By Arab News
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral on Monday after a blaze devastated large parts of the gothic gem on Monday.
Smoke could be seen billowing out from the top of the medieval cathedral, as flames lept out besides its two bell towers, witnesses said, while black smoke was seen shooting from the base of the spire, which is undergoing renovation.
“Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives,” Macron told reporters in front of the still burning Paris landmark.
French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the blaze.
“Notre-Dame is burning, and I know the sadness, and this tremor felt by so many fellow French people. But tonight, I’d like to speak of hope too,” he said, announcing the launch of an fundraising campaign.
“Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together,” he added.
Fire spread rapidly through a major portion of the magnificent Gothic cathedral at the heart of Paris. The Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said the fire service was currently “trying to control the flames.”
The soaring spire collapsed in flames, and a church spokesman says the entire wooden interior of the 12th century landmark is burning and likely to be destroyed.
The massive fire engulfed the roof of the cathedral in the heart of the French capital as Parisians watched in horror.
Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media: “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame.”
The cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.
Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before,” said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s, who had biked over after being alerted of the fire by a friend.
“It’s a tragedy,” he added. “If you pray, now is the time to pray.”
Macron’s pre-recorded speech was set to be aired Monday evening, to lay out his long-awaited answers to the yellow vest crisis that has rocked the country since last November.