Macron walking near Notre Dame while burning

Locals watch helplessly while Notre Dame is burning

Locals watch helplessly while Notre Dame is burning

A visible upset Emmanual Macron walking near Notre Dame while burning (left) and helplessly watching the locals (r)

& # 39; Notre-Dame has survived all wars, all bombing. We never thought it could burn. I feel incredibly sad and empty, & # 39; Stephane Seigneurie, a consultant who joined other shocked viewers in a solemn rendition of & # 39; Ave Maria & # 39; as they watched the fire from a nearby bridge.

& # 39; Paris is deformed. The city will never be the same as it used to be, & said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-thirties.

Jacky Lafortune, a 72-year-old artist and self-described atheist, stood desolate on the banks of the River Seine and stared at the cathedral.

Comparing the atmosphere in the French capital with the aftermath of a terror attack, he said: & # 39; But this arouses much deeper emotions because Notre-Dame is connected to the foundations of our culture. & # 39;

The cathedral, one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in Europe, is located in the center of the French capital in the Middle Ages and the construction was completed in the mid-14th century after about 200 years of work.

Parisians went to the streets of the city last night to pray, sing, and recall the Notre-Dame cathedral that burned for them

Parisians went to the streets of the city last night to pray, sing, and recall the Notre-Dame cathedral that burned for them

Parisians went to the streets of the city last night to pray, sing, and recall the Notre-Dame cathedral that burned for them

The emotions became too much for some residents who gathered in the shadow of the cathedral to see his slow destruction

The emotions became too much for some residents who gathered in the shadow of the cathedral to see his slow destruction

The emotions became too much for some residents who gathered in the shadow of the cathedral to see his slow destruction

During the French Revolution in the 18th century, the cathedral was destroyed in widespread anti-Catholic violence. The spire was dismantled, the treasures plundered and the large statues at the large entrance doors destroyed.

It would act as a central character in a novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831, & # 39; The whistleblower of Notre Dame & # 39; and shortly thereafter a restoration project of two decades began, led by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.

The building survived the destruction of two global conflicts in the 20th century and called on August 24, 1944, the day of the liberation of Paris against the German occupation at the end of the Second World War, famous.

Before yesterday's fire it was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding, and bronze statues were removed for work last week.

Its 330ft-long roof, much of which was consumed in the first hour of the fire, was one of the oldest such structures in Paris.

I walked through the hollowed-out cathedral … then the crucifix of what was left of the altar, a symbol of defiance in the darkness, appeared: ROBERT HARDMAN is one of the first witnesses in destroyed Notre Dame

Sparks and pieces of flaming woodwork still run from the remains of the 12th-century roof.

The scent immediately sears the back of your throat like a dose of smelling salts and my feet are soaked. The old black and white tiles that lead down the aisle are located beneath a gently flowing snake water river of the firefighters pumping what looks like much of the River Seine from their elevated platforms.

Yet I can faithfully report that the Cathedral of Notre Dame has not been completely destroyed. Because I am beside it – beside the French Prime Minister.

In the early hours of this morning, I was one of the first people to be admitted to the ruins of one of & # 39; s world's best cathedrals after the fire, which shocked not only the entire French nation, but much of the planet.

An eruption starting in the loft of the cathedral at 6.30 pm had turned into a devastating catastrophe at nightfall. Officials reported that the wooden interior of the medieval cathedral was almost completely destroyed.

Certainly, the spire of Notre Dame is no longer. Large parts of its eastern end are no longer. The world famous stained glass windows are in shattered elements and the whole building is open to heaven.

The entrance to the cathedral on Monday evening

The entrance to the cathedral on Monday evening

The pristine pews in the main church building

The pristine pews in the main church building

Robert Hardman had access to the charred remains of Notre Dame in the early morning hours of Tuesday morning

During the evening in Notre Dame, smoke is seen around the altar. Strangely enough, the cross and the altar have managed to survive the inferno

During the evening in Notre Dame, smoke is seen around the altar. Strangely enough, the cross and the altar have managed to survive the inferno

During the evening in Notre Dame, smoke is seen around the altar. Strangely enough, the cross and the altar have managed to survive the inferno

But Paris will wake up today to see that the cathedral that has defied world wars, hostile occupations, revolutions and crowds in abundance, still heads above the Paris skyline.

And at 1 o'clock today, at the far end of the cathedral, illuminated by persistent embers and equipment of firefighters, I was able to distinguish a stunning symbol of resistance through the darkness: the unmistakable view of a crucifix of what remains of the altar.

Notre Dame is badly damaged. Yet its most spectacular features – the 850-year-old twin towers – are still present. For centuries these were the tallest buildings in Paris until the Eiffel Tower was added. To this day, they are immediately recognizable throughout the world. And last night, although they felt very sorry for themselves, they were in one piece while I was standing next to them, alongside a group of firefighters and prime minister's assistants.

Within a few hours speculation was widespread about the cause of the fire. For now, it seems that what an official has a & # 39; stray flame & # 39; – linked to a £ 5 million restoration project – started the inferno.

Experts have been warning for years that the cathedral is in poor condition, and that the French state has been reluctant to finance renovations in recent decades.

Experts said the building needed a repair of £ 129.5 million (€ 150 million), but the state had only offered € 40 million.

Outside Notre Dame, where cranes and firefighters were still working hard

Outside Notre Dame, where cranes and firefighters were still working hard

Emergency service personnel at the entrance of the cathedral

Emergency service personnel at the entrance of the cathedral

Photos taken outside the cathedral and from the entrance hall in the early hours of Tuesday show emergency services that are still working to make the site safe

Enormous plumes of yellow-brown smoke fill the sky above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash falls on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. Firefighters can be seen on the left and fight against the fire

Enormous plumes of yellow-brown smoke fill the sky above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash falls on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. Firefighters can be seen on the left and fight against the fire

Enormous plumes of yellow-brown smoke fill the sky above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash falls on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. Firefighters can be seen on the left and fight against the fire

The cathedral was looking for private donations to make up for the rest.

