A major fire broke out at Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday, a roaring blaze at one of France’s most visited landmarks that threw a huge plume of smoke across the capital.
Flames burst through the roof of the cathedral, which had scaffolding around it. The fire quickly engulfed the spire, live TV pictures showed.
Firefighters cleared the area around the cathedral, which marks the very centre of the city.
France 2 television reported that police were treating the incident as an accident.
President Emmanuel Macron cancelled an address to the nation that he had been due to give later on Monday evening.
“A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter.
The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, features in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. It attracts millions of tourists every year.
Notre-Dame was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding and bronze statues were removed last week for works.