Notre Dame was revealed only thirty minutes after collapse – minister

Notre Dame was only 30 minutes from complete collapse before heroic firefighters could stop the inferno on Monday night – it was revealed.

Laurent Nuñez, the French junior minister of the Interior, said that a group of about 20 firefighters had managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to the belfries of the church – which saved 13-ton bells from taking apart the remaining structure.

Experts warned officials during the Monday night disaster that if the wooden bell towers were to fall victim to the fire, the weight of the falling bubbles would almost certainly have destroyed the towers below.

Mr. Nuñez said that firefighters risk the towers & # 39; with danger to their own life & # 39; entered less than half an hour before the flames cracked through the belfries.

Inferno: The burning interior of Notre Dame Cathedral during the horrific eruption in Paris on Monday evening

Inferno: The burning interior of Notre Dame Cathedral during the horrific eruption in Paris on Monday evening

Inferno: The burning interior of Notre Dame Cathedral during the horrific eruption in Paris on Monday evening

Heroes: Paris firefighters run into the cathedral to fight the fire and save the medieval building from ruin

On Tuesday, the government revealed the treasures that survived the fire – with the large organ and several invaluable paintings that were said to have been destroyed.

Franck Riester, France's minister of culture, said on Tuesday that the main organ of the cathedral seems to be pretty damaged & # 39; by the fire, while the fate of various other objects is unknown.

The British choir sang in the Notre Dame hours before the fire

A British choir performed the final concert in Notre Dame in front of the devastating fire. Twelve members of I Dodici sang choral works in front of the altar of the cathedral on Monday morning.

A video filmed by an unknown member of the audience shows the sunshine that shines through the beautiful stained glass. She later sent the images to the London-based group and told them of her & # 39; immense pleasure & # 39; in attending the moving concert with her husband.

She wrote: & # 39; In the light of the terrible events that are now unfolding, we thought you should have this video of what is unfortunately the last concert in the cathedral. & # 39;

Conductor of the London-based university choir Gabriel Chernick said it was a & # 39; real privilege & # 39; was to be in a & # 39; space with such & # 39; n rich history & # 39; n to sing. When he asked him how he felt when he heard about the fire, he added: & # 39; It was awful, we were all quite emotionally involved when we just played there. & # 39;

Firefighters reported that some of the large paintings in the cathedral were too heavy to remove from the walls and save.

Mr Riester said that the paintings were largely undamaged, but many may suffer from the smoke.

& # 39; The large paintings are not affected by the fire at first sight. But there is often water damage in these situations, & Mr Riester added.

It is because it was reported that officials attending the Notre Dame fire could not find any sign of fire at first, despite the fact that the alarm was lifted 23 minutes before the structure went up in flames.

Paris prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, announced on Tuesday that firefighters were called to the world-famous cathedral at 6:20 pm Central European time, almost half an hour before the roof caught fire after a fire alarm was triggered.

But after an initial inspection, they said they couldn't find any evidence of fire.

Firefighters stayed inside Notre Dame until a second alarm went off at 6:03 pm and eventually discovered a fire in the network of wooden beams under the roof of the cathedral – but were unable to turn it off.

Mr. Heitz said tonight: "What we know at this stage is that there was an initial alarm at 6:20 pm, followed by a procedure to verify this, but no fire as found.

& # 39; Then there was a second alarm at 6:43 PM. and at that time a fire was detected in the structure.

& # 39; The study will be long and complex, & # 39; he added. & # 39; We are in the process of interviewing witnesses. & # 39;

A robot fires water from a hose to extinguish the flames in the cathedral on Monday evening

After finally responding to the eruption, French firefighters were filmed running into the burning Notre Dame to save the 850-year-old cathedral from ruin.

The fearless rescue team burst into the inferno with huge flames leaping over the church and sparks tumbling out of the ceiling after the roof of the milestone in Paris caught fire.

Firefighters fought for eight hours to suppress the fire that destroyed the roof and spire of the cathedral, but despite the fear that the entire building might collapse, the stone buildings and iconic bell towers remain standing today.

The firemen's actions – and their rapid deployment of a robot to flush the cathedral – meant that priceless treasures, including famous relics of the crucifixion and stained glass windows from the 13th century, were saved from the fire .

Today, new photos of the interior of Notre Dame haunted the floor. The experts warn that the damage can take tens of years before they are repaired, while investigators investigate the renovation work that may have led to the fire.

The photos revealed that a statue of Jesus descending from the cross, positioned on the altar, was kept between the smoldering debris after the roof was destroyed by Monday night's fire.

The three & # 39; irreplaceable & # 39; rose windows, dating from the 13th century and feared to have melted or exploded last night, were also intact.

A Parisian fireman sprays water into the inferno in Notre Dame while fighting for eight hours to save the monument

A Parisian fireman sprays water into the inferno in Notre Dame while fighting for eight hours to save the monument

A Parisian fireman sprays water into the inferno in Notre Dame while fighting for eight hours to save the monument

The preserved golden crucifix and altar in the wreck of Notre Dame in Paris after the inferno destroyed the roof and much of the structure of the 850-year-old church on Monday evening

The preserved golden crucifix and altar in the wreck of Notre Dame in Paris after the inferno destroyed the roof and much of the structure of the 850-year-old church on Monday evening

The preserved golden crucifix and altar in the wreck of Notre Dame in Paris after the inferno destroyed the roof and much of the structure of the 850-year-old church on Monday evening

Natural light flows into the cathedral after much of the roof has been burned away in the fire, when 400 firefighters were mobilized to tackle the catastrophe

Natural light flows into the cathedral after much of the roof has been burned away in the fire, when 400 firefighters were mobilized to tackle the catastrophe

Natural light flows into the cathedral after much of the roof has been burned away in the fire, when 400 firefighters were mobilized to tackle the catastrophe

The attention is now accustomed to what Notre Dame, part of which was restored in a € 150 million renovation, could potentially make victims of such a disaster.

The attention of prosecutors currently lies with contractors Le Bras Freres, whose owner Julien Le Bras suggested last year that his goal was to preserve as many old items as possible and not endanger the building & # 39; after they received a € 5.7 million (£ 5m, $ 6.5m) contract as part of the cathedral restoration project.

Detectives investigating the catastrophic outburst today interview specialized restorers who were working on the cathedral spire when the inferno broke out.

The French police are said to have launched a criminal investigation after a & # 39; stray flame & # 39; has flooded the fire last night, with heroic firefighters fighting for eight hours to control the fire.

The Paris public prosecutor investigates & # 39; involuntary destruction caused by fire & # 39; indicating that authorities treat the fire as a tragic accident and not arson or terrorism.

& # 39; Nothing indicates that it was a voluntary act & # 39 ;, Remy Heitz told reporters outside the gothic cathedral, adding that the workers working at the site were questioned during the Monday fire.

