(CNN) — The iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire Monday, police said.
"Notre Dame Fire in progress," police said on Twitter. "Avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and intervention of the @prefpolice."
Images showed a large plume of smoke billowing near its spire.
The medieval cathedral was completed in the 13th Century and today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, is considered a feat of architecture as much as a religious symbol.
It is one of Paris' most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.
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