A MASSIVE fire has erupted at the 850-year-old Notre Dame cathedral in Paris this evening.
Video footage posted on social media shows a blaze raging and thick, black smoke billowing from the top of the famous Parisian landmark.
It is still unclear what caused the huge fire which broke out at around 7pm local time today.
A major operation was under way, the fire department added, while a city hall spokesman said on Twitter that the area was being cleared.
“An evacuation is in progress,” said a police officer at the scene. “People are being advised to clear the area.”
Panicked locals have expressed their concern for the medieval cathedral on Twitter.
One witness wrote: “It’s getting worse. But the fire brigade has turned up. Hard to see how the tackle this. The plume of smoke is already 100s of feet long.”
The legendary cathedral is one the finest example of French Gothic architecture in Europe and one of the most visited buildings in the world.
Notre Dame – which means ‘Our Lady’ – was build in 1160 and completed by 1260, and has been modified on a number of occasions throughout the century.
It is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris and is visited by some 12 million people every year.
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