The moment the steeple of Notre Dame began to collapse while distraught Parisians watched the catastrophe, she uttered a collective cry of disbelief when she saw it fall on Monday evening

The moment the steeple of Notre Dame began to collapse while distraught Parisians watched the catastrophe, she uttered a collective cry of disbelief when she saw it fall on Monday evening

The moment the steeple of Notre Dame began to collapse while distraught Parisians watched the catastrophe, she uttered a collective cry of disbelief when she saw it fall on Monday evening

A view from above the ship

A view from above the ship

The wreck of the cathedral

The wreck of the cathedral

A view from above the nave (left) shows the remains of the cathedral and the roof, but some stained glass windows and statues (right) remain inside

The Paris fire brigade rushes into the intense heat and flames of the cathedral to save him from ruin tonight

The Paris fire brigade rushes into the intense heat and flames of the cathedral to save him from ruin tonight

The Paris fire brigade rushes into the intense heat and flames of the cathedral to save him from ruin tonight

Heroes: The Paris firefighters are preparing for the attack. Their actions have helped to save many precious relics and works of art

Heroes: The Paris firefighters are preparing for the attack. Their actions have helped to save many precious relics and works of art

Heroes: The Paris firefighters are preparing for the attack. Their actions have helped to save many precious relics and works of art

The huge firefighting operation was seen last night with multiple engines and hoses on site to save the huge cathedral

The huge firefighting operation was seen last night with multiple engines and hoses on site to save the huge cathedral

The huge firefighting operation was seen last night with multiple engines and hoses on site to save the huge cathedral

A fireman is hoisted onto a crane while French rescue workers fight to control the huge burning flame when darkness falls

A fireman is hoisted onto a crane while French rescue workers fight to control the huge burning flame when darkness falls

A fireman is hoisted onto a crane while French rescue workers fight to control the huge burning flame when darkness falls

Firefighters deploy their hoses while sparks fall from the ceiling, because Parisians feared that the entire building was in danger of being lost

Firefighters deploy their hoses while sparks fall from the ceiling, because Parisians feared that the entire building was in danger of being lost

Firefighters deploy their hoses while sparks fall from the ceiling, because Parisians feared that the entire building was in danger of being lost

Burnt debris today lies on the floor of the nave of Notre Dame after the devastating fire on Monday evening

Burnt debris today lies on the floor of the nave of Notre Dame after the devastating fire on Monday evening

Burnt debris today lies on the floor of the nave of Notre Dame after the devastating fire on Monday evening

A massive opening can be seen in the dome of Notre Dame Cathedral on Tuesday after the flames tore over the roof during a battle of more than 12 hours to save the building

A massive opening can be seen in the dome of Notre Dame Cathedral on Tuesday after the flames tore over the roof during a battle of more than 12 hours to save the building

A massive opening can be seen in the dome of Notre Dame Cathedral on Tuesday after the flames tore over the roof during a battle of more than 12 hours to save the building

One of the age-old windows was apparently still intact on Tuesday morning

One of the age-old windows was apparently still intact on Tuesday morning

The stained glass window in Notre Dame before the fire

The stained glass window in Notre Dame before the fire

Wreck: The first pictures in the cathedral on Tuesday morning seem to leave at least one of the rosy stained glass windows intact (left), but there is dirt on the floor. Shown on the right: the window before the fire

The roof was completely burned out

The roof was completely burned out

Debris on the floor in Notre Dame

Debris on the floor in Notre Dame

The wooden roof at Notre Dame (left) was completely burnt away – as experts said it could not be replaced as it was built in the Middle Ages – while charred debris covered the floor (right) but the bell towers remained intact

Before and after: The altar with the 1723 image Descent from the Cross comes from the ashes, left and earlier, right

The furious flames of the cathedral on Monday evening while Parisians and the world watched the eruption with horror

The furious flames of the cathedral on Monday evening while Parisians and the world watched the eruption with horror

The furious flames of the cathedral on Monday evening while Parisians and the world watched the eruption with horror

A diagram that shows which parts of the cathedral have been damaged or destroyed by the fire and are still intact

Before and after: Notre Dame before the fire in September 2010 (above) and on Tuesday, the day after the devastating fire, much of the 850-year-old cathedral (below) was destroyed

Before and after: Notre Dame before the fire in September 2010 (above) and on Tuesday, the day after the devastating fire, much of the 850-year-old cathedral (below) was destroyed

Before and after: Notre Dame before the fire in September 2010 (above) and on Tuesday, the day after the devastating fire, much of the 850-year-old cathedral (below) was destroyed

The 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

The 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

The 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

One of the upper windows seemed to have burned out even though a statue at the top survived

One of the upper windows seemed to have burned out even though a statue at the top survived

Rescue workers on the spot today

Rescue workers on the spot today

One of the upper windows seemed to have burned out even though a statue survived on the top (left), because rescue workers were being hoisted (right) today to the top of the cathedral during their investigation of Monday's devastating fire

Firefighters work on the facade of Notre Dame Cathedral on Tuesday after the fire that destroyed the roof and the spire

Firefighters work on the facade of Notre Dame Cathedral on Tuesday after the fire that destroyed the roof and the spire

Firefighters work on the facade of Notre Dame Cathedral on Tuesday after the fire that destroyed the roof and the spire

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

Hellescènes: photos of Notre Dame last night show the fire in the roof

Hellescènes: photos of Notre Dame last night show the fire in the roof

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.

Helly scenes: last night's photos of Notre Dame show the fire raging in the roof, left and ash raining from the roof, right

Fear of the treasures of Notre Dame: Christ & thorn crown has been saved, but fragment of the cross and nails & # 39; used to crucify Jesus who is not mentioned

The fate of many of Notre Dame's treasures is still unknown after the huge fire torn by the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday.

Experts are entering the wreck of the Paris landmark today to see which of the precious works of art and religious relics have been saved.

The mayor of Paris said that one of the most irreplaceable objects – the crown of thorns known to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion – was safe tonight.

But there are fears for the 13th-century stained glass windows and the magnificent organ of the church, while the wooden roof and the ornate spire have disappeared.

Safe: crown of thorns

One of the cathedral's most valuable items, a remnant believed to be the crown of thorns bearing Jesus Christ on the cross, was taken away to a secure facility.

Reports in France stated that the chaplain of the Paris fire brigade had gone in with the fire brigade to save the crown.

Experts said the irreplaceable item is in a & # 39; very safe place & # 39; was saved.

Reports of the existence of the crown of thorns begin in the sixth century AD, when it is believed to have been preserved by Christians in Jerusalem.

During the crusades in 1238, the Latin emperor of Constantinople gave it to King Louis IX to win his support and try to preserve his crumbling empire.

Louis IX brought the crown back to France and later became a saint.

Although the crown itself was saved, a small fragment of the crown had been preserved in the spire and is therefore believed to have been burned to ashes.

Unknown: True Cross and Holy Nails

Another relic of the cathedral is an alleged piece of the True Cross – precisely the instrument on which Jesus was crucified in the first century AD.

The collection also contains a nail that is said to be of the cross.

It was unclear Tuesday morning whether they had been saved together with the Doornenkroon.

Safe: tunic from St. Louis

A 13th-century linen tunic thought to belong to King Louis IX – canonized as St. Louis – was also secured, the mayor of Paris said.

In his 44-year reign, Louis participated in the Crusades and certain early principles of justice, such as the presumption of innocence.

He was proclaimed a saint in 1297 – the only French prince to receive the honor – and was responsible for acquiring the Crown of Thorns.

