Cathedral bells were traditionally used to warn people of an imminent attack, to call people together and to announce events.
The bells of Notre-Dame Cathedral - made famous by Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, rang out to communicate the end of World War 2 and the liberation of Paris and, more recently, to commemorate those who lost their lives in the 2015 Paris terror attacks.
In 2013 Notre-Dame Cathedral celebrated its 850th anniversary by ringing in Easter with nine new bells and the one original bell called Emmanuel. The 13-ton Emmanuel bell is the only one that was not melted down to make cannons and coins during the French revolution.
The bells of Notre-Dame are known as the 'soul of the city'. While they fell silent today, a chorus of bells rang out poignantly from other churches across the city at the request of the Archbishop of Paris.
People gather in the streets near Notre-Dame to keep vigil as the landmark burns. Some sang as a way of coping with the devastation they were witnessing.
People in Paris are singing in the streets near the Notre-Dame Cathedral as firefighters continue to try to put out the fire pic.twitter.com/07133ste73— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) April 15, 2019
Others shared The Bells of Notre-Dame, a song from the Disney film The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, to mark the site's significance and its bells as "the soul of the city".
Morning in Paris, the city awakes— Maíra Torres (@torres_maira91) April 15, 2019
To the bells of Notre Dame
To the big bells as loud as the thunder
To the little bells soft as a psalm
And some say the soul of the city's
The toll of the bells
The bells of Notre Dame 💔 pic.twitter.com/XLTfvZxvv1
Watch the bells of Notre-Dame in action