Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expresses sympathy for France after Notre Dame fire

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed her sympathy for the people of Paris after the Notre Dame cathedral blaze.

On Tuesday morning, the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was devastated by a massive blaze that ripped through large sections of the church, destroying much of the roof as well as a spire.

While the main structure was protected by roughly 400 fire fighters battling the blaze, flames remain within some sections of the iconic building.

Among the outpouring of sympathy for Paris from international leaders, Ardern has expressed her sympathy for the French people. She also mentions her experience with the famous tourist attraction.

"Our hearts are with the people of France," she said.

"I first saw the Notre Dame in my twenties as a tourist. It is breath-taking."

Ardern then goes on to note that New Zealand has also see many historic structures destroyed.

"While we may not have the long history that Paris has embedded within its buildings, we have experienced the devastation of seeing historic places damaged and lost," said Ardern.

"Notre Dame represents so much to so many."

The Christchurch Cathedral was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake, but in 2020 major efforts to reinstate the building will begin with a cost of $104 million.

National Party leader Simon Bridges earlier shared his thoughts and also reminisced about memories in the French church.

"I remember as a young man on my OE being in this building, very moved by its majesty. This is so sad," he tweeted.

The cathedral is one of the city's most famous attractions, drawing roughly 13 million visitors a year, and is the seat of the archbishop of Paris.