Safe: North, West and South Rose Windows

The beautiful stained glass artworks in the cathedral date from the 13th century.

There were fears last night that they would melt or explode, but the Archbishop of Paris told BFM-TV today that they were safe.

A French journalist on the scene last night said the north window turned out to be safe without any sign of broken glass, although firefighters remained concerned.

Architecture professor Julio Bermudez said that the stained glass windows & # 39; really irreplaceable & # 39; goods.

Some of the company's 200 specialized employees were working where the alleged fire started, the 300ft high wooden and lead spire of the cathedral, which collapsed before the crowd of horrified Parisians at 8 p.m.

A source near the investigation said many of the restorers were interviewed overnight, with prosecutors focusing on the equipment used in the 850-year-old cathedral, where light and power sources were limited.

In such circumstances, hordes of cables and wires would have to be attached to dozens of generators, which would then be hoisted high in the Middle Ages.

& # 39; The fear is that there was a small fire in the cross where they were working & # 39 ;, the source added.

& # 39; The irony is that the restorers had just begun the spire that collapsed along with much of the roof. & # 39;

Le Bras Freres is one of the most respected companies of its kind in France and last year completed a widespread restoration program for Reims Cathedral in the east of the country.

The company had won the € 5.7 million contract for the restoration of the spire of Notre Dame, designed by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and founded in 1859.

They would be on site for four years, together with Europe Scaffolding, another company that had just placed 250 tons of scaffolding around Notre Dame, along with a lift that could move the 300ft spire up and down.

The outbreak, which broke out when the last crowd of tourists stopped visiting around 7 p.m., was finally extinguished around 9.45 p.m. & # 39; explained.

As the fire raged, brave rescue teams raced to discover the treasures they could find of the Gothic masterpiece, which housed invaluable objects and remains of enormous religious and international significance.

Among them was the famous crown of thorns, presumably worn by Jesus during his crucifixion, brought to safety by a human chain of aid workers.

Today the Archbishop of Paris told BFM-TV that the three beautiful rose windows on the north, west and south side of the church had all remained intact.

The fears had grown for the & # 39; truly irreplaceable & # 39; stained glass windows, dating from the 13th century, amid the heat of the fire last night.

The status of other relics, including an alleged piece of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, remained unclear today.

The French priest Jean-Marc Fournier led the efforts to save the Crown of Thorns.

Etienne Loraillere, an editor of the KTO Catholic television network in France, said that Father Fournier & # 39; entered the Notre-Dame Cathedral with the fire brigade to save the Crown of Thorns and the Holy Sacrament & # 39 ;.

This was confirmed by a source of emergency services who said: & Father Fournier is an absolute hero.

& # 39; He showed no fear at all when he went straight to the relics in the cathedral and made sure they were saved. He treats life and death every day and shows no fear. & # 39;

More than 400 firefighters were needed to tame the inferno that saved the roof and collapsed the spire of the eight-century-old cathedral. They worked all night to fire the fire about 14 hours after it had started.

The richest man in France, Bernard Arnault, promises € 200 MILLION to repair Notre Dame – doubling the € 100 million donated by the billionaire husband of Salma Hayek

The richest man in France has pledged € 200 million for the restoration of Notre Dame in Paris, doubling the donation of Salma Hayek's husband.

Multi-billionaire Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury goods group LVMH, immediately became the biggest benefactor of an appeal from President Emmanuel Macron.

On Monday – the day of the eruption – French tycoon Francois-Henri Pinault, married to Hollywood actress Salma Hayek, pledged 100 million euros (£ 86.2 million) for the reconstruction of the cathedral.

But in a statement, the LVMH group said their donation would be double.

It said: & # 39; The Arnault family and the LVMH group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are associated with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity.

A statement by Francois-Henri Pinault said: & # 39; This tragedy affects all Frenchmen & # 39; and & # 39; everyone wants to restore life as quickly as possible to this jewel of our heritage & # 39 ;.

One fireman was injured; No one else was hurt in the fire that started after the building was closed to the public for the evening.

Shortly after the outbreak, French fashion actor Francois-Henri Pinault, the husband of Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek, promised 100 million euros (£ 86 million) for the restoration effort.

Hours later, French billionaire Bernard Arnault announced that his family and his luxury goods group LVMH would be donating 200 million euros to help with repairs.

French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral, regardless of the costs.

He said in a speech outside the church: & 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 deserves our history deepest destination. & # 39;

Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he hoped everyone would unite to rebuild the destroyed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris after a huge fire.

& # 39; I hope that thanks to the reconstruction and mobilization of all, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame can once again become a jewel in the heart of the city, & # 39; said Francis in a statement from the Vatican.

Leaders from all over the world offered their condolences to France. Among them was Queen Elizabeth II, who said: & Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire that has flooded Notre Dame Cathedral.

& # 39; I sincerely admire the emergency services who risked their lives trying to save this important national monument.

& # 39; My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship in the cathedral and throughout France during this difficult time. & # 39;

Notre Dame was previously the site of a terrorist attack in 2016 when a car with seven gas cylinders was found near the cathedral.

Three women were arrested over the alleged terrain lock, although they were probably aimed at a train station in Paris instead of the cathedral itself.

Police today made it clear that they believe Monday's fire was an accident.

Rescued treasures: rescued artifacts are saved in Paris after being rescued by the fire in Notre Dame

Rescued treasures: rescued artifacts are saved in Paris after being rescued by the fire in Notre Dame

Rescued treasures: rescued artifacts are saved in Paris after being rescued by the fire in Notre Dame

Collapse: a sequence image shows the spire of the Notre-Dame cathedral that collapsed last night during the fire

Collapse: a sequence image shows the spire of the Notre-Dame cathedral that collapsed last night during the fire

Collapse: a sequence image shows the spire of the Notre-Dame cathedral that collapsed last night during the fire

Photos released by the Paris fire brigade show a close-up of the armed forces yesterday against the fire

Photos released by the Paris fire brigade show a close-up of the armed forces yesterday against the fire

Photos released by the Paris fire brigade show a close-up of the armed forces yesterday against the fire

Photos released by the Paris fire brigade show a close-up of the armed forces yesterday against the fire

Photos released by the Paris fire brigade show a close-up of the armed forces yesterday against the fire

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

Firefighters at the scene of the fire this morning. The fire was officially declared extinguished at around 9.45 a.m. local time

Firefighters at the scene of the fire this morning. The fire was officially declared extinguished at around 9.45 a.m. local time

Firefighters at the scene of the fire this morning. The fire was officially declared extinguished at around 9.45 a.m. local time

The French police are said to have launched a criminal investigation after a & # 39; stray flame & # 39; caused the landmark to be flooded with fire last night, with heroic firefighters fighting for eight hours to keep the fire under control

The French police are said to have launched a criminal investigation after a & # 39; stray flame & # 39; caused the landmark to be flooded with fire last night, with heroic firefighters fighting for eight hours to keep the fire under control

The French police are said to have launched a criminal investigation after a & # 39; stray flame & # 39; caused the landmark to be flooded with fire last night, with heroic firefighters fighting for eight hours to keep the fire under control

Attention has now been focused on what may have led to the milestone, part of which was restored in a £ 5 million renovation, becoming the victim of such a disaster, which saw its wooden roof and some of its valuable objects lost.

