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The Friends of Notre Dame foundation has even been seeking to raise a massive €150 million ($180 million) from French citizens and Francophiles in the U.S. to help foot the bill for a major facelift.

It is not possible to think of Paris without thinking of Notre-Dame.

Top image: The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on fire.

Hours after the inferno started, firefighters were able to determine a crucial and positive observation: The main structure of the cathedral was saved and that the two iconic towers at the front entrance of the cathedral, are intact and have been saved, too.

Police have said the blaze is thought to be linked to the structure's ongoing $6.8 million renovation project.

The cathedral was actively under renovation and partially surrounded by scaffolding prior to the fire. It is reported that there were extensive building works being carried out there, but there is no information yet as to what may have actually caused the fire.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he was "sad to see a part of us burn tonight".

"There are a lot of art works inside ... it's a real tragedy", Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the scene.

"We will rebuild this cathedral", said Macron, who added that "The worst has been avoided although the battle is not yet totally won".

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit invited priests across France to ring church bells in a call for prayers for the beloved Paris cathedral.

Historian Camille Pascal spoke to French broadcaster BFMTV, saying the fire was destroying "invaluable heritage". "Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame".

"Thinking about Paris", Ament tweeted, with photos of the cathedral.

She walked by the cathedral Monday morning, on her way to Shakespeare and Company, the famous English-language bookstore located within eyeshot of Notre-Dame.

The Notre Dame Cathedral, situated on an island in the Seine River in the heart of Paris, is one of the world's most visited tourist destinations, drawing some 13 million people each year. "We can be only horrified by what we see".