Fire engulfs Notre Dame cathedral in Paris

A fire broke out at the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site the fire

Firefighters were trying to contain the fire when the cathedral's spire collapsed.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

He says fire crews will keep working overnight to cool down the structure.

Thousands of onlookers lined bridges over the Seine and along the river's embankments, held at a distance by a police cordon as the blaze engulfed the cathedral's roof.

Watching such an embodiment of the permanence of a nation burn and its spire collapse is profoundly shocking to any French person.

Macron tweeted after the blaze broke out he was sad to see "a part of us being on fire". Observers gasped as the spire fell. There are also live feeds on Twitter and Periscope to keep up with the Notre Dame news. But firefighters had struggled to take down some of the large paintings in time, he said.

Laurent Nunez, speaking to reporters at the scene, says the devastating fire is not limited yet to a certain area and might continue to expand.

A cathedral spokesman has said the entire wooden interior was burning and likely to be destroyed.

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Even President Donald Trump was following the fire.

"All around the world, all of us feel a certain sadness in our hearts at the thought of the people of Paris losing not only such an astonishing, most attractive cathedral in the world, but their cathedral", Thomas Cardinal Collins said.

"A bad fire is underway at Notre Dame Cathedral", Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted, according to a translation from CNN.

A blaze engulfed parts of Paris' iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday. And every year, some 12 million tourists pass through, hoping to get a glimpse of the walls that have seen so much.

He recalled that Notre Dame bells sounded the death knell following the 2015 Paris attacks. "I see no hope for the building", said witness Jacek Poltorak told Reuters.

"I've visited it so many times, but it will never be the same. Tonight Parisians and the French mourn this symbol of our common history".

With an distinctive French Gothic style, Notre Dame cathedral took almost 200 years to build. Starting in 1163, during the reign of King Louis VII, construction lasted until 1345. The Gothic cathedral is famed for its many carved stone gargoyles, stunning stained glass windows and the flying buttresses that hold up its walls. It was vandalized in the 16th century by Huguenots and was used as a food warehouse during the French Revolution. Hugo's 1831 work led to revived interest in the cathedral and a major - partly botched - restoration that began in 1844.

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