A fire has broken out at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and is spreading rapidly throughout the building.
The cause is not yet clear, but officials say it may be related to renovations.
The 850-year-old Gothic building is undergoing a major fire-fighting operation, but the spire and roof of the cathedral have collapsed.
Last year, the Catholic Church in France asked for money to save the crumbling building.
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- Pictures of the fire at Notre-Dame
Hundreds of people have gathered in the streets around the cathedral, watching the flames silently.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived at the scene, said he was thinking of "all Catholics and all the French".
"Like all my compatriots, I am saddened this evening to see this part of us burn."
Mr. Macron has canceled his planned speech after the fire, said an official of the Élysée Palace.
A spokesman for the cathedral said the whole structure is burning.
"There's nothing left," he said. "It remains to be seen whether the vault that protects the cathedral is affected or not."
Notre-Dame Cathedral fire
On Monday afternoon, the flame broke and an area around the building was cleared.
Historian Camille Pascal told French broadcaster BFMTV that the fire has destroyed "invaluable heritage".
"The cathedral has been watching over Paris for 800 years," he said.
"Happy and unfortunate events for centuries are marked by the bells of Notre Dame.
"We can only be appalled by what we see."
- The church appeals when cracks occur in the cathedral
- The enormous costs to save Notre-Dame
An icon for a country
analysis by Henri AstierBBC World Online
No other site represents France as much as Notre Dame. His most important rival as a national symbol, the Eiffel Tower, is barely more than a century old. Notre-Dame has been high on Paris since the 1200s.
It has given its name to one of the literary masterpieces of the country. Victor Hugos The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is known to the French simply as Notre Dame de Paris.
The cathedral was last heavily damaged during the French Revolution. It has survived two world wars largely unscathed.
Watching such an incarnation of the permanent burning of a nation and the collapse of its peak is deeply shocking to any Frenchman.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who is already at the scene, described it as a "terrible fire" and urged people to respect the limits set by the firefighters to make sure they stay safe.
US President Donald Trump suggested "perhaps flying water tankers" could be used to extinguish the fire.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported the French population and called Notre-Dame a "symbol of French and European culture".
The Notre Dame Cathedral, a popular tourist attraction, is undergoing renovations after cracks have appeared in the stone. Fears, the structure could become unstable.
The Paris prosecutor stated that she had opened an investigation into the incident.
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