The cathedral's spire and roof were gone, however.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the cathedral that he called "a part of us" and appealed for help to do so.
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A French cultural heritage expert says France no longer has trees big enough to replace ancient wooden beams that burned in the Notre Dame fire. "It's the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations", he said. The Pinault family owns a 3,000-piece art collection, with works by Picasso and Mondrian, and their net worth is about $35 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters were still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.
Hundreds of people lined bridges around the island that houses the church, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world.More news: NBA Playoffs 2019: Celtics vs. Pacers Game 1 live stream
Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the structure had been saved after firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading to the northern belfry. Gallet said 'two-thirds of the roofing has been ravaged'. The extent of the damage is still unclear, but the reconstruction will likely take years.
The fire came less than a week before Easter amid Holy Week commemorations. "I think of Notre Dame and I think of the Eiffel Tower".
A firefighter is seen fighting the flames at Notre-Dame Cathedral April 15, 2019 in Paris, France.More news: Ex-DNI chief: 'Stunning and scary' that Barr would raise spying allegation
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