The flames were first noticed just after the building was closed to the public for the day. Following the fears of his entire country, French President Emmanuel Macron immediately declared a national emergency. & # 39; Our dear wife of Paris in flames & # 39 ;, he stated on Twitter. & # 39; Like all our countrymen, I am sorry tonight to see this part of us burn. & # 39;

He has promised to rebuild Notre Dame and says: & Notre Dame is our history, our imagination, where we have lived all our great moments, and is the epicenter of our lives.

& # 39; It's the story of our books, our paintings. It is the cathedral for all French people, even though they have never been. But it burns and I know that this sorrow will be felt by all our citizens.

& # 39; A national subscription will be launched tomorrow for people across the country to help rebuild this great Notre Dame. Because that's what the French want. That is what their history requires. Because that is our destination. & # 39;

Questions were immediately asked about how a fire could quickly grab one of & # 39; the world's most visited – and most loved – sights. The reaction to fire fighting was also questioned because in the first hour few or no high-pressure water hoses could reach the roof. It is crucial that the Paris prosecutor has already launched an investigation.

I arrived last night to find a dumb-up City of Light that still bathed in a nasty afterglow. Here, on the banks of the Seine, tens of thousands of people – of all nationalities – stared in disbelief at the slow death of part of the soul of France.

The fire spread quickly over the roofline of the cathedral and left one of the towers behind and another part of the roof was flooded with flames.

The fire spread quickly over the roofline of the cathedral and left one of the towers behind and another part of the roof was flooded with flames.

The fire spread quickly over the roofline of the cathedral and left one of the towers behind and another part of the roof was flooded with flames.

Describing Notre Dame Cathedral as a national monument is a serious understatement. Imagine Westminster Abbey, St Paul & # 39; s Cathedral and the Tower of London all going up in smoke and you begin to appreciate the magnitude of this loss, except that Notre Dame attracts twice as many visitors as three London monuments in the past put together.

That is why, when the news started spreading last night, the Parisians flocked to the Seine. They did not come here as voyeurs but as grieving people. They came to pay their last obeisances. Some sang hymns. Many were in tears. Some brought flowers and cards to the place they didn't know where. It is understandable that someone might not think it was appropriate to light a candle.

Since the Middle Ages, Notre Dame has marked the eras in the story of this proud country and inspired one of the most famous literary masterpieces in the French language, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This August marks the 75th anniversary of the day that General Charles De Gaulle marked the liberation of Paris within his walls, even as sporadic guns remained outside.

This is a city that has been spared in a famous way for the destruction that history has caused to so many other European capitals. It really felt blessed; almost forever. Not anymore. The twin towers are now blackened and wide open for the elements. By midnight, however, the flames had disappeared, when here and there the first glimpses of fire fighters could be seen in the remains.

I joined what I can only describe as a requiem mass of Parisians singing prayers on the Pont de Notre Dame. All entrances to the island location of the cathedral were closed to the public, but the crowds continued to catch a glimpse from all directions.

& # 39; At least the two towers are still standing, and they have to stay up so that Notre Dame can be reborn & # 39 ;, said official Pascal Boichut, 52. There was a glimmer of hope when the Paris fire brigade, Jean-Claude Gallet, reporters told: & # 39; We believe that the main structure of Notre Dame has been preserved. & # 39;

In a statement, the CEO of the Kering group, which owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion houses, said the money for & # 39; the effort needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame & # 39; paid by the Artemis investment company of the Pinault family.

Macron had previously canceled an important television speech he would give on Monday evening to respond to months of protests and instead went to the scene personally.

He said while the & # 39; worst was avoided & # 39; and the facade and two towers saved, & # 39; the coming hours will be difficult & # 39 ;.

Paris Fire Department, Jean-Claude Gallet, said, "We can imagine that the main structure of Notre Dame has been saved and preserved," as well as the two towers.

The French billionaire promises 100 million euros to help rebuild Notre Dame

A French billionaire has pledged 100 million euros to help rebuild Notre Dame as a challenging President Macron launches a national fundraising campaign to restore the building to its former glory.

The catastrophic outburst destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Tower, while the shocked Parisians often watched tears and prayer on Monday evening.

A visibly emotional Macron, spoke outside the Gothic cathedral and said that a national fundraising campaign to restore Notre Dame would be launched on Tuesday when he & # 39; s greatest talents & # 39; called on the world to help.

He said: & We will appeal to the greatest talents and we will rebuild Notre Dame, because that is what the French are waiting for, because that is what our history deserves, because it is our deepest destination. & # 39 ;

Late on Monday evening, French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault promised 100 million euros (£ 86.2 million) for the reconstruction of Notre Dame in Paris, which was partially destroyed by a devastating fire

Late on Monday evening, French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault promised 100 million euros (£ 86.2 million) for the reconstruction of Notre Dame in Paris, which was partially destroyed by a devastating fire

Late on Monday evening, French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault promised 100 million euros (£ 86.2 million) for the reconstruction of Notre Dame in Paris, which was partially destroyed by a devastating fire

French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, married to Hollywood actress Salma Hayek, has pledged 100 million euros (£ 86.2 million) for the reconstruction of the cathedral.

In a statement, the CEO of the Kering group, which owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion houses, said the money for & # 39; the effort needed to fully rebuild Notre Dame & # 39; paid by the Artemis investment company of the Pinault family.

Macron had previously canceled an important television speech he would give on Monday evening to respond to months of protests and instead went to the scene personally.

He said while the & # 39; worst was avoided & # 39; and the facade and two towers saved, & # 39; the coming hours will be difficult & # 39 ;.

Paris Fire Department, Jean-Claude Gallet, said, "We can imagine that the main structure of Notre Dame has been saved and preserved," as well as the two towers.

Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez, who was also present on Monday evening, said that for the first time, & # 39; the fire had declined in intensity & # 39; and yet & # 39; extreme caution & # 39; landed.

The Vatican expressed its & # 39; disbelief & # 39; on Monday and & # 39; sadness & # 39 ;, and expressed & # 39; our solidarity with French Catholics and with the Paris population & # 39 ;.

The cause of the fire was not immediately confirmed. The cathedral underwent intensive restoration work that the fire department said could be connected to the fire.

French prosecutors said it was treated as an & # 39; involuntary & # 39; fire, indicating that cheating was excluded for now.

Parisians applaud the firefighters who formed a human chain to save Notre Dame's priceless collection of art and relics – including the Crown of Thorns of Jesus & Crucifixion

Firefighters, police and church people risked their lives last night to carry priceless historical objects and religious relics away from the flames that engulfed Notre Dame de Paris.

The mayor of Paris tweeted her thanks to first responders for forming & # 39; a formidable human chain & # 39; to save irreplaceable items, including the relic that Catholics believed as the crown of thorns that was laid on Jesus' head when he died on the cross.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo went further: & # 39; The Crown of Thorns, the Saint Louis tunic and some other important works are now in a safe place. & # 39;

Rescuers worked with city staff to keep priceless relics away from the fire

Rescuers worked with city staff to keep priceless relics away from the fire

Rescuers worked with city staff to keep priceless relics away from the fire

Reliquaries, statues, and objects, including the crown of thorns, were created by & # 39; human chain & # 39; rescued from the fire

Reliquaries, statues, and objects, including the crown of thorns, were created by & # 39; human chain & # 39; rescued from the fire

Reliquaries, statues, and objects, including the crown of thorns, were created by & # 39; human chain & # 39; rescued from the fire

And Father Fournier, chaplain of the Paris firefighters, told reporters that he was going to the burning cathedral to save the Holy Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns.

Parisians applauded and applauded fire crews as they rode through the streets in the early hours of the morning.

The treasury of priceless works of art and religious relics of the church includes the Crown of Thorns allegedly placed on the head of Jesus before he was crucified, a piece of the True Cross about which he would have died and a nail of the crucifixion. .

The relics were obtained from the Byzantine Empire in 1238 and brought to Paris by King Louis IX.

Notre Dame is also home to invaluable paintings that date back to the 1600s, including a series known as the Petits Mays, donated once a year to the cathedral from 1630 to 1707.

The most celebrated works of art include three stained glass rose windows high on the west, north and south side of the cathedral.

Shortly after midnight, the time of Paris, the artifacts were safely transferred to a storage room

Shortly after midnight, the time of Paris, the artifacts were safely transferred to a storage room

Shortly after midnight, the time of Paris, the artifacts were safely transferred to a storage room

Concerns about spectators were filmed, looking at the salvaged antiques on the night that the ancient roof of the cathedral burned to embers

Concerns about spectators were filmed, looking at the salvaged antiques on the night that the ancient roof of the cathedral burned to embers

Concerns about spectators were filmed, looking at the salvaged antiques on the night that the ancient roof of the cathedral burned to embers

The large organ of Notre Dame dates from the 13th century and was restored in the early 1990s. It is considered the most famous in the world, with five keyboards and nearly 8,000 pipes.

Last night's fire brigade said all efforts were focused on rescuing works of art in the cathedral and preventing the collapse of the north tower.

& # 39; Everything collapses, & # 39; said a police officer near the scene while the cathedral remained lit.

The ten bells of Notre Dame are famous throughout Europe and the first nine are called Marie, Gabriel, Anne-Genevieve, Denis, Marcel, Etienne, Benoit-Joseph, Maurice and Jean-Marie.

The last and largest, known as the Emmanuel bourdon bell, weighs more than 13 tons. It is located in the south tower and has been part of the building since 1681.

In 1944, Emmanuel was sung in feast and triumph by French troops and allies to announce to the city that it was on its way to liberation.

The famous gargoyles and chimeras that adorn Notre Dame were built in the 19th century by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc. The original purpose of the gargoyles was to help with the drainage of the building, but they have become one of the most popular functions.

The crown is an interleaved ring of reeds, the thorns are separated and displayed in churches in the medieval world

The crown is an interleaved ring of reeds, the thorns are separated and displayed in churches in the medieval world

The crown is an interleaved ring of reeds, the thorns are separated and displayed in churches in the medieval world

Catholics believe the relic the & # 39; crown & # 39; is that on Jesus' head was laid in mockery when he was crucified

Catholics believe the relic the & # 39; crown & # 39; is that on Jesus' head was laid in mockery when he was crucified

Catholics believe the relic the & # 39; crown & # 39; is that on Jesus' head was laid in mockery when he was crucified

A priest wipes the crown of thorns, a remnant of the passion of Christ, in Notre Dame de Paris

A priest wipes the crown of thorns, a remnant of the passion of Christ, in Notre Dame de Paris

A priest wipes the crown of thorns, a remnant of the passion of Christ, in Notre Dame de Paris

In 1790, Notre Dame was desecrated during the French Revolution when many of its religious images were damaged or destroyed and the treasures were looted.

The 28 statues of biblical kings in the west façade, confused with statues of French kings, were beheaded.

All other large statues on the facade, with the exception of the Virgin Mary on the cloister of the monastery, were destroyed.

The cathedral was restored more than 25 years after the publication of the book The Whistleblower of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo in 1831 put it in the spotlight.

Sixteen images that were part of the ruined spire of the cathedral were safe and undamaged after being removed a few days ago as part of a renovation and the relics were also saved.

The green-gray images, which represented the 12 apostles and four evangelists, were apparently lowered and taken away from the site by cranes.

The cathedral also has a spectacular array of carved stalls and statues that represent the passion of the Christ.

