Gallery: Notre Dame, the day after

Gallery: Notre Dame, the day after

"When that central spire collapsed in Paris it brought back visions of the bell towers collapsing into the basilica here behind me", said Mailhot as he stood outside the remaining façade of the St. Boniface Cathedral.

The statue is considered all the more important because it contains three holy relics - including a fragment of the Crown of Thorns believed by Christians to have been worn by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion, placed there to protect Parisians.

Victor Hugo bemoaned its pitiful neglect in the 1830s, but decades later it was given new life as its flying buttresses were renovated and a new wooden spire was installed.

The cathedral's famous 18th century organ that boasts more than 8,000 pipes also survived. It has not burnt, but no one can tell whether it has been damaged by water.

As of Tuesday morning, it had raised $237,857. Any art works on loan from third parties would, however, be insured, Read added.

"Obviously, Notre Dame de Paris is like an worldwide, iconic structure - 800-years-old - this building (the St. Boniface Cathedral) was 60-years-old".

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The landmark Gothic cathedral located in the heart of the French capital caught flames on Monday evening.

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Notre Dame's famed stained-glass rose windows and most of its many religious relics appeared to have escaped the worst as well, easing fears for the fate of the vast trove of artworks in the gothic cathedral.

'What we saw last night in Paris was our capacity to mobilise and to unite, ' the 41-year-old leader said in the solemn address from his office in the presidential palace. It was hit when the spire collapsed, said Laurent Prades, heritage director for Notre Dame.

Francois Pinault, the billionaire CEO of Kering group, offered 100 million euros ($113m) towards repairs, while his rival in luxury goods, CEO of the LVMH conglomerate Pierre Arnault, later pledged 200 million euros ($226m).

Bertrand de Feydeau, the vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, told France Info radio that the roof -made from latticed oak beams from 5,000 trees - could not be replicated, as France did not have oaks the size of those felled in the 13th century.

But more than 400 firefighters managed to extinguish the flames and preserve the stone structure of the 12th-century cathedral.

Officials consider the fire an accident, possibly as a result of restoration work taking place at the global architectural treasure, but that news has done nothing to ease the national mourning.

For Olivier Lebib, who has lived in Paris for 40 years, it is necessary for the cathedral to be restored to its former glory.

Addressing the nation last (Tuesday) night, he said: "We have so much to rebuild, so yes, we will rebuild the Notre-Dame cathedral, even more lovely, and I want that to be completed from now - until five years". John Russell adapted it for Learning English.