The blaze began at around 2 pm when parts of the 18th century Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé in the city’s seventh arrondissement caught fire, for as yet unknown reasons, according to French daily Le Parisien.
The inferno in the urban mansion, now owned by the royal family of Bahrain, sent smoke high into the skies above Paris (see below).
By 4pm, however, firefighters had managed to control the flames, and the historically-significant building, next to Place des Invalides, was saved from destruction.
UMP mayor of the seventh arrondissement, Rachida Dati, came to the scene of the blaze, along with Bahrain’s ambassador to France.
Authorities were forced to evacuate nearby offices of the Ile-de-France Regional Council, and a security perimeter has been placed around the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé.
Here, firefighters struggle to gain control of the blaze.
Incendie Paris. Bâtiment en flamme. pic.twitter.com/6wnYeORdBX
— William Molinié (@WilliamMolinie) August 21, 2013
This image shows the intensity of the fire and smoke emanating from the building.
— Vartan Arzoumanian (@varzoumanian) August 21, 2013
The following photo demonstrates how far afield the smoke from the fire was visible all over Paris on Wednesday afternoon.
— Amandine C (@achaillous) August 21, 2013
A Twitter user on the ground caught smoke billowing above the church of St. Francis Xavier in the seventh arrondissement.
Incendie de chantier face à St François-Xavier pic.twitter.com/6ItGonyKMs
— iCatho (@FlorentMasson) August 21, 2013