A man raises his hand to his mouth in pure shock as he sees the flames burst from the historic catherdral

A man raises his hand to his mouth in pure shock as he sees the flames burst from the historic catherdral

A man raises his hand to his mouth in pure shock as he sees the flames burst from the historic catherdral

A woman reacts with horror when she sees the sea of ​​fire engulf the roof of Notre Dame. The colossal fire swept through the cathedral causing a spire to collapse and threatening to destroy the entire masterpiece and its precious artworks. The fire, which ground in the early evening, sent flames and huge clouds of gray smoke billowing into the Paris sky as stunned Parisians and tourists looked on in dismay

A woman reacts with horror as she watches the collosal fire engulf the roof of the Notre Dame. The colossal fire swept through the cathedral causing a spire to collapse and threatening to destroy the entire masterpiece and its precious artworks. The fire, which began in the early evening, sent flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the Paris sky as stunned Parisians and tourists looked on in dismay

A woman reacts with horror as she watches the collosal fire engulf the roof of the Notre Dame. The colossal fire swept through the cathedral causing a spire to collapse and threatening to destroy the entire masterpiece and its precious artworks. The fire, which began in the early evening, sent flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the Paris sky as stunned Parisians and tourists looked on in dismay

A woman on the phone looks on at the burning cathedral and smoke billows into the sky. The spire of Paris's famous Notre Dame cathedral has already collapsed earlier this evening

A woman on the phone looks on at the burning cathedral and smoke billows into the sky. The spire of Paris's famous Notre Dame cathedral has already collapsed earlier this evening

A woman on the phone looks on at the burning cathedral and smoke billows into the sky. The spire of Paris's famous Notre Dame cathedral has already collapsed earlier this evening

A man holds his hands on his head in despair as the smoke billows from the cathedral this evening as firefighers desperately battle the blaze

A man holds his hands on his head in despair as the smoke billows from the cathedral this evening as firefighers desperately battle the blaze

A man holds his hands on his head in despair as the smoke billows from the cathedral this evening as firefighers desperately battle the blaze

People kneel on the pavement as they pray outside watching the flames engulf Notre Dame Cathedral this evening

People kneel on the pavement as they pray outside watching the flames engulf Notre Dame Cathedral this evening

People kneel on the pavement as they pray outside watching the flames engulf Notre Dame Cathedral this evening

A woman with tears in her eyes grasps her hands as she watches the flames spread across the cathedral and a man desperately lays his head in his hands.

A woman with tears in her eyes grasps her hands as she watches the flames spread across the cathedral and a man desperately lays his head in his hands.

A woman with tears in her eyes grasps her hands as she watches the flames spread across the cathedral and a man desperately lays his head in his hands.

Parisians and toursits look on in utter shock as the flames engulf the historic cathedral, which is visited by millions every year

Parisians and toursits look on in utter shock as the flames engulf the historic cathedral, which is visited by millions every year

Parisians and toursits look on in utter shock as the flames engulf the historic cathedral, which is visited by millions every year

A woman reacts in shock when she sees the flames being flooded by the roof of Notre Dame in Paris tonight

A woman reacts in shock when she sees the flames being flooded by the roof of Notre Dame in Paris tonight

A woman reacts in shock when she sees the flames being flooded by the roof of Notre Dame in Paris tonight

Firefighters using hoses from all four sides of Notre Dame to try and douse the flames which tore through the building at a startling pace

Firefighters using hoses from all four sides of Notre Dame to try and douse the flames which tore through the building at a startling pace

Firefighters using hoses from all four sides of Notre Dame to try and douse the flames which tore through the building at a startling pace

Firefighters look on at the fire fire at the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris as they cross a bridge over the river Seine

Firefighters look on at the fire fire at the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris as they cross a bridge over the river Seine

Firefighters look on at the fire fire at the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris as they cross a bridge over the river Seine

Parisians gather tonight on the Seine to watch the flames spread through the cathedral. The fire started in the late afternoon

Parisians gather tonight on the Seine to watch the flames spread through the cathedral. The fire started in the late afternoon

Parisians gather tonight on the Seine to watch the flames spread through the cathedral. The fire started in the late afternoon

Crowds watch the flames flood the building on Monday night. Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit invited priests throughout France to ring church bells in a call to prayer for the beloved cathedral of Paris

Crowds watch the flames flood the building on Monday night. Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit invited priests throughout France to ring church bells in a call to prayer for the beloved cathedral of Paris

Crowds watch the flames flood the building on Monday night. Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit invited priests throughout France to ring church bells in a call to prayer for the beloved cathedral of Paris

French fire crews check the hoses in the streets of Paris on Monday evening. While the cathedral continued to burn, Parisians gathered to pray and sing hymns outside the church of Saint Julien Les Pauvres over the Notre Dame river as the flames lit the sky behind them

French fire crews check the hoses in the streets of Paris on Monday evening. While the cathedral continued to burn, Parisians gathered to pray and sing hymns outside the church of Saint Julien Les Pauvres over the Notre Dame river as the flames lit the sky behind them

French fire crews check the hoses in the streets of Paris on Monday evening. While the cathedral continued to burn, Parisians gathered to pray and sing hymns outside the church of Saint Julien Les Pauvres over the Notre Dame river as the flames lit the sky behind them

People sit and watch in disbelief, while the roof of Notre Dame burns on Monday afternoon and into the evening

People sit and watch in disbelief, while the roof of Notre Dame burns on Monday afternoon and into the evening

People sit and watch in disbelief, while the roof of Notre Dame burns on Monday afternoon and into the evening

Sparks fill the Parisian air on Monday night while firefighters spray water to try and stop the fire. The Louvre Museum has described the fire as 'a tragedy for World Heritage'. A comment on the art museum's official Twitter account said: 'The fire which has struck Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a tragedy for World Heritage. 'The Louvre expresses its deepest admiration and solidarity with those who are currently battling the flames'