Attention has now been focused on what may have led to the milestone, part of which was restored in a £ 5 million renovation, becoming the victim of such a disaster, which saw its wooden roof and some of its valuable objects lost.

Attention has now been focused on what may have led to the milestone, part of which was restored in a £ 5 million renovation, becoming the victim of such a disaster, which saw its wooden roof and some of its valuable objects lost.

She is safe in our hands! The young construction boss, 32, in the center of the Notre Dame fire probe, was showing off his firm's ability to protect historic sites

By James Fielding in Paris and Nick Fagge for MailOnline

MailOnline can reveal to the building manager whose company Notre Dame was renovating before the fire broke out about his company's ability to protect historic sites.

Julien Le Bras stated last year: & # 39; Our first thought is to protect the values ​​of historic buildings, it's in our DNA. & # 39;

His company, Le Bras Freres, a small company known as the & # 39; Cathedral Restorers & # 39 ;, had won the £ 5million contract to repair the peak of the Paris landmark.

Today, professionals from the company were questioned by researchers after the spire crashed into the gruesome sea of ​​fire on Monday night.

Julien Le Bras (photo), whose company was renovating the spire of Notre Dame, stated last year that & # 39; our first thought is to protect the values ​​of historic buildings & # 39;

Julien Le Bras (photo), whose company was renovating the spire of Notre Dame, stated last year that & # 39; our first thought is to protect the values ​​of historic buildings & # 39;

Julien Le Bras (photo), whose company was renovating the spire of Notre Dame, stated last year that & # 39; our first thought is to protect the values ​​of historic buildings & # 39;

Mr. Le Bras told reporters on the spot: & # 39; More than anyone else, we want light to be shot on the origins of this drama. & # 39;

He said his company involved 12 employees in the renovation, although none were present at the time of the fire.

He emphasized that & # 39; all security measures were respected & # 39; and that & # 39; employees participate in the survey without hesitation & # 39 ;.

The 32-year-old client previously had his & # 39; technical ability and competence & # 39; and & # 39; proud & # 39; announced in the restoration of historic buildings.

In an online movie film, Mr. Le Bras said: & We are proud of our work on historic buildings. We have the technical competence and the competence for his work.

& # 39; Our first thought is to protect the values ​​of historic buildings, it's in our DNA. & # 39;

In the video posted on Le Bras Freres' Facebook page on New Year's Eve 2018, the CEO says his company is proud to have been chosen to work on buildings throughout France, including the & # 39; Congress Palace & # 39; in Metz and Notre Dame in Paris.

Filmed to the staff at the end of the year, Le Bras said: & # 39; We are all set to start working in 2019 and we are very motivated.

& # 39; The team is ready and we have the know-how. & # 39;

And when he gained contact with Notre Dame, he said: & # 39; The goal is to preserve as many old items as possible and not endanger the building. & # 39;

Le Bras said he would ensure that the famous spire of Notre Dame – known in French as la fleche – would not be damaged during the renovation.

Julien Le Bras (pictured with his partner Charlotte Sartelet) today claimed that this company & # 39; more than anyone else wants the light on the origin & # 39; of the fire in Notre Dame

Julien Le Bras (pictured with his partner Charlotte Sartelet) today claimed that this company & # 39; more than anyone else wants the light on the origin & # 39; of the fire in Notre Dame

Julien Le Bras (pictured with his partner Charlotte Sartelet) today claimed that this company & # 39; more than anyone else wants the light on the origin & # 39; of the fire in Notre Dame

He said: & # 39; The spire is 105 m high and there is no doubt that we will put pressure on it with the scaffolding. & # 39;

After winning the contract, Le Bras said: & # 39; Nobody touched it [Notre Dame] it has been a great honor to do the work for 150 years.

& # 39; We do not expect our work to last ten years, but we strive to make it work for another 150 years! & # 39; he joked.

Researchers will not be able to enter the cathedral's blackened nave until experts are convinced that the stone walls have withstood the heat and the building is structurally sound.

& # 39; The fire has been completely extinguished & # 39 ;, the spokesman for the fire department, Gabriel Plus, told reporters. & # 39; It is our job today to monitor its structure and movements. & # 39;

The fire quickly ripped through the wooden roof supports of the cathedral, where workers had carried out major renovations on collapsed railings and crumbling gargoyles, as well as the wooden frame of the spire.

The hero who saved the Crown of Thorns: the chaplain of the fire brigade entered the flaming Notre Dame to restore the holy relic – three years after he boldly helped Bataclan terror victims

Father Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris fire brigade, saved the Holy Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns from the blazing Notre Dame cathedral

Father Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris fire brigade, saved the Holy Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns from the blazing Notre Dame cathedral

Father Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris fire brigade, saved the Holy Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns from the blazing Notre Dame cathedral

A French priest who helped comfort the wounded following the Bataclan terrorist attack today also emerged as a hero of the fire of Notre Dame.

Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris fire brigade, saved the Holy Sacrament and the Doornenkroon from the burning cathedral on Monday evening.

It was feared that both religious artifacts would be lost if the flames engulfed the medieval building, but Father Fournier ensured that they were brought to safety.

Etienne Loraillere, an editor of the KTO Catholic television network in France, said that Father Fournier & # 39; entered the Notre-Dame Cathedral with the fire brigade to save the Crown of Thorns and the Holy Sacrament & # 39 ;.

Hundreds of bewildered spectators had bordered the banks of the Seine until late at night as the fire raged, while praying and singing liturgical music in harmony while standing in the vigil.

& # 39; It is a symbol of our country that was at risk of being destroyed & & quot ;, said Culture Minister Franck Riester.

Notre-Dame is the state's property and has been the center of a long-standing dispute between the nation and the Archdiocese of Paris over who must be paid the most for the cost of much needed restoration work.

Paolo Violini, a restoration specialist for Vatican museums, said the pace at which the fire spread through the cathedral was amazing.

& # 39; We are used to thinking of them as eternal because they have been around for centuries or a thousand years, but the reality is that they are very fragile, & # 39 ;, said Violini.

The American tourist Susan Hargrove said she was left out of breath due to the magnitude of the devastation.

& # 39; We are talking about world history, our western culture, but also about something that is truly universal & # 39 ;, said Hargrove. & # 39; Notre Dame means something to everyone. & # 39;

Firefighters also tried to destroy many of the large paintings in the cathedral, said clergyman Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, meaning the scale of the devastation would not have been known for a while.

A French cultural heritage expert this morning claimed that France no longer has trees large enough to replace old wooden beams that fell during the fire.

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

& # 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.

