The famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has gone up in flames in a massive blaze, causing its spire to collapse.
The fire broke out at around 4.50pm on Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for the cathedral told French media.
According to reports, the fire has now spread to one of the church’s landmark rectangular towers.
The cause is not yet known, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work. There are no known injuries yet.
The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the Parisian landmark had suffered “colossal damages”, and the emergency services were trying to salvage the artwork stored in the cathedral.
“There will be nothing left,” a spokesperson for the cathedral told BBC News. “It remains to be seen whether the vault, which protects the cathedral, will be affected or not.”
Photos and videos shared on social media show huge clouds of smoke around the famed landmark.
Meanwhile, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has taken to social media to express his sorrow to see Notre Dame in flames.
“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,” he reportedly said.
Notre-Dame de Paris en proie aux flammes. Émotion de toute une nation. Pensée pour tous les catholiques et pour tous les Français. Comme tous nos compatriotes, je suis triste ce soir de voir brûler cette part de nous.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
The medieval cathedral, which was completed in the 13th century, is one of France’s most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.