Sparks fill the Parisian air on Monday night while firefighters spray water to try and stop the fire. The Louvre Museum has described the fire as 'a tragedy for World Heritage'. A comment on the art museum's official Twitter account said: 'The fire which has struck Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a tragedy for World Heritage. 'The Louvre expresses its deepest admiration and solidarity with those who are currently battling the flames'

Sparks fill the Parisian air on Monday night while firefighters spray water to try and stop the fire. The Louvre Museum has described the fire as 'a tragedy for World Heritage'. A comment on the art museum's official Twitter account said: 'The fire which has struck Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a tragedy for World Heritage. 'The Louvre expresses its deepest admiration and solidarity with those who are currently battling the flames'

The flames and smoke engulf the historic gothic building on Monday afternoon. Parisians prayed and cried as they watched it burn

The flames and smoke engulf the historic gothic building on Monday afternoon. Parisians prayed and cried as they watched it burn

The flames and smoke engulf the historic gothic building on Monday afternoon. Parisians prayed and cried as they watched it burn

French fire crew gather on the parvis in front door of the Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday evening as flames are burning its roof in Paris

French fire crew gather on the parvis in front door of the Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday evening as flames are burning its roof in Paris

French fire crew gather on the parvis in front door of the Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday evening as flames are burning its roof in Paris

Officials say the fire may be accompanied by renovation work, as the spire is undergoing a $ 6.8 million renovation this year

Officials say the fire may be accompanied by renovation work, as the spire is undergoing a $ 6.8 million renovation this year

Officials say the fire may be accompanied by renovation work, as the spire is undergoing a $ 6.8 million renovation this year

The fire on Monday

The fire on Monday

The fire could be seen from miles around

The fire could be seen from miles around

The blaze could be seen from across Paris on Monday night as officials in the city said a major operation was in place to put it out

Earlier on Monday evening small amounts of smoke were spotted above the landmark as the fire took hold

Earlier on Monday evening small amounts of smoke were spotted above the landmark as the fire took hold

Earlier on Monday evening small amounts of smoke were spotted above the landmark as the fire took hold

Huge plumes of smoke rose from the Cathedral as horrified spectators gathered in a nearby square

Huge plumes of smoke rose from the Cathedral as horrified spectators gathered in a nearby square

Earlier on Monday evening small amounts of smoke were spotted above the landmark as the fire took hold

Pictures from across Paris showed the historic cathedral ablaze on Friday evening after the fire reportedly broke out in the building's attic

Pictures from across Paris showed the historic cathedral ablaze on Friday evening after the fire reportedly broke out in the building's attic

Earlier on Monday evening small amounts of smoke were spotted above the landmark as the fire took hold

Our Lady of Paris: The 850-year-old cathedral that survived being sacked in the Revolution to become Europe's most-visited historical monument

Intrigued by stories about Quasimodo, fascinated by the gargoyles, or on a pilgrimage to see the Crown of Thorns say they have been sitting on Jesus' head on the Cross, more than 13 million people gather every year for the most popular historic monument of Europe.

The 12th-century Catholic cathedral is a masterpiece of French-Gothic design, with a cave-shaped vaulted ceiling and some of the largest rose windows on the continent.

It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Paris and its 69m-tall towers were the tallest structures in Paris until the completion of the Eiffel Tower in 1889.

It survived a partial sacking by 16th century zealots and the destruction of many of its treasures during the atheist French Revolution but remains one of the greatest churches in the world and was the scene of Emperor Napoleon's coronation in 1804.

A view of the middle-aged stained rosace on the south side of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral

A view of the middle-aged stained rosace on the south side of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral

A view of the middle-aged stained rosace on the south side of Notre Dame de Paris cathedral

The first stone was laid for Pope Alexander III in 1163, with construction work on the original structure completed in 1260.

The roof of the ship was built with a new technology: the rib vault. The ship's roof was supported by crossed ribs that divided each vault into compartments, and the use of four-part instead of six-part rib vaults meant that the roofs were stronger and could be higher.

After the original structure was completed in the mid 13th century – following the consecration of the High altar in 1182 – flying  buttresses had been invented, and were added to spread the weight of the mighty vault.

The original spire was built in the 13th century, probably between 1220 and 1230. It was battered, weakened and bent by the wind for five centuries, and was eventually removed in 1786.

During a restoration from the 19th century, after desecration during the revolution, it was made again with a new version of oak covered with lead. The entire spire weighed 750 tons.

Three relics were held at the top of the peak; a small piece of the Doornenkroon, located in the treasury of the cathedral; and relics of Denis and Saint Genevieve, patron saints of Paris. They were placed there in 1935 by the Archbishop Verdier to protect the congregation against lightning or other damage.

The Crown of Thorns was one of the great remains of medieval Christianity. It was acquired by Louis IX, King of France, in Constantinople in AD 1239 for the price of 135,000 livres – nearly half of France's annual spending.

The extensive reliquary shrine that houses only one of the thorns is located in the cathedral and has been moved from the Saint-Chappelle church in Paris. The thorn is mounted on a large sapphire in the middle.

The crown itself is also held in the cathedral and is usually seen by the public on Good Friday – which appears at the end of this week.

Notre-Dame de Paris is home to the relic accepted by Catholics the world over cathedral. The holy crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ during the Passion

Notre-Dame de Paris is home to the relic accepted by Catholics the world over cathedral. The holy crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ during the Passion

Notre-Dame de Paris is home to the relic accepted by Catholics the world over cathedral. The holy crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ during the Passion

During the 1790s with the country in the grip of atheist revolution, the cathedral was desecrated and much of its religious iconography destroyed. It was again dedicated to the Cult of Reason and 28 statues of biblical kings – wrongly adopted by French monarchs – were beheaded. Even the big bubbles were almost melted.

Napoleon returned the cathedral to the Catholic Church and was crowned Emperor there in 1804, but by the middle of the 19th century much of the iconic building.