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, surrounded by the iconic gargoyles of the cathedral, take stock of the damage caused by the devastating fire of yesterday

Firefighters, surrounded by the iconic gargoyles of the cathedral, take stock of the damage caused by the devastating fire of yesterday

Public prosecutors are currently focusing on contractors Le Bras Freres (Le Bras Brothers), a company based in Jarny, northeastern France that worked from the scaffolding (shown today) that was built as part of the restoration project

Public prosecutors are currently focusing on contractors Le Bras Freres (Le Bras Brothers), a company based in Jarny, northeastern France that worked from the scaffolding (shown today) that was built as part of the restoration project

Public prosecutors are currently focusing on contractors Le Bras Freres (Le Bras Brothers), a company based in Jarny, northeastern France that worked from the scaffolding (shown today) that was built as part of the restoration project

A woman is sitting and praying near Notre Dame Cathedral this morning, while efforts to dampen the rest of the flames are still continuing

A woman is sitting and praying near Notre Dame Cathedral this morning, while efforts to dampen the rest of the flames are still continuing

A woman is sitting and praying near Notre Dame Cathedral this morning, while efforts to dampen the rest of the flames are still continuing

Firefighters continue to secure the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris this morning in the aftermath of a fire that caused the spire to crash to the ground

Firefighters continue to secure the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris this morning in the aftermath of a fire that caused the spire to crash to the ground

Firefighters continue to secure the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris this morning in the aftermath of a fire that caused the spire to crash to the ground

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

Een woordvoerder van de kathedraal vertelde Le Monde dat het volledige frame van het dak van de historische kathedraal (hier afgebeeld voor de brand) in brand was gestoken

Minuut-per-minuut overzicht van hoe de Notre Dame-vuurzee zich door het gebouw verspreidde

Links: foto's gepost op Twitter om 18.50 uur toen de brand uitbrak, vertoonden kleine rookpluimen van het dak.

Links: foto's gepost op Twitter om 18.50 uur toen de brand uitbrak, vertoonden kleine rookpluimen van het dak.

Tegen 19.20 uur waren de pluimen veel groter geworden en konden ze vanaf kilometers rondom gezien worden

Tegen 19.20 uur waren de pluimen veel groter geworden en konden ze vanaf kilometers rondom gezien worden

Links: foto's gepost op Twitter om 18.50 uur toen de brand uitbrak, vertoonden kleine rookpluimen van het dak. Tegen 19.20 uur waren de pluimen veel groter geworden en konden ze vanaf kilometers rondom gezien worden

Om 19.30 uur was de eerste barnsteen van de vlam te zien aan de bovenkant van het gebouw. Mensen druk om foto's te maken van een nabijgelegen brug

Om 19.30 uur was de eerste barnsteen van de vlam te zien aan de bovenkant van het gebouw. Mensen druk om foto's te maken van een nabijgelegen brug

Om 19.30 uur was de eerste barnsteen van de vlam te zien aan de bovenkant van het gebouw. Mensen druk om foto's te maken van een nabijgelegen brug

Vlammen begonnen om 19.30 uur door een torentje te kauwen. De vlammen tonen door het torentje op het torentje viel door net vóór 19.00 uur rechts: afgebeeld vlak voordat de torenspits op de aarde viel rond 19.00 uur

Vlammen begonnen om 19.30 uur door een torentje te kauwen. De vlammen tonen door het torentje op het torentje viel door net vóór 19.00 uur rechts: afgebeeld vlak voordat de torenspits op de aarde viel rond 19.00 uur

Vlammen begonnen om 19.30 uur door een torentje te kauwen. De vlammen verschijnen om 19.40 uur door het torentje. Het torentje viel door net vóór 20.00 uur

Om 20.30 uur was het hele gebouw in brand gestoken, waarbij één slang tegen de vlammen was geveegd en zich concentreerde op het gebied waar het torentje instortte

Om 20.30 uur was het hele gebouw in brand gestoken, waarbij één slang tegen de vlammen was geveegd en zich concentreerde op het gebied waar het torentje instortte

Om 20.30 uur was het hele gebouw in brand gestoken, waarbij één slang tegen de vlammen was geveegd en zich concentreerde op het gebied waar het torentje instortte

Het dak van de kathedraal brandde nog steeds toen de zon onderging om 20.40 uur

Het dak van de kathedraal brandde nog steeds toen de zon onderging om 20.40 uur

Stukken steigers staan ​​nog steeds om 21.00 uur

Stukken steigers staan ​​nog steeds om 21.00 uur

Links: stukjes steigers staan ​​nog steeds om 20.45 uur. Rechts: stukjes steigers staan ​​nog steeds om 21.00 uur, ondanks de vlammen die er omheen springen.

Emmanuel Macron komt de kerk binnen met vuurbemanningen en zijn vrouw Brigitte om 21.20 uur. Hij zei: 'We zullen Notre Dame samen herbouwen'

Emmanuel Macron komt de kerk binnen met vuurbemanningen en zijn vrouw Brigitte om 21.20 uur. Hij zei: 'We zullen Notre Dame samen herbouwen'

Emmanuel Macron enters the church with fire crews and his wife Brigitte at 9.20pm. He said: 'We will rebuild Notre Dame together'

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

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

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

People gathering in Paris shed a tear and sung hymns as the historical building remained burning into the night at 10.30pm

People gathering in Paris shed a tear and sung hymns as the historical building remained burning into the night at 10.30pm

People gathering in Paris shed a tear and sung hymns as the historical building remained burning into the night at 10.30pm

The scaffolding around the building is illuminated by the fire. But importantly the front face of the building appears in tact

The scaffolding around the building is illuminated by the fire. But importantly the front face of the building appears in tact

The scaffolding around the building is illuminated by the fire. But importantly the front face of the building appears in tact

At midnight the view of Notre Dame from the Seine shows a boat speeding towards a tunnel. The fire continues to burn in the background but looks reduced

At midnight the view of Notre Dame from the Seine shows a boat speeding towards a tunnel. The fire continues to burn in the background but looks reduced

At midnight the view of Notre Dame from the Seine shows a boat speeding towards a tunnel. The fire continues to burn in the background but looks reduced

By 5.30am this morning the fire was under control and a firefighter paints a lonesome figure as they continue to monitor the building

By 5.30am this morning the fire was under control and a firefighter paints a lonesome figure as they continue to monitor the building

By 5.30am this morning the fire was under control and a firefighter paints a lonesome figure as they continue to monitor the building

The single fireman sprays water into the scaffolding which survived the blaze despite a turret and the spire collapsing last night

The single fireman sprays water into the scaffolding which survived the blaze despite a turret and the spire collapsing last night

The single fireman sprays water into the scaffolding which survived the blaze despite a turret and the spire collapsing last night

Left: A charred cross lies in the battered building. But by 9.45am the fire was extinguished.

Left: A charred cross lies in the battered building. But by 9.45am the fire was extinguished.

