Just like a phoenix, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris will rise again from the ashes. French officials announced on March 6 that one of the country’s most iconic buildings will welcome visitors and faithful by December 2024, reports France24.
Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin, the army general in charge of restoration, revealed that the public will see the cathedral’s spire gradually rise above the monument this year, marking its recovery after a devastating fire almost six years ago. “The return of the spire in Paris’ sky will in my opinion be the symbol that we are winning the battle of Notre Dame.”
My job is to be ready to open this cathedral in 2024. And we will do it. —Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin, the army general in charge of restoration
The Covid pandemic delayed the reconstruction of Notre Dame, but the two years were spent in making the monument stable and finding enough skilled artists to work on the huge project. After much deliberation, authorities decided to rebuild the UNESCO World Heritage Site the way it was before.
Georgelin said about 1,000 people will work on the historic Notre Dame. “The biggest challenge is to comply precisely every day to the planning we have done,” he pointed out. “We have a lot of different works to achieve: the framework, the painting, the stones, the vault, the organ, the stained glass and so on.”
Georgelin added that the reopening schedule is in line with what President Emmanuel Macron announced just after the fire.
“My job is to be ready to open this cathedral in 2024. And we will do it,” he stressed. “We are fighting every day for that and we are on a good path.” However, officials clarified that the renovation will not be complete by then since there will still be reconstruction work until 2025.
Philippe Jost, managing director of the government agency overseeing the reconstruction, said the project “will be faithful to the original architecture.” He disclosed that experienced craftspeople will recreate the original shapes of the cathedral and use materials and construction methods used during the 12th century.
“We don’t do concrete vaults that look like stone, we do stone vaults that we rebuild as they were built in the Middle Ages,” Jost explained.
As renovation work is in progress, a new exhibition near the Gothic cathedral will be open to the public for free. Visitors, especially those coming for the Paris Olympic Games, can see the remains from the fire and works of art from the cathedral. Called Notre Dame De Paris: At The Heart of the Construction Site, it will allow tourists “to live what could be this experience of visiting Notre-Dame in a brand new way,” said Culture Minister Rima Abdul-Malak. “That will help also tourism in Paris,” she added.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in France and in the world. It is one of the first Gothic cathedral ever built and is located on the east side of the Île de la Cité, an island in the River Seine in the heart of Paris.
According to 10MostToday.com, “The Notre Dame cathedral is one of the most singular and beautiful cathedrals of Europe. The cathedral’s dramatic towers, spire, stained glass and statuary are most impressive. The Notre Dame was the heart of medieval Paris and took over than a century to complete.”
On April 2019, a devastating 15-hour fire destroyed the cathedral’s roof and its famous 300-foot spire. The 850-year-old cathedral was undergoing renovations that time and something may have ignited amid the construction.
The Notre Dame is the most visited site in France—up to 14 million tourists go to the world-famous cathedral every year before the fire. It holds national, historical and architectural significance that it remains one of the most enduring symbols in Paris. The bells of Notre Dame ring to mark the hours and key events in the life of the cathedral or in the history of France, including to celebrate the liberation from the Nazis in 1944. Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in 1831 highlighted the magnificence and importance of the cathedral that it pushed the calls for its preservation.