The first mass has been held in Notre Dame cathedral since April’s devastating fire, with priests wearing hard hats for safety.
Only around 30 people could attend the service as the structure is still fragile.
It was held exactly two months after flames ripped through the Gothic church, claiming the building’s spire but leaving the twin bell towers intact.
Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit held the mass yesterday in a chapel behind the choir, a place confirmed by construction experts as safe.
For security reasons, only about 30 people – mainly priests, canons and church employees – were admitted inside the cathedral for the service.
Some of the construction workers helping to rebuild the church were also allowed to attend.
Others outside could watch the mass live on a Catholic TV station streamed online.
French Culture Minister Franck Riester said this week that the cathedral remains in a ‘fragile’ state, especially its vaulted ceiling, which is still at risk of collapsing.
Footage showed some burnt wood still in the church but a famous statue of the Virgin and Child appeared intact behind wooden construction planks.
The annual Dedication Mass commemorated the cathedral’s consecration as a place of worship.
‘This cathedral is a place of worship, it is its very own and unique purpose,’ Mr Aupetit said.
One French priest called the service ‘a true happiness, full of hope’.
‘We will rebuild this cathedral,’ Father Pierre Vivares said.
‘It will take time of course – a lot of money, lot of time, lot of work – but we will succeed.
‘Today it’s a small but a true victory against the disaster we have had.’
It is still unclear when the cathedral will reopen to the public.
French President Emmanuel Macron has set a goal of rebuilding it in just five years, which many experts consider unrealistic.
In the meantime, the French parliament is debating amendments to a new law that would create a public body to expedite the restoration of the cathedral and circumvent some of France’s complex labour laws.