Courtney Allan

Travel Trouble

"Everything is burning": Thousands watch in horror as iconic Notre Dame cathedral blazes

"Everything is burning": Thousands watch in horror as iconic Notre Dame cathedral blazes

A fire has engulfed the roof of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral and has toppled its spire as thousands of people watch on in horror at the iconic landmark’s destruction.

Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French Media that “everything is burning, nothing will remain of the frame.”

The famous cathedral is one of France’s most popular tourist attractions and draws 13 million visitors each year.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that this is a “terrible tragedy” but the cathedral will be rebuilt.

“I’m telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders,” Mr Macron said.

The cause of the blaze is unknown, and earlier on Monday, there were fears that the great bells could fall.

Paris Fire Department commander general, Jean-Claude Gallet, told reporters about the worry:

“There’s a risk that the great bells fall. If the bells fall, it’s the tower that collapses,” Mr Gallet explained.

“There are firefighters inside and outside.

“We need to win this battle and block the spreading of the flames. The most efficient action is from the inside. We are not sure if we will be able to stop the spreading of the flames to the North Tower.”

A crowd of hundreds has gathered outside the cathedral in shocked silence as they watched the 850-year-old building burn. Australian Divya Bala told that watching the scene unfold was “shocking”.

“Everyone just stayed out watching, very calmly, very quietly,” she said.

“Some people were in tears, one older gentleman was holding himself up by the railing on the bridge and people were comforting him.

“But I was really struck by how calm everyone was.”

Scroll through the gallery to see the devastating before and after shots of the Notre Dame Cathedral.