French president Emmanuel Macron has visited the site of the iconic cathedral as Paris, and the world, watched it burn in front of our eyes. He promised Parisians: “We will rebuild it.”
The fire was finally extinguished in the early Tuesday morning, hours after catching light early Monday evening.
Parisians flooded the streets to watch in shock and disbelief, as one of the icons of their city – and their nation – burnt in front of their eyes.
Gasps could be heard as the cathedral’s spires collapsed, and Paris’ fire brigade confirmed that the building’s roof had also collapsed as a result of the fire.
One fireman was injured while tackling the blaze.
The race was on to save a number of priceless artefacts and paintings that were kept in the near-900-year-old landmark.
French president Emmanuel Macron’s promise to rebuild the cathedral has filled his nation with hope, but for now all they are left with are the charred remains of a once magnificent icon.
Macron cancelled a planned address about the rise of the ‘Gilet Jaunes’ movement as news of the blaze broke, allowing him to visit the site and address the media.
The cathedral was undergoing restoration, which is thought could be linked to the cause of the fire.
Parisian prosecutors say they have already launched an inquiry into the cause of the blaze.
Arson, including possible terror-related motives, have been ruled out.
The global landmark was completed in 1260, and was largely damaged in the 1700s as a result of the French Revolution, but was rebuilt following the publication of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’.
Before arriving at the cathedral, President Macron tweeted: “Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with the people of Paris and the emergency services. She has also spoken to President Macron over the phone to pass on Britain’s condolences.