The cathedral has been a symbol of Catholicism and French identity for over 850 years.
Its foundation stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, and the cathedral was completed in the 13th century.
Today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, Notre Dame is considered a feat of architecture, as well as a major religious and cultural symbol of France.
Its central spire, which tragically collapsed Monday in the blaze, was built in the 19th century amid a broad restoration effort, partly buoyed by the success of Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in 1831.
The cathedral draws millions of visitors. Located in Île de la Cité, a small island in the middle of the city, the cathedral is one of Paris' most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.