As Paris' famous Notre Dame cathedral burned overnight, New Zealand time, crowds of Parisians and visitors alike couldn't help but stop and stare.
Associated Press photographers were at the scene, capturing remarkable and poignant images of France losing one of its best-known landmarks.
The smoke from the could be seen across the city, stretching in a long trail towards another famous landmark - the Eiffel Tower.
The cathedral was built centuries ago, somewhere between 1163 and 1365.
It had recently begun renovations and restoration work, with the scaffolding visible in some of the photos.
The church was considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and was known for its intricate decorations.
Many people in the crowd struggled to control their tears, with reports from some at the scene saying bottles of wine were being passed around - a very French display of grief.
Officials have said firefighters may not be able to extinguish the fire, and that the entire cathedral could be lost.