President Emmanuel Macron cancelled a major televised policy speech he was due to give on Monday evening over the “terrible fire ravaging Notre-Dame.”
He headed to the scene in person.
In a tweet he expressed the “emotion of a whole nation” on seeing Notre-Dame ablaze.
“Like all my compatriots I am sad to see a part of us burn this evening” he said, expressing solidarity with “all Catholics and all French people.”
“Notre Dame belongs to the whole of humanity. It has inspired writers, painters. philosophers and visitors who have come from all round the world,” said EU Commission head Jean Claude Juncker
EU Council president Donald Tusk added: “Notre Dame of Paris is Notre Dame of the whole of Europe, We are all with Paris today.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her thoughts for the people of France and emergency services battling a devastating fire that has engulfed the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday.
“My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral,” the British leader tweeted.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Notre-Dame cathedral a “symbol of European culture” as the blaze raged.
There was no immediate indication of any casualties in the blaze.
“The Paris fire service is trying to control the flames,” Paris's Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote on Twitter, asking residents to respect the security cordon thrown up around the site.
A spokesperson for the cathedral said the fire, which comes as French Catholics prepare to celebrate Easter, broke out at around 1650 GMT.
US President Donald Trump in a tweet said: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
The United Nations' cultural agency said Monday that it “stood at France's side to save and restore” Notre-Dame cathedral, “a priceless heritage”.
Audrey Azoulay, secretary general of UNESCO, said the agency was monitoring the effort to put out the blaze, which consumed the iconic church's spire as flames spread across the roof.
Notre-Dame was added to UNESCO's world heritage list in 1991, Azoulay added in a tweet.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Heartbreaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames. London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always.”
The Vatican on Monday expressed its “incredulity” and “sadness” over a major fire engulfing the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which it called “a symbol of Christianity in France and across the world”.
“We express our closeness with French Catholics and with the Parisian population. We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are trying their best to tackle this dramatic situation,” a spokesman said in a statement.