At 12pm today fire crews were seen in discussion outside one of the windows

At 12pm today fire crews were seen in discussion outside one of the windows

Left: A charred cross lies in the battered building. But by 9.45am the fire was extinguished. Right: At 12pm today fire crews were seen in discussion outside one of the windows

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

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

Speaking with tears in his eyes on the steps 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. This evening, President Emmanuel Macron said the whole nation was moved. "Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn," he tweeted

The fast moving fire consumed the roof of the cathedral. This evening, President Emmanuel Macron said the whole nation was moved. "Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn," he tweeted

The fast moving fire consumed the roof of the cathedral. This evening, President Emmanuel Macron said the whole nation was moved. 'Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,' he tweeted

Smoke continues to billow into the Paris sky this evening as firefighters try to stop the flames from spreading

Smoke continues to billow into the Paris sky this evening as firefighters try to stop the flames from spreading

Smoke continues to billow into the Paris sky this evening as firefighters try to stop 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 church pews were pictured intact despite the blaze as the stone-made part of the church remained largely intact despite the wooden roof structure caving in

Many of the church pews were pictured intact despite the blaze as the stone-made part of the church remained largely intact despite the wooden roof structure caving in

Many of the church pews were pictured intact despite the blaze as the stone-made part of the church remained largely intact despite the wooden roof structure caving in

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 at around 9.15pm after the blaze tore through the wooden structure at the top of the building

The famous spire of Notre Dame collapsed dramatically at around 9.15pm after the blaze tore through the wooden structure at the top of the building

The famous spire of Notre Dame collapsed dramatically at around 9.15pm after the blaze tore through the wooden structure 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

There was an air of mourning in Paris as the sun rose on Tuesday with hundreds of people gathering on the banks of the Seine to view the devastation at Notre Dame.

An elderly woman wondered whether the fire was a sign from god, saying: 'Notre Dame is our soul. The soul of France.

'We are a Catholic country, a republic but a Catholic country nonetheless – nobody remembers that any more.'

She said she had heard the statue of the Virgin Mary had been saved, adding that it could be a miracle.

Another woman said: 'I think it can be rebuilt, but it could take years and years – I am 79 and today, I don't know if I will ever see Notre Dame whole again.'

As the sun rose over the building, ashes from the cathedral's spire blew across the banks of the river, along with the blossom from Notre Dame's gardens.

Miraculously, the trees and vines around the building on Ile de la Cite were barely singed, while the bell towers and the enormous circular window of the nave appeared to be intact.

Despite the fierce heat that consumed Notre Dame's spire, scaffolding previously erected for restoration work was also still standing.

One refuse working collecting litter on the banks of the Seine said: 'It's incredible (the scaffolding) didn't fall.'

Daniel Etieve, 70, said: 'It's a very sad picture. For over 800 years this cathedral has been passed from generation to generation.

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 rose petal window this evening as Parisians and tourists look on in horror as the blaze continues to spread at the cathedral

The burning orange of the flames can be seen through the rose petal window this evening as Parisians and tourists look on in horror as the blaze continues to spread at the cathedral

The burning orange of the flames can be seen through the rose petal window this evening as Parisians and tourists look on in horror as the blaze continues to spread at the cathedral

People watch in Paris this evening as the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral continues to swarm the building, as firefighters fight to contain it

People watch in Paris this evening as the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral continues to swarm the building, as firefighters fight to contain it

People watch in Paris this evening as the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral continues to swarm the building, as firefighters fight to contain it

The spire collapses while flames are burning through the roof at teh Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris today. The blaze started in the late afternoon at one of the most visited monuments in the French capital

The spire collapses while flames are burning through the roof at teh Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris today. The blaze started in the late afternoon at one of the most visited monuments in the French capital

The spire collapses while flames are burning through the roof at teh Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris today. The blaze started in the late afternoon at one of the most visited monuments in the French capital

A cordon is in place as fire crews spray water on the Gothic cathedral to try and stem the flames this evening

A cordon is in place as fire crews spray water on the Gothic cathedral to try and stem the flames this evening

A cordon is in place as fire crews spray water on the Gothic cathedral to try and stem the flames this evening

A lone firefighter on a crane uses a hose to try and extiguish the flames this evening. British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her thoughts for the people of France and emergency services battling a devastating fire this evening

A lone firefighter on a crane uses a hose to try and extiguish the flames this evening. British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her thoughts for the people of France and emergency services battling a devastating fire this evening

A lone firefighter on a crane uses a hose to try and extiguish the flames this evening. British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her thoughts for the people of France and emergency services battling a devastating fire this evening

The flames have engulfed large parts of the Cathedral, located in central Paris. A spurt of water can be seen at the bottom right of the picture as firefighters do battle with the blaze this evening. Officials in Paris said the fire could be linked to restoration works as the peak of the church is currently undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project

The flames have engulfed large parts of the Cathedral, located in central Paris. A spurt of water can be seen at the bottom right of the picture as firefighters do battle with the blaze this evening. Officials in Paris said the fire could be linked to restoration works as the peak of the church is currently undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project

The flames have engulfed large parts of the Cathedral, located in central Paris. A spurt of water can be seen at the bottom right of the picture as firefighters do battle with the blaze this evening. Officials in Paris said the fire could be linked to restoration works as the peak of the church is currently undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project

The spire seen leaning slightly over as it began to give way because of the fire ripping through its foundations and the rest of the roof

The spire seen leaning slightly over as it began to give way because of the fire ripping through its foundations and the rest of the roof

The spire seen leaning slightly over as it began to give way because of the fire ripping through its foundations 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 turrets on the cathedral before it collapsed (left) at around 7.00pm this evening and afterwards at around 7.30pm

'Now I question what state we will pass it on to the generations after us.'

One man, who gave his name only as Fabrice, said he was grieving for the incredible timber beams and wooden carvings that characterised Notre Dame's vaulted ceiling.

The 55-year-old art historian said: 'The ceiling was known as 'the forest' because of all the thousands of trees that were cut to build it. I feel very sad but also I am happy that most of the building is still here.'

He added that Notre Dame has been built over many centuries and that he took comfort in the way the British had repaired Windsor Castle after the fire of 1992.

'But it's hard to believe that this is happening in Paris – part of ourselves has been destroyed,' he said.

'I always go for a walk in this area every day and come to see Notre Dame. It's like coming to visit an elderly parent.'

One commuter said: 'I come often to Notre Dame for mass and to pray and (the damage) is tearing at my heart.'

But he added: 'Luckily it was saved. It was not completely destroyed and, as the president said, we will have money to rebuild it and I hope it will be even more beautiful.'

Accountant Martin Cassan, 32, was hopeful for the future. He had come down to the scene with friends to watch the cathedral burn on Monday evening.

He said: 'There's nothing you can do but have a drink. You feel sad. You definitely feel sad.'

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted shortly after the fire broke out that he was sad to see 'a part of us burn' and sent his sympathies to people across France

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted shortly after the fire broke out that he was sad to see 'a part of us burn' and sent his sympathies to people across France

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted shortly after the fire broke out that he was sad to see 'a part of us burn' and sent his sympathies to people across France

A visibly upset Emmanual Macron walking near the Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns

A visibly upset Emmanual Macron walking near the Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns

Locals watch on helplessly as Notre Dame burns

Locals watch on helplessly as Notre Dame burns

A visibly upset Emmanuel Macron walking near the Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns (left) and locals watch on helplessly (r)

But he asked: 'Should it be (rebuilt) exactly the same as before? Will it be like the Louvre – will we have a pyramid in the middle of it?'

Another onlooker, who gave his name only as Clement, said: 'As sad as it is, it reminds us that buildings are just temporary, just as we are.'

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

It would go on to feature as a central character in a Victor Hugo novel published in 1831, 'The Hunchback of Notre-Dame' and shortly afterwards a restoration project lasting two decades got under way, led by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.

The building survived the devastation of two global conflicts in the 20th century and famously rang its bells on August 24, 1944, the day of the Liberation of Paris from German occupation at the end of the World War II.

