Famed Notre Dame Cathedral is on fire

Renovations had been underway at the cathedral

Renovations had been underway at the cathedral

The church is undergoing a 6 million euro ($NZ10m) renovation project.

It is unclear whether anyone has been hurt.

Details are still emerging but French news agency AFP confirmed that a fire is now underway, citing a Parisian fire service.

Notre Dame is distinguished for its size, antiquity and architectural interest.

Images taken by press photographers from the roof of the church just last week show the significant extent of the restoration work taking place on the almost 700-year old structure. It has been restored throughout the centuries since.

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It's also famous in literature - the centrepoint of Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The cathedral needed a major renovation estimated to cost $185 million - before the fire.

Photos and videos circulating on social media on Monday showed flames coming out of the Gothic cathedral, with smoke billowing from the roof.

Police are telling pedestrians to avoid the area to allow for the passage of emergency vehicles, according to CNN.

Notre Dame has caught fire, with the flames engulfing the upper part of the cathedral and causing the spire to collapse.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has also tweeted his concern.

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