French President Emmanuel Macron launched an international fundraising campaign as he pledged "we will rebuild" the fire-devastated Notre Dame.
He spoke after two-thirds of the historic cathedral roof were totally destroyed by the blaze.
Its iconic spire also collapsed and priceless stain glass windows exploded in the heat.
"Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives," Macron told reporters in front of the still burning Paris landmark.
"Notre-Dame is burning, and I know the sadness, and this tremor felt by so many fellow French people. But tonight, I'd like to speak of hope too," he said, announcing the launch of an fundraising campaign.
"Let's be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we've built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it.
"So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together," he added.
The structure of Notre Dame has been saved after a huge fire destroyed parts of the famous cathedral, according to a fire chief in Paris.
The update came after officials earlier warned that firefighters may not be able to stop the huge blaze which tore through the cathedral.
Notre Dame fire
Speaking outside the cathedral, fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet had told reporters he was "not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading" to Notre Dame's second tower and belfry, but he later said they had been successful in stopping it spreading to the northern belfry of the 850-year-old Gothic building.
Prime Minister Theresa May sent her wishes to the French capital from her walking holiday with her husband in Wales, where she is spending the beginning of parliamentary recess.
"My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre Dame cathedral," she said.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump tweeted some advice for the Paris Fire Brigade, suggesting "flying water tankers" to put out the flames.
The first reports of the blaze emerged shortly before 6pm.
Soon, the flames burst through the roof of the building and quickly brought down the 315-feet (96m) spire.
The blaze moved through the cathedral, ravaging two-thirds of the roof and spreading to one of the two rectangular towers which formed its famous frontage.
Around 400 firefighters battled the inferno and tried to salvage artwork and other priceless pieces stored in the 12th century cathedral.
Officials warned that fire crews might not be able to stop the huge blaze, but the Paris fire chief later confirmed the building's structure had been saved.
There have been no deaths reported but one firefighter was injured.
Officials said the fire may be linked to renovation work at one of the world's most famous tourist attractions, French media reported.
The cause of the fire remains unknown but following a preliminary investigation Paris prosecutors have said it is believed to be an accident.
Prosecutors later said they had ruled out arson and do not believe the fire was terror-related but police will conduct an investigation into "involuntary destruction caused by fire".
Notre Dame is one of the city's oldest and most recognisable buildings, and work began on it in 1163.
The original structure was completed nearly 200 years later, in 1345, and its name literally translates to "Our Lady of Paris".
Some 13 billion now visit the Catholic landmark every year – more than 30,000 every day on average – according to its official website.
It's believed to be the most visited structure in the French capital.
Its renovation works were estimated to cost around 150million euro (£130m).
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