It wasn't until the publication of Victor Hugo's novel – The Hunchback of Notre Dame – in 1831 that public interest in the building resurfaced and repair works began.

A major restoration project was launched in 1845 and took 25 years to complete.

Architects Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Lassus and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc won the commission.

By 1944 the cathedral was to be damaged again and during the liberation of Paris, stray bullets caused minor damage to the medieval stained glass.

This would be updated with modern designs.

In 1963 France's Culture Minister, André Malraux, ordered the cleaning of the facade of the cathedral, where 800 years worth of soot and grime were removed.

Notre Dame has a crypt, called the Crypte archéologique de l'île de la Cité, where old architectural ruins are stored. They span from the times of the earliest settlement in Paris to present day.

The cathedral has 10 bells, the heaviest bell – known as the boudon and weighing 13 tonnes – is called Emmanuel and has been rung to mark many historical events throughout time.

At the end of the First and Second World Wars the bell was rung to mark the end of the conflicts.

It is also rung to signify poignant events such as French heads of state dying or following horrific events such as the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

The three stained glass windows are the most famous features of the cathedral. They were made in Gothic style between 1225 and 1270.

Although most of the original glass has long since disappeared, a part remains in the southern rose that dates from the last quarter of the 12th century.

The rest of the windows were restored in the 18th century.

The southern rose consists of 94 medallions that are arranged in four concentric circles.

They depict scenes from the life of Christ and those who knew him – with the inner circle showing the 12 apostles in it, twelve medallions.

During the French Revolution, rioters set fire to the Archbishop's residence, which was on the side of the cathedral, and the southern rose was damaged.

One of the first organs of the cathedral was built in 1403 by Friedrich Schambantz but was replaced in the 18th century before being reconstructed using the pipework of former instruments.

The Cathedral is also home to a Catholic relic said to be a single thorn from the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross.

'It's burning to the ground': Trump tweets about massive fire as Notre Dame goes up in flames and suggests use of airborne water tankers – then questions the renovation work at the iconic cathedral

President Donald Trump tweeted about the massive fire engulfing Notre Dame Monday, suggesting the use of flying water tankers to douse the flames – then appeared to criticize renovation work that may have caused it.

Trump tweeted aboard Air Force One on his way to Minnesota, while viewers around the world saw the iconic cathedral in flames.

& # 39; So terrible to see the huge fire in Notre Dame in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers can be used to turn it off. Must act quickly! & # 39; Trump wrote on his way to Minnesota for an event about taxes.

Later, at his Tax Day event, Trump told a crowd about the 'terrible, terrible fire.'

'The fire that they're having at the Notre Dame Cathedral is something like few people have witnessed,' the president said.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the fire on Notre Dame Monday

The president suggested using tankers in the air

The president suggested using tankers in the air

The president suggested using tankers in the air

'When we left the plane, it was burning at a level that you rarely see a fire burn. It's one of the great treasures of the world,' Trump continued.

'It's one of the great treasures in the world. The greatest artists in the world. Probably if you think about it … it might be greater almost than any museum in the world and it's burning very badly. Looks like It's burning to the ground,' the president added, as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze.

Trump said he had a 'communication' with France but did not specify if he spoke to French authorities.

'That puts a damper on what we're about to say to be honest,' Trump told his audience in Minnesota. 'Because that is beyond countries. That's beyond anything. That's a part of our growing up it's a part of our culture, it's a part of our lives. That's a truly great cathedral. And I've been there and I've seen it … There's probably no cathedral in the world like it,' Trump said.

'They think it was caused by renovation. And I hope that's the reason,' Trump continued. Renovation. What's that all about?' Trump said. Then he called it a 'terrible sight to behold.'

'With that being said, I want to tell you that a lot of progress has been made by our country in the last two and a half years, ' Trump said, segueing into his tax event. 'Hard to believe we're already starting to think about our next election.'

Great buildings ravaged by fire: From Windsor Castle to York Minster

The Windsor Castle fire of November 1992

A fire broke out at Windsor Castle on November 20, 1992, which caused extensive damage to the royal residence.

The Berkshire blaze started at 11am in Queen Victoria's Private Chapel after a faulty spotlight ignited a curtain next to the altar.

Within minutes the blaze had spread to St George's Hall next door, and the fire would go on to destroy 115 rooms, including nine State Rooms.

Three hours after the blaze was first spotted 225 firemen from seven counties were battling the fire, using 36 pumps to discharge 1.5million gallons of water at the inferno's peak.

The fire break at the other end of St George's Hall remained unbreached, so the Royal Library was fortunately left undamaged.

A fire broke out at Windsor Castle on November 20, 1992, which caused extensive damage to the royal residence

A fire broke out at Windsor Castle on November 20, 1992, which caused extensive damage to the royal residence

A fire broke out at Windsor Castle on November 20, 1992, which caused extensive damage to the royal residence

Staff worked to remove works of art from the Royal Collection from the path of the fire.

According to the Royal Collection Trust: 'The Castle's Quadrangle was full of some of the finest examples of French 18th-century furniture, paintings by Van Dyck, Rubens and Gainsborough, Sèvres porcelain and other treasures of the Collection.

'Amazingly, only two works of art were lost in the fire – a rosewood sideboard and a very large painting by Sir William Beechey that couldn't be taken down from the wall in time. Luckily works of art had already been removed from many rooms in advance of rewiring work.'

The Duke of York had said he he heard the fire alarm and roughly two or three minutes later he saw the smoke after leaving the room he was in, according to contemporary reports.

Prince Andrew had joined a group removing valuable works of art from the castle to save them from destruction.

The York Minster fire of 1984

Pictured: Aftermath of the York Minster fire of July 9, 1984

Pictured: Aftermath of the York Minster fire of July 9, 1984

Pictured: Aftermath of the York Minster fire of July 9, 1984

Early in the morning of July 9, 1984, York Minster's south transept was set ablaze, destroying the roof and causing £2.25million worth of damage.

