Smoke billows as flames burn through the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral on April 15, 2019, in the French capital Paris. – A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year. A spokesman for the cathedral told AFP that the wooden structure supporting the roof was being gutted by the blaze. (Photo by Fabien Barrau / AFP) (Photo credit should read FABIEN BARRAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most powerful scenes from today’s devastating news in Paris were the people lined at the Seine singing. As they watched on as one of the most recognisable Catholic landmarks in the world – the Notre Dame Cathedral – was engulfed in fire and thick plumes of smoke, Parisians gathered and sang “Help us on our way”. They were indeed holding vigil for the 850-year-old building which, while it’s iconic spire has collapsed, its main gothic structure is reportedly still intact and preserved and will be rebuilt, according to French prime minister Emmanuel Macron, “starting tomorrow”. Take a look:

In a time in our world of great uncertainty and unrest, the cathedral stood as a place of prayer and a symbol of hope. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the building is known for its many gargoyles and architecture and is considered a religious and cultural symbol of France and great literature, so much so, it attracts 13 million tourists every year. People were openly weeping in the streets as firefighters battled the flames. The world watched on – and reacted via social media. Here’s a few:






Of course there was the ignorant:

And of course we compared to his predecessor:

It is unclear the cause of the fire. Firefighters and authorities will do an inventory shortly to establish how many of the art works inside the cathedral have been ruined by smoke or water.

More to come.