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Years? Decades? Uncertainty over time needed to rebuild Notre-Dame

Years? Decades? Uncertainty over time needed to rebuild Notre-Dame

"Following the fire that ravaged a large part of Notre Dame Cathedral, I join you in your sorrow, as well as that of the faithful of your diocese, the inhabitants of Paris, and all the French people". He said visitors were ushered out but those gathered for mass remained in place.

And the fact that the foundations of the cathedral were unyielding, and withstood such a ferocious inferno, is testament to the remarkable craftsmanship which existed nine centuries ago, provides further hope that the Paris skyline will not be altered irrevocably.

France has experience of reconstructing cathedrals, including one in Reims that was severely damaged by shelling during World War I and another in Nantes that was gutted by fire in 1972.

Firefighters have said the renovation work could be to blame, and the fire started in an area of the roof that was below scaffolding.

Brooke Windsor tweeted, "I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire".

According to the official Paris fire service Twitter account, almost 400 firefighters attended the scene, while "2 police officers and a firefighter were slightly injured".

Around 11 p.m. (5 p.m. ET), French President Emmanuel Macron announced: "The worst has been avoided".

Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. "The Christmas mass will not be celebrated in the cathedral this year", he wrote in the Catholic daily newspaper La Croix.




The Crown of Thorns, the Tunic of Saint Louis and other valuable artifacts were saved from the fire.

Passers-by laid flowers on bridges crossing the Seine River as Parisians gave thanks to see the bell towers standing valiantly after the fire. Firefighters continued working through the night to cool the building and secure the monument, as residual sparks sprinkled down from the gaping hole where the spire used to be.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the businessman, who is also president of holding company Groupe Artémis, which owns the fine arts auction house Christie's, wrote: "My father [François Pinault] and I have chose to release as of now from the funds of Artemis a sum of 100 million euros to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame".

Benjamin Mouton, Notre-Dame's affiliated architect between 2000-2013, said it was pointless to be dogmatic about using the same materials for the restoration of a building that has already been "heavily altered, modified and reinforced".

French President Emmanuel Macron said late Monday that he planned to launch a national fundraising campaign to rebuild the centuries-old cathedral.

And pledges of enormous donations together already worth hundreds of millions within hours flooded in from the business world in France.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the city would unlock 50 million euros, while the government of the greater Paris region promised 10 million.

This report has been updated to reflect developments released by French officials on Tuesday.

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