As firefighters battled the blaze, part of the spire of the 12-century monument collapsed.
Perhaps you were struck by some of the art housed inside the cathedral, or maybe the landmark was your meeting point during days spent in Paris?
"We now believe that the two towers of Notre-Dame have been saved", Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters at the scene. This scaffolding was put in place as part of a $6.8 million restoration project that was ongoing at the time.
The peak of the church had been undergoing a major €6 million renovation - and the fire is thought to be linked to the revamp, French media reported, quoting the Paris fire brigade.
Arson and terror-related motives have been ruled out by French law enforcement officials, who are treating the fire as an accident.
President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself.
The fire caused a spire to collapse and raised fears over the future of the almost millenium old building and its precious artworks. He pledged to rebuild the church and said he would seek global help to do so. Its bells rang out calling all Parisians to celebrate the end of the Second.
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UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said her thoughts are "with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the bad blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral".
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world.
Among its most celebrated art: three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral.
The priceless artwork is also being removed in an attempt to save as much as possible.
Historian Camille Pascal spoke to French broadcaster BFMTV, saying the fire was destroying "invaluable heritage".
"Notre Dame is one of the world's great treasures, and we're thinking of the people of France in your time of grief", Obama said on Twitter. "We can be only horrified by what we see".