Hundreds of Parisians are singing into the night as impromptu vigils continue near the Notre Dame cathedral, which has been severely damaged by an enormous blaze.

Footage of mournful residents singing Ave Maria around the 800-year-old cathedral has circulated online, showcasing the emotional impact of the damage to one of France‘s most iconic cultural sites.

Other songs could be heard throughout the city, even after French officials confirmed the worst of the fire had been brought under control.

Reporters on the ground state the vigils are continuing well into the night.

The fire is thought to have started just before 7pm local time. Flames quickly spread from a scaffolded area of the building to wooden sections of the Gothic structure’s roof.

Firefighters were able to subdue the worst of the flames before they reached the cathedral’s two rectangular towers, but two-thirds of the roof and the building’s spire were lost to the blaze.

The city’s prosecutor’s office is currently treating the blaze as an accident.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans for a donation-driven fund to help restore the structure to its former glory.

Image: @MikeyKayNYC