More than 100 firefighters confronted the church fire, taking two hours to bring it to heel.

The cause of the fire is believed to have been a lightning bolt that struck the cathedral shortly after midnight.

The blaze seriously damaged the cathedral's stonework, along with its famous Rose Window, and firefighters were left tackling embers on the floor after the roof collapsed at 4am.

Minster staff and clergy busied themselves saving as many artefacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control at around 5.24am.

An investigation ruled out an electrical or gas fault, and arson was discounted due to roof's inaccessibility. Tests had found that the blaze was 'almost certainly' caused by a lightning strike but much of the evidence was destroyed in the fire.

The building was restored in 1988 after masonry teams re-carved stonework above the building's rose window and arches.

It was reported that the rose window, designed to celebrate the marriage of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, reached a temperature of 842F during the incident, cracking the glass in several places before it was restored.

It was not the first time the building had caught ablaze.

In the early hours of February 1, 1829, Jonathan Martin set the building on fire, melting the lead from the roof and cracking the building's limestone pillars.

Late that afternoon the fire started dying out after roughly 230 feet of choir roof had collapsed.

Non-conformist Martin, a former sailor from Northumberland, did not believe in formal liturgy, had published pamphlets condemning the clergy as 'vipers of Hell'.

He was charged with setting the building on fire, but was found not guilty due to insanity, and died in a London asylum in 1838.

Pictured: The roof of the South Transept of York Minster ablaze at the height of the fire. Minster staff and clergy busied themselves saving as many artefacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control at around 5.24am

Pictured: The roof of the South Transept of York Minster ablaze at the height of the fire. Minster staff and clergy busied themselves saving as many artefacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control at around 5.24am

Pictured: The roof of the South Transept of York Minster ablaze at the height of the fire. Minster staff and clergy busied themselves saving as many artefacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control at around 5.24am

The Great Fire of London

St Paul’s Cathedral (pictured now) caught fire, with the lead roof melting and pouring into the street 'like a river' as the building collapsed

St Paul’s Cathedral (pictured now) caught fire, with the lead roof melting and pouring into the street 'like a river' as the building collapsed

St Paul’s Cathedral (pictured now) caught fire, with the lead roof melting and pouring into the street 'like a river' as the building collapsed

On September 2, 1666, a fire broke out Thomas Farriner's bakery in Pudding Lane, close to London Bridge. The summer of 1666 had been unusually hot, and the city had not seen rain for several weeks, leaving wooden houses and buildings tinder dry.

Once the fire had taken hold, 300 houses quickly collapsed and strong east winds fanned the flames from house to house, sweeping the blaze through London's winding narrow lanes, with houses positioned close together.

In an attempt to flee the fire by boat, Londoners poured down to the River Thames and the city was overtaken by chaos.

There was no fire brigade in London at the time, so residents themselves had to fight the fire with the help of local soldiers.

They used buckets of water, water squirts and fire hooks, pulling down houses with hooks to make gaps or 'fire breaks', but the wind helped fan the fire across the created gaps.

King Charles II had ordered that houses in the path of the fire should be pulled down – but the fire outstripped the hooked poles that were used to try and achieve this.

By September 4 half of London had been overtaken by the blaze, and King Charles himself joined firefighters, handing them buckets of water in a desperate attempt to bring the blaze under control.

Gunpowder was deployed to blow up houses that lay in the path's fire, but the sound of explosions triggered rumours of a French invasion, heightening the city's panic.

St Paul’s Cathedral caught fire, with the lead roof melting and pouring into the street 'like a river' as the cathedral collapsed.

The fire was eventually brought under control and extinguished by September 6, leaving just one fifth of London untouched.

Almost every civic building had been destroyed, along with 13,000 private homes, 87 parish churches, The Royal Exchange, and Guildhall.

Roughly 350,000 people lived in London just before the Great Fire, making the city one of the largest in Europe.

A monument was erected in Pudding Lane, where the blaze broke out.

By September 4 half of London had been overtaken by the blaze, and King Charles himself joined firefighters, handing them buckets of water in a desperate attempt to bring the blaze under control (pictured: An illustration from 1834)

By September 4 half of London had been overtaken by the blaze, and King Charles himself joined firefighters, handing them buckets of water in a desperate attempt to bring the blaze under control (pictured: An illustration from 1834)

By September 4 half of London had been overtaken by the blaze, and King Charles himself joined firefighters, handing them buckets of water in a desperate attempt to bring the blaze under control (pictured: An illustration from 1834)

The Great Fire of Rome , 64AD

The Great Fire of Rome, during the reign of Emperor Nero in 64AD, destroyed much of the city after the blaze began in the slums south of the aristocratic Palatine Hill.

Strong winds fanned the fire north, scorching homes in its path, causing widespread panic during the inferno's three-day duration.

Hundreds died in the conflagration, and thousands were left homeless. Three of the 14 districts were completely destroyed, and only four remained completely untouched.

That Emperor Nero 'fiddled while the city burned' has become popular legend, but is not accurate. The Emperor was 35 miles away in Antium when the fire broke out and allowed his palace to be used as a shelter. And the fiddle had not yet been invented.

Nero, who used the fire as an opportunity to rebuild the city in a more Greek style, blamed Christians for the fire, ordering the arrest, torture and execution of hundreds of the religion's faithful.

Historian Tacitus said the fire was 'graver and more terrible than any other which had befallen this city.'

'Art and history destroyed before our eyes': Witnesses share their horror as the Notre Dame Cathedral is engulfed in flames

Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames on Monday in a roaring blaze that devastated the Parisian landmark, leaving the city, France, and the international community distraught.

Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

While a huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area, Parisians and tourists watched on, as others took to social media to express their sorrow.

'Centuries of art and history destroyed before our eyes. This building has stood since the Middle Ages. This is absolutely devastating,' one Twitter user wrote.

