According to the emergency service, a fire broke out on Saturday in the Gothic cathedral in the western French city of Nantes, but firefighters brought the fire under control in a few hours.
Officials said the cathedral’s organ had been destroyed and its platform could collapse, but added that the damage was similar to the fire at Notre Dame in Paris last year.
Firefighters received a warning before 8:00 AM (6:00 GMT) to inform St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Basilica that a fire had started and about 100 personnel came to the scene.
Regional fire chief Laurent Ferlay said the emergency team managed to extinguish the fire in Gothic buildings between the 15th and 19th centuries after two hours.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said he would visit the scene later on Saturday.
“I want to know what happened but first I’m going to show my solidarity with the people of Nantes,” Castex told reporters.
President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his “support for our firefighters who are taking all the risks to save this gothic jewel”.
The building was last hit by fire in 1972. Its roof took more than 13 years to repair.
Another religious building in Nantes — the Basilica of St Donatian and St Rogatian — was struck by a fire in 2015 that destroyed three-quarters of its roof.
In April last year, a fire engulfed the 13th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, causing the spire to collapse, bringing thick smoke into the air with poisonous molten lead. The structure will take several years to repair.