Before yesterday's blaze it was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding, and bronze statues had been removed last week for works.

Its 330ft-long roof, of which a large section was consumed in the first hour of the blaze, was one of the oldest such structures in Paris.

Parisians took to the city's streets last night to pray, sing and reminisce about Notre Dame cathedral as it burned before them

Parisians took to the city's streets last night to pray, sing and reminisce about Notre Dame cathedral as it burned before them

Parisians took to the city's streets last night to pray, sing and reminisce about Notre Dame cathedral as it burned before them

The emotions became too much for some locals who gathered in the shadow of the cathedral to watch its slow destruction

The emotions became too much for some locals who gathered in the shadow of the cathedral to watch its slow destruction

The emotions became too much for some locals who gathered in the shadow of the cathedral to watch its slow destruction

I walked through the gutted cathedral… then the crucifix shone from what remained of the altar, a symbol of defiance in the gloom: ROBERT HARDMAN is among first witnesses inside ravaged 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 among the first people to be allowed inside the ruins of one of the world's finest cathedrals following the fire which has shocked not just the entire French nation but much of the planet.

A blaze which begin in the cathedral's loft at 6.30pm had turned into an all-consuming catastrophe by nightfall. Officials reported that the wooden interior of the medieval cathedral was almost completely destroyed.

Certainly, Notre Dame's spire is no more. 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 unspoilt pews inside the main church building

The unspoilt pews inside the main church building

Robert Hardman was given access to the charred remains of the Notre Dame cathedral in the early 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 1am today, at the far end of the cathedral, illuminated by lingering embers and firefighters' equipment, I could just make out a stunning symbol of defiance through the gloom: the unmistakeable sight of a crucifix on 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 it was what one official called a 'stray flame' – linked to a £5 million restoration project – which sparked 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 firemen were still hard at work

Outside Notre Dame where cranes and firemen were still hard at work

Emergency service personnel near the entrance to the cathedral

Emergency service personnel near the entrance to the cathedral

Pictures taken outside the cathedral and from the entrance hall in the early hours of Tuesday show emergency service personnel still working to make the site safe

Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the centre of Paris. Firefighters can be seen on the left, fighting the fire

Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the centre of Paris. Firefighters can be seen on the left, fighting the fire

Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the centre of Paris. Firefighters can be seen on the left, fighting 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. 'Our Lady of Paris in flames,' he declared on Twitter. 'Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn.'

He has pledged to rebuild Notre Dame, saying: 'Notre Dame is our history, our imagination, where we've lived all our great moments, and is the epicentre of our lives.

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

'Tomorrow a national subscription will be launched for people around the country to help rebuild this great Notre Dame. Because that's what the French people want. That is what their history requires. Because that is our destiny.'

Questions were immediately asked about the way in which a fire could take such a rapid hold of one of the world's most visited – and most beloved – landmarks.

The reaction to fire fighting was also questioned because in the first hour few or no high-pressure water hoses could reach the roof. Critically, the Paris prosecutor has already opened an enquiry.

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 incredulously at the slow death of a part of France's soul.

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's Cathedral and the Tower of London all going up in smoke at the same time and you begin to appreciate the magnitude of this loss, except that Notre Dame attracts – or used to attract – twice as many annual visitors as those three London landmarks 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. Niet meer. The twin towers are now blackened and wide open for the elements. By midnight, however, the flames had died down as the first glimmers of firemen's torches could be seen here and there 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 approaches to the cathedral's island site had been sealed off to the public but crowds kept on coming from all directions for a glimpse.

'At least the two towers are still standing, and they must stay up so that Notre Dame can be reborn,' said civil servant Pascal Boichut, 52. There was a glimmer of hope when Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters: 'We consider that the main structure of Notre Dame has been preserved.'

In a statement the CEO of the Kering group, which owns Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion houses, said the money towards 'the effort necessary to completely rebuild Notre Dame' would be paid by the Pinault family's investment firm Artemis.

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 brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said 'we can consider 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's what the French are waiting for, because that's what our history deserves, because it's our deepest destiny.'

Late on Monday evening French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault pledged 100 million euros (£86.2 million) towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was partly gutted by a devastating fire

Late on Monday evening French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault pledged 100 million euros (£86.2 million) towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was partly gutted by a devastating fire

Late on Monday evening French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault pledged 100 million euros (£86.2 million) towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was partly gutted 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 Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion houses, said the money towards 'the effort necessary to completely rebuild Notre Dame' would be paid by the Pinault family's investment firm Artemis.

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 brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said 'we can consider 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 from Jesus' crucifixion

Firefighters, police, and churchmen risked their lives last night to carry priceless historical artefacts and religious relics away from the flames which engulfed Notre Dame de Paris.

The Mayor of Paris tweeted her thanks to first responders for forming 'a formidable human chain' to save irreplaceable objects including the relic believed by Catholics to be the crown of thorns which was put on Jesus' head as he died on the cross.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo went on: 'The Crown of Thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place.'

Emergency responders worked with city staff to manhandle priceless relics away from the fire

Emergency responders worked with city staff to manhandle priceless relics away from the fire

Emergency responders worked with city staff to manhandle priceless relics away from the fire

Reliquaries, statues, and artefacts including the crown of thorns were saved from the fire by 'human chain'

Reliquaries, statues, and artefacts including the crown of thorns were saved from the fire by 'human chain'

Reliquaries, statues, and artefacts including the crown of thorns were saved from the fire by 'human chain'

And Father Fournier, Chaplain of the Paris Firefighters, told reporters he went into the burning cathedral to save the Blessed Sacrament and Crown of Thorns.

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

The church's treasure trove of priceless artworks and religious relics include the Crown of Thorns said to have been placed on the head of Jesus before he was crucified, a piece of the True Cross on which he is said to have died and a nail from 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, Paris time, the artefacts had been safely transferred to a storage room

Shortly after midnight, Paris time, the artefacts had been safely transferred to a storage room

Shortly after midnight, Paris time, the artefacts had been safely transferred to a storage room

Worries onlookers were filmed looking at the salvaged antiquities on the night the cathedral's ancient roof burned to cinders

Worries onlookers were filmed looking at the salvaged antiquities on the night the cathedral's ancient roof burned to cinders

Worries onlookers were filmed looking at the salvaged antiquities on the night the cathedral's ancient roof burned to cinders

Notre Dame's Great Organ, which dates back to the 13th century and was restored in the early 1990s, 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.

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

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 assist with the building's drainage, but they have become one of its most-loved features.

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 statues that were part of the cathedral's destroyed spire were safe and unscathed after being removed as part of a renovation a few days ago, and that the relics had also been 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 puts his hand to his mouth in pure shock as he watches the flames burst from the historic catherdral

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

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

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 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

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 & # 39; terrible, terrible fire & # 39 ;.

& # 39; The fire that they have in Notre Dame Cathedral is like few people have seen & # 39 ;, said the president.

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

& # 39; When we left the plane, it burned at a level that you rarely see a fire burning. It is one of the great treasures of the world, & T 39 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 & # 39; communication & # 39; with France, but did not indicate whether he had spoken with the French authorities.

'That puts a damper on what we're about to say to be honest,' Trump told his audience in Minnesota. & # 39; Because that is over 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.