Later in the evening, those in the city gathered together to say prayers and sing hymns in front of the nearby Saint Julien Les Pauvres church as the massive blaze continued only a few hundred meters away.

Onlookers stand on a bridge as the stare in shock at the smoke and flames rising through the landmark in Paris

Onlookers stand on a bridge as the stare in shock at the smoke and flames rising through the landmark in Paris

Onlookers stand on a bridge as the stare in shock at the smoke and flames rising through the landmark in Paris

Many were quietly singing an Ave Maria in Latin, including Stephane Seigneurie, 52, who said he has lived in Paris for the past 25 years.

& # 39; I come often and even enter where there is no mass because it is an extraordinary place, woven into the history of France & # 39 ;, he said. & # 39; Politically, intellectually and spiritually, it is a symbol of France. & # 39;

Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit has invited priests across France to ring the bells of their churches in a call for prayers for Notre Dame.

'Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before,' said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s, who had biked over to the scene after being alerted of the fire by a friend.

'I'm a Parisian, my father was a Parisian, my grandfather as well – this was something we brought our sons to see,' he said. 'I won't be showing this to my son.'

'It's a tragedy,' he added. 'If you pray, now is the time to pray.'

'Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,' said witness Jacek Poltorak, watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France's most visited places.

People sit and watch as the flames blaze through the landmark building in Paris, France

People sit and watch as the flames blaze through the landmark building in Paris, France

People sit and watch as the flames blaze through the landmark building in Paris, France

A woman reacts as she watches the flames engulf the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A woman reacts as she watches the flames engulf the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A woman reacts as she watches the flames engulf the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A woman reacts as she watches the flames engulf the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A woman talks on the phone and begins to cry as she watches the flames rip through the roof

'Notre Dame is perhaps one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever set foot in, and watching it burn down is absolutely soul crushing,' read one Twitter post.

'Terrible seeing the Notre Dame in flames. Art and history turned to ashes. So glad no one has been hurt. Paris we are with you and will be there to see it restored. Shocking news,' another social media user said.

Others described the tragedy of never being able to see the Notre Dame as it was before the blaze.

'Sad I'll never get to see Notre Dame,' one Twitter user wrote. 'It's on my bucket list and now one of the historic landmarks is just gone! Thoughts go out to France'.

'It's finished, we'll never be able to see it again,' said Jerome Fautrey, a 37-year-old who had come to watch.

Buildings around were evacuated and nobody was injured, junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said at the scene, adding: 'It's too early to determine the causes of the fire.'

France 2 television reported that police were treating it as an accident.

'Everything is collapsing,' a police officer near the scene said as the entire roof of the cathedral continued to burn.

'Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,' President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

'There are a lot of art works inside…it's a real tragedy,' Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said at the scene.

Crowds of stunned Parisians and tourists - some crying, others offering prayers - watched in horror in central Paris on Monday night as firefighters struggled for hours to extinguish the flames engulfing the Notre Dame Cathedral

Crowds of stunned Parisians and tourists - some crying, others offering prayers - watched in horror in central Paris on Monday night as firefighters struggled for hours to extinguish the flames engulfing the Notre Dame Cathedral

Crowds of stunned Parisians and tourists – some crying, others offering prayers – watched in horror in central Paris on Monday night as firefighters struggled for hours to extinguish the flames engulfing the Notre Dame Cathedral

Ask for the Paris fire brigade if the Notre Dame inferno gets out of hand for hours

The authorities have revealed that they will not be able to drop water to Notre Dame to tame the fire for fear that it will destroy the remains of the 850-year-old cathedral and injure people in the neighborhood.

The tactic was suggested by US President Donald Trump on Twitter but it hasn't been deployed because of the risks it could pose not only to the historic building but to any people nearby.

The French Interior Ministry tweeted to say that 400 firefighters have been mobilised to help tackle the blaze that is engulfing the cathedral.

The French Interior Ministry has tweeted to say 400 firefighters have been mobilised to help tackle the blaze

The French Interior Ministry has tweeted to say 400 firefighters have been mobilised to help tackle the blaze

The French Interior Ministry has tweeted to say 400 firefighters have been mobilised to help tackle the blaze

In the event of intense fires, a water bomb jet – called a Canadair – can be used to drop large amounts of water.

Hundreds of comments have flooded in on the Pompiers du Paris Twitter page in support of the brave firefighters risking their lives to save Notre Dame.

French news site Le Monde, explains: & # 39; A Canadair projects around six tons of high-speed water to the ground.

& # 39; The danger is great that it will injure one or more people in the building. That is why Canadair interventions are so rare in urban and peri-urban areas.

& # 39; Such & # 39; n intervention could also substantially destroy the little structure of the cathedral. & # 39;

The French Interior Ministry have mobilised 400 firefighters to help tackle the blazing inferno which has been burning for

If an accident occurs while a Canadair is being used, the pilot may also be prosecuted.

Canadairs were used earlier this year in March when France experienced intense forest fires near Valdeblore in the Alpes-Maritimes.

They were also used in 2017 when France experienced intense forest fires that forced 10,000 people to evacuate their homes and campsites overnight.

The French Interior Ministry has mobilised 400 firefighters to help tackle the inferno that has been burning for hours

The French Interior Ministry has mobilised 400 firefighters to help tackle the inferno that has been burning for hours

The French Interior Ministry has mobilised 400 firefighters to help tackle the inferno that has been burning for hours

French news site Le Monde, explains: & # 39; A Canadair projects around six tons of high-speed water to the ground & # 39 ;. Stock image of a Canadair

French news site Le Monde, explains: & # 39; A Canadair projects around six tons of high-speed water to the ground & # 39 ;. Stock image of a Canadair

French news site Le Monde, explains: & # 39; A Canadair projects around six tons of high-speed water to the ground & # 39 ;. Stock image of a Canadair