France's President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the Gothic monument within five years as pledges from French billionaires, businesses and the public sector to help reach some $790 million.
Firefighters declared success on Tuesday in an hours-long battle to extinguish an inferno engulfing the historic Notre Dame Cathedral but not before the fire claimed the magnificent spire and roof.
What remained was a blackened shell of the monument immortalised in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," a building that had survived almost 900 years of tumultuous French history but was devastated amid renovation works at the start of Catholic Easter week.
As support poured in from all quarters, emotional and financial, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral "within five years."
The remains of the blaze
The fire spared the iconic bell towers of the cathedral.
Notre Dame's famed stained-glass rose windows and most of its many religious relics appeared to have escaped the worst as well, easing fears for the fate of the vast trove of artworks in the gothic cathedral.
Paris officials said the world-famous 18th-century organ that boasts 8,000 pipes also appeared to have survived, along with the purported Crown of Christ, inside the cathedral.
Four-hundred-year-old paintings hung high inside were damaged, but emergency workers formed a human chain to whisk gem-studded chalices and other priceless artefacts out of harm's way.
A plan to safeguard heritage was quickly put into action.
Culture Minister Franck Riester told reporters that artworks were being transferred from a storeroom in City Hall to the Louvre on Tuesday and Wednesday. There they will be dehumidified, protected and eventually restored.
He said the cathedral's greatest paintings will be removed starting Friday.
"We assume they have not been damaged by the fire but there will eventually be damage from the smoke," Riester said.
Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire described authorities' "enormous relief" at the salvaging of pieces such as the Crown, which were transported to a "secret location" after the fire.
Statues removed just days ago for restoration work were also spared.
At dawn, the twin 69-metre towers swarmed with building specialists and architects.
Long and complex investigation
"Notre Dame was destroyed but the soul of France was not," Michel Aupetit, archbishop of Paris, said on RMC radio.
"The entire fire is out," declared Paris firefighters' spokesman Gabriel Plus, adding that workers were "surveying the movement of structures and extinguishing smouldering residues."
"The task is — now the risk of fire has been put aside — about the building, how the structure will resist," said Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez in front of the cathedral.
Officials consider the fire an accident, possibly as a result of the restoration work at the global architectural treasure.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the investigation would be "long and complex."
Fifty investigators were working on the probe, he said, and would be interviewing workers from five companies hired to work on renovations to the cathedral's roof, where the flames first broke out.
Renovation work on the steeple is widely suspected to have caused the inferno after the blaze broke out in an area under scaffolding.
Heitz said an initial fire alert was sounded at 1620 GMT (6:20 pm) Monday but no fire was found. The second alert was sounded at 1643 GMT (6:43 pm) and a blaze was discovered in the roofing at that point.
Though "some weaknesses" in the 850-year-old structure had been identified, overall it is "holding up OK," Nunez said.
News that the fire was probably accidental has done nothing to ease the national mourning.
"Notre Dame has survived the revolutionary history of France, and this happened during building works," said influential former culture minister Jack Lang.
Donations pour in
As France woke up in collective sadness, its richest businessman, Bernard Arnault, and his luxury goods group LVMH pledged $226 million (200 million euros) for the reconstruction.
A communique said the Arnault family was "in solidarity with this national tragedy, and join in the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, a symbol of France, of its heritage and togetherness."
Businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to Salma Hayek, and his billionaire father Francois Pinault also said they were immediately giving 100 million euros from their company, Artemis, to help finance repairs. Artemis is the holding company owning auction house Christie's and the main shareholder of luxury fashion houses, including Gucci.
A statement from Francois-Henri Pinault said "this tragedy impacts all French people" and "everyone wants to restore life as quickly as possible to this jewel of our heritage."
According to one tally, the amount pledged crossed $700 million.
French football club Toulouse will have the image of the Notre Dame cathedral on their shirts for their Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster this weekend, the president announced.
The jerseys will then be auctioned off with profits given to the rebuilding efforts of the 850-year-old Parisian monument after its spire and roof collapsed on Monday in a spectacular blaze.
Support came from outside France as well, with Apple chief Tim Cook announcing the tech giant would give an unspecified amount to help restore a "precious heritage for future generations."
Long road ahead
The 12th-century church is home to the organ, relics, stained glass and other works of art of incalculable value, and is a leading tourist attraction.
"The organ is a very fragile instrument, especially its pipes. It has not burnt, but no one can tell whether it has been damaged by water. Nobody knows if it is a functioning state or will need to be restored," Bertrand de Feydeau, vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, told AP.
Repairing the cathedral — including the 800-year-old wooden beams that made up its roof — presents challenges.
The cathedral's roof cannot be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire because "we don't, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century," he said, adding the roof restoration work would have to use new technologies.
Specialised craftsmen and rare materials are expected to be needed to restore Notre Dame, which is seen as an emblem of France and, more broadly, a symbol of Western civilisation that has survived revolutions and war.
"We have everything to be able to rebuild it in exactly the same way," Riester told France Inter, adding that the government was looking at ways to encourage donations.
But experts warned a full restoration will take many years. "I'd say decades," said Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral.
The statues removed last week, three-metre-tall copper figures which looked over the city from Notre Dame's 96-metre-high peak, were sent to southwestern France for work that is part of a $6.8 million (6 million euro) renovation project.
On Thursday, the public got a first ground-level look at the statues, representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists, when a huge crane whisked them into the air before lowering them onto a truck.