Main sections of Notre Dame cathedral saved from fire - reports

The main structure of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has been saved from a devastating fire.

The blaze, which begun on Tuesday morning (NZT), has destroyed large sections of the cathedral, including a spire and two-thirds of the roof.

But French President Emmanuel Macron has since said officials believe the main structure is now safe, while Laurent Nunez, the French secretary to the Interior Minister, said the main two towers at the front of the structure have been saved.

Macron declared the worst had been avoided and the city would rebuild the building.

Earlier a spokesperson for the cathedral was concerned the entire building could be destroyed.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear, but there is suspicion it could be linked to renovation work.

Local media report that police are treating it as an accident, but a Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into the blaze.

Up to 400 firefighters are believed to be working on the fire.

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.

Its construction began in 1163 and wasn't completed until 1345.

However, it quickly became a jewel of gothic architecture, and hosted the coronation of Henry VI of England in 1431 as well as Napoleon in 1804.

During the French revolution it was used as a food warehouse, but now houses an array of art.

The church is also well known for featuring in the Victor Hugo classic novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, which was released in 1831.

The 1800s were a time of significant change for the cathedral, with architects brought in to do up the spire and renovate other sections which hadn't been looked after.

The renovations underway when the fire broke out included repairing broken gargoyles