“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.” – words from France’s president this evening as the iconic Notre Dame suffers relentless flames.

The severity of the fire has forced the president to cancel a major speech that had been planned for this evening.

Flames broke out at around 6pm – no injuries have been reported and local media media say police are treating the incident as accidental.

Pictures circulating on social media showed flames coming out of the Gothic cathedral and plumes of smoke billowing from its roof.

Footage showed its famous spire collapsing also emerged online.

The cause of the fire is said to potentially involve the renovation works being carried out at the site, the Parisian fire service said.

Hundreds of people are gathering in the streets of the capital city watching the flames in silence.

“The view from St Michele. As night falls, a group of people are singing while everyone else is taking photos and watch in shock. All feels eerie. #NotreDame #notredamedeparis”

“Over 200 years to build and less than 2 hours for it to go. Paris, my heart is with you tonight. This beautiful building held so much history for 856 years. I’m heartbroken. #NotreDame”

“Literally crying
This hurts a lot
I’m so sorry my hurt is totally broken #NotreDame 💔”

More to follow…

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