Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is on fire this evening, with the blaze’s origin believed to be linked to renovation works ongoing in the iconic building in France. Firefighters are tackling the fire which began around 7pm local time – with the spire collapsing in flames two hours later. Notre Dame was first constructed in 1160 and later restored between 1845 and 1870. The famous cathedral attracts 12 million tourists in Paris every year, partly as a result of the popularity of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and the ensuing Disney film.
But will tourists visiting Paris over the Easter holidays be able to visit Notre Dame?
Given the scale of the damage to the beautiful landmark, it is unlikely visitors will be able to visit.
Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told BFMTV the cathedral has suffered “colossal damages.”
According to The Telegraph, a cathedral spokesman has said the entire wooden interior of the Notre Dame is aflame and likely to be destroyed.
Express.co.uk has contacted Notre Dame for further comment on visitor information.
The cathedral was evacuated when the fire alarm was activated around 6.30pm, according to André Finot, a spokesman for Notre Dame.
A major operation is underway, Paris authorities have said, while a city hall spokesman said on Twitter that the area was being cleared.
Firefighters have been pictured attempting to salvage works of art from the cathedral and take them to safety.
The building is in the midst of renovations and is currently wrapped in scaffolding.
European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt posted on social media: “So sad to see the images of the burning #NotreDameDeParis.
“I hope that the Paris fire brigade will get the fire under control as soon as possible. My thoughts are with the people of France as a masterpiece of European gothic is at risk of being destroyed.”
A spokesman from Elysee Palace said French President Emmanuel Macron will visit the scene.
Donald Trump has also taken the time to weigh in via Twitter. He suggested the use of “flying water tankers” on the fragile 12th-century structure and warned France “must act quickly!”
Others have also taken to Twitter to share their sadness at the destruction of the historical landmark.
“To see Notre Dame in flames breaks my heart,” one person tweeted. Another posted: “What a sad day for humanity! 800-year history just gone.”
A third person commented on the footage of the cathedral burning: “Can’t bear watching it. Devastating.”