The roaring blaze burst rapidly through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral this evening, engulfing the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof. A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Parisians watching from the other side of the River Seine gasped as the spire folded over onto itself and fell into the inferno. The fire is still burning strongly with firefighters scrambling to save as much of the cathedral, built in 1160, as possible.
Firefighters say all efforts are now being made to prevent the collapse of the northern tower of the cathedral.
No cause has been confimed for the blaze, but renovation work had been underway.
At least one firefighter has been hurt while fighting the blaze.
This is a developing story, please see below for timed updates.
11.13pm update: Macron vows to launch fundraising push
More here from Macron as he speaks out the cathedral.
He told reporters a fundraising campaign would be launched.
He added: “Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it.
“So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.”
11.10pm update: ‘This is felt by so many fellow French people’ – Macron
The French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral.
In a full statement read outside the burning Paris landmark, he said: “Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives.
“Notre-Dame is burning, and I know the sadness, and this tremor felt by so many fellow French people.”
11.06pm update: Donald Trump says authorities “must act quickly”
US President Donald Trump has said the authorities in France must act quickly.
He described it as “so horrible” to watch the fire in Paris.
Trump added on Twitter: “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out.
“Must act quickly!”
11.02pm update – Theresa May reacts
The Prime Minister has reacted after today’s devastating fire.
She said: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral.
Clive Hammond has taken over reporting…
10.45pm update – Macron says worst avoided
French president Emmanuel Macron has revealed “the worst has been avoided” after firefighters managed to prevent the complete destruction of the cathedral.
He said “we will rebuild together” and paid tribute to the firefighters who had risked their lives to battle the blaze.
10.15pm update – Barack Obama sends message to France
Former US president Barack Obama has expressed his sorrow over the fire.
He said on Twitter: “Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief.
“It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.”
His successor Donald Trump earlier Tweeted that planes should be used to drop water on Notre Dame, something the French Interior Ministry quickly said would destroy the building.
9.50pm – fireman ‘seriously injured’ in blaze
A fireman has been seriously hurt fighting the blaze, an official has confirmed.
9.30pm – firefighters warn entire cathedral may be lost
Firefighters are working desperately to save the artwork at the back of the cathedral, Reuters news agency is reporting.
They said the northern tower may also collapse, with efforts diverted to prevent the devastating loss.
And they warned they are “not sure” if they can stop the fire spreading to the second tower.
This is a breaking story, more to follow…