'Paris is crying' - local reacts to 'icon' of city Notre Dame Cathedral going up in flames

A Paris resident has described his shock and sadness upon seeing the world famous Notre Dame Cathedral in flames.

The man, who was not identified, said he had heard of the fire and immediately ran to see what had happened.

"I can't believe now, Notre Dame, an icon of Paris, is destroyed," he said.

People stand on the banks of the river Seine, watching as the beloved Notre Dame cathedral burns. Source: Associated Press

"I can't believe it - I'm really so sad, I was just crying just before and I feel like Paris is crying now, not just me."

Many Parisians gathered at the cordon near the cathedral, watching in horror as the flames continued to rise.

Photos: Paris' centuries old Notre Dame cathedral engulfed by flames

There were reports of some passing around bottles of wine - a very French way to deal with such an occasion.

Watch:The moment the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris collapses during fire

A crowd of people watches in horror as the Notre Dame cathedral burns. Source: Associated Press