The Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris has hosted its first mass, exactly two months after a devastating blaze that shocked France and the world.

Priests and worshippers wore hard hats to protect themselves against possible falling debris during the ceremony.

Dressed in a white robe and helmet, Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit led the service, which was attended by just some 30 people - half of them clergy.

"The fire, which ravaged the building on April 15, has provoked a wave of emotion, not only for the community of believers," Archbishop Aupetit said in his sermon, broadcast live

"This cathedral is a place of worship, that's its true and unique purpose."

The mass started at 6pm (5pm Irish time) in the Chapel of the Virgin on the east side of the cathedral, confirmed to be safe.

Protective nets have been strung above the nave and choir and rubble still strews the floor but the pews have remained intact.

Archbishop Aupetit was joined by the rector of Notre-Dame, Patrick Chauvet, other clergy, volunteers, people working on the restoration as well a handful of lay worshippers.

The date was chosen as it is the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral's altar, which is celebrated every year on 16 June.


Read more: Shock at destruction of 'Lady of Paris'


French President Emmanuel Macron has set an ambitious target of five years for restoring Notre-Dame, which was gutted by a fire on 15 April that felled its steeple and consumed the lattice of beams supporting the roof.

The diocese is awaiting a response from the French authorities over whether it can re-open the esplanade in front of the cathedral to the public.

If the authorities approve the plan, the idea is to celebrate evening prayers there, the diocese said.

The church has also floated the idea of erecting a temporary structure in front of the cathedral to welcome worshippers while the building is being repaired.

Up to 150 workers have been working at the cathedral daily since the fire, continuing to remove debris and stabilise the structure.

Two large white canopies have been put in place to ensure the edifice is protected, including from rain.