Plumes of smoke towered into the sky as massive flames burst up from the roof, engulfing the cathedral’s spire. French media reports that the fire appears to have started by an accident related to renovations within Notre Dame, whose construction started in the 12th-century and was completed in the 14th. It is one of Paris’s most visited tourist destinations, and one of its most recognizable, a formidable feature of a multitude of paintings, photography, film and literature.
Photos show the grim scene of the growing fire with the massive church, spilling out across the roof, ultimately toppling the spire. Across the Seine, tourists watched in horror as the situation unfolded, capturing the scene with their phones and cameras as the sun set over a smoky Paris.