IN PICTURES: How Notre-Dame went from proud icon to charred shell

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Notre-Dame cathedral ablaze. All photos: AFP

As the terrible night wore on, dozens of photographers from around the globe descended on Paris to photograph the gradual destruction of Notre-Dame. Here are some of their most striking images.

Paris' iconic Notre-Dame cathedral was severely damaged after being engulfed in flames on Monday night.

The fire broke out at around 7pm local time and quickly spread through the wooden roof.

Soon smoke could be seen billowing out of the roof of the building in central Paris.

The French Ministry of the Interior also tweeted drone footage of the firefighting effort.

Around 400 firefighters were quickly at the scene battling the raging inferno that had taken hold of the building.

As the wooden roof was totally engulfed, the cathedral's gothic spire teetered and then finally toppled, to cries of shock and horror from onlookers.

As the night wore on, hundreds of both tourists and locals travelled to the site to witness the terrible spectacle for themselves.

Soon the smoke and flames leaping into the air could be seen from across Paris.

As darkness fell firefighters continued to battle the flames.

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