A thick smoke of yellowish tones was emerging from the building, swept up by the flames. Part of the island of the city, in the heart of Paris, was being evacuated around 19:30. The spire of the building, culminating at 93 meters high, collapsed on itself shortly before 8:00 pm. The fire, which spreads extremely fast, took in the attic of the cathedral, said firefighters. It seems to be part of scaffolding installed on the roof of the building, built between the twelfth and fourteenth century, according to firefighters.
"Everything is burning." The frame, which dates from the nineteenth century on one side and the thirteenth on the other, there will be nothing left, "told AFP Andre Finot, the spokesman of Our Lady. According to him, the fire broke out around 18H50. Along the quays and on the bridges that lead to the island of the city, a crowd of onlookers is arrested and takes pictures, the huge plume of smoke.
The head of state who was to unveil at 8 pm his summary measures of the great national debate has decided to postpone his televised speech on a date that has not been specified, we learned from the Elysee. The Head of State goes on the spot, announced the Elysee.
"A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris," lamented Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Twitter. This fire occurs on the first day of Holy Week celebrations leading to Easter, the main Christian holiday.
About 13 million tourists every year the building, located in the heart of the French capital. Major works have been going on for several months, especially to clean the building, blackened by pollution.
Very popular with tourists, this cathedral, which is also a Marian shrine raised to the rank of basilica, continues to fulfill its functions as a religious building: five offices are celebrated there daily, and seven on Sundays. With the celebrations and exceptional celebrations, there are more than 2,000 offices that resonate each year under its vaults.
The spire of the cathedral, erected on the four pillars of the transept, is one of the symbols of the French capital.
Tourists from across the Atlantic are particularly attached to Quasimodo and other characters from the imagination of Victor Hugo, whose novel "Notre-Dame de Paris" (1831) has amplified the movement for the restoration of the cathedral in the nineteenth century.