& # 39; They think it is caused by renovation. And I hope that's the reason, & # 39; Trump continued. Renovation. What is that all about? & # 39; Trump said. Then he called it a & # 39; terrible sight to behold & # 39 ;.

& # 39; With that said, I want to tell you that much progress has been made by our country in the last two and a half years, & # 39; Trump said, stepping into his tax event. & # 39; Hard to believe we're already starting to think about our next election. & # 39;

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

The Windsor Castle fire of November 1992

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle, causing major damage to the royal residence.

The Berkshire fire started at 11 am in the private chapel of Queen Victoria after a faulty floodlight lit a curtain next to the altar.

Within minutes the fire was extended to St George's Hall next door and the fire would destroy 115 rooms, including nine state rooms.

Three hours after the fire was dug up, 225 firefighters from seven provinces fought against the fire with 36 pumps to drain 1.5 million liters of water at the top of the inferno.

The firebreak on the other side of St George & # 39; s Hall remained unbleached, leaving the Koninklijke Bibliotheek undamaged.

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle, causing major damage to the royal residence

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle, causing major damage to the royal residence

On November 20, 1992, a fire broke out at Windsor Castle, causing major damage to the royal residence

The staff has worked to remove works of art from the Royal Collection from the path of fire.

According to the Royal Collection Trust: & # 39; The Castle & # 39; 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 from the collection .

Verb Amazingly, only two works of art were lost in the fire – a rosewood dresser and a very large painting by Sir William Beechey that could not be taken out of the wall in time. Fortunately, artworks were removed from many rooms before they would be rewired. & # 39;

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

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

The York Minster fire of 1984

Pictured: aftermath of the fire in York Minster on July 9, 1984

Pictured: aftermath of the fire in York Minster on July 9, 1984

Pictured: aftermath of the fire in York Minster on July 9, 1984

Early in the morning of July 9, 1984, the south transept of York Minster caught fire, destroyed the roof and caused £ 2.25 million in damage.

More than 100 firefighters confronted the church fire and took two hours to get it on their heels.

The cause of the fire was probably a lightning flash that fell in the cathedral shortly after midnight.

The fire had severely damaged the brickwork of the cathedral, as well as the famous rose window, and firefighters hurled themselves on the floor after the roof collapsed at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Minster's staff and clergymen kept themselves busy storing as many artifacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control around 5.24 am.

An investigation ruled out an electrical or gas error and arson was discounted due to the inaccessibility of the roof. Tests had shown that the eruption & # 39; almost certainly & # 39; was caused by a lightning strike but much of the evidence was destroyed in the fire.

The building was restored in 1988 after masonry teams had carved stone work over the building's rose window and arches again.

It was reported that the rose window, designed to celebrate the marriage of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, reached a temperature of 842 degrees during the incident, breaking the glass in different places before it was repaired.

It was not the first time that the building was on fire.

In the early hours of February 1, 1829, Jonathan Martin set the building on fire, melted the lead from the roof and cracked the limestone pillars of the building.

The fire started to die out in the late afternoon after about 230 feet of choir roof had collapsed.

Nonconformist Martin, a former sailor from Northumberland, did not believe in formal liturgy, had published pamphlets condemning the clergy as & # 39; adders of Hell & # 39 ;.

He was accused of setting fire to the building, but was not found guilty of insanity and died in 1838 in a London asylum.

On the photo: the roof of the southern transept of the York Minster burns at the height of the fire. Minster's staff and clergymen kept themselves busy preserving as many artifacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control around 5.24 am.

On the photo: the roof of the southern transept of the York Minster burns at the height of the fire. Minster's staff and clergymen kept themselves busy preserving as many artifacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control around 5.24 am.

On the photo: the roof of the southern transept of the York Minster burns at the height of the fire. Minster's staff and clergymen kept themselves busy preserving as many artifacts as possible before the fire was finally brought under control around 5.24 am.

The great fire of london

St Paul & # 39; s Cathedral (now pictured) caught fire, melting the lead roof and flowing into the street & # 39; like a river & # 39; when the building collapsed

St Paul & # 39; s Cathedral (now pictured) caught fire, melting the lead roof and flowing into the street & # 39; like a river & # 39; when the building collapsed

St Paul & # 39; s Cathedral (now pictured) caught fire, melting the lead roof and flowing into the street & # 39; like a river & # 39; when the building collapsed

On September 2, 1666, a fire broke out at Thomas Farriner's bakery in Pudding Lane, close to the London Bridge. The summer of 1666 had been unusually hot and the city had seen no rain for a few weeks, causing wooden houses and buildings to dry up.

Once the fire had started, 300 houses quickly collapsed and strong easterly winds spread the flames from house to house, the fire being swept through the winding narrow alleys of London, with houses placed close together.

In an attempt to escape the fire by boat, Londoners flocked to the River Thames and chaos overtook the city.

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

They used buckets of water, water splashes and fire hooks, pulling houses with hooks down to create holes or & # 39; fire breaks & # 39; but the wind helped blow the fire over the created holes.

King Charles II had ordered houses to be pulled down the path of the fire – but the fire exceeded the angled poles used to achieve this.

By September 4, half of London had been overtaken by the fire, and King Charles, along with firefighters, began to deliver buckets of water in a desperate attempt to control the flames.

Gunpowder was used to blow up houses lying in the fire of the path, but the sound of explosions caused rumors of a French invasion, which increased the panic of the city.

St Paul & # 39; s Cathedral caught fire, with the lead roof melting and flowing down the street & # 39; like a river & # 39; when the cathedral collapsed.

The fire was finally brought under control and extinguished on September 6, leaving only one fifth of London untouched.

Almost every civilian building was destroyed, along with 13,000 private residences, 87 parish churches, The Royal Exchange and Guildhall.

Around 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 fire broke out.

On September 4, half of London was overtaken by the eruption and King Charles, along with firefighters, transferred buckets of water in a desperate attempt to control the fire (photo: an illustration from 1834)

On September 4, half of London was overtaken by the eruption and King Charles, along with firefighters, transferred buckets of water in a desperate attempt to control the fire (photo: an illustration from 1834)

On September 4, half of London was overtaken by the eruption and King Charles, along with firefighters, transferred buckets of water in a desperate attempt to control the fire (photo: an illustration from 1834)

The great fire of Rome, 64AD

The Great Fire of Rome, during the reign of Emperor Nero in 64AD, devastated much of the city after the flames started in the slums south of the aristocratic Palatine hill.

Strong winds sparked the fire to the north, scorching houses on its way, creating panic during the three-day period of the inferno.

Hundreds died in the blaze and thousands became homeless. Three of the 14 districts were completely destroyed and only four remained completely unaffected.

That emperor Nero & # 39; played while the city burned & # 39; has become a popular legend, but is not correct. The emperor was 35 miles away in Antium when the fire broke out and could use his palace as a hideout. And the violin was not invented yet.

Nero, who used fire as an opportunity to rebuild the city in a more Greek style, accused Christians of the fire and ordered the arrest, torture and execution of hundreds of faithful believers.

Historian Tacitus said the fire was & # 39; more serious and terrible than any other that had happened to this city & # 39 ;.

'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

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