In Paris, Notre-Dame should regain its famous spire this year and reopen in 2024
Partially destroyed by a fire in April 2019, Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral should regain its famous spire before the end of 2023 for a reopening scheduled for the following year.
Notre-Dame de Paris, ravaged by a fire in 2019, should regain its famous spire before the end of the year for a probable reopening at the end of 2024, after the Olympic Games in the French capital.
“The site is progressing at a good pace, which allows us to be confident of a reopening at the end of 2024, in accordance with the objective set by the President of the Republic on the evening of the fire”, confirmed to the AFP the office of the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, like the diocese.
The date of December 8, 2024 had been brought forward last October by the new rector of the cathedral, Bishop Olivier Ribadeau-Dumas, as well as by General Jean-Louis Georgelin, who heads the public establishment, contracting authority for the reconstruction site.
The many tourists expected in the capital for the Paris Olympics, whose opening ceremony is scheduled for July 2024, will therefore not yet be able to visit this masterpiece of Gothic art which attracted 12 million visitors each year. before the fire.
But its famous spire, identical to the previous one, designed by the 19th century architect Viollet-Le-Duc and which had collapsed in the fire of April 15, 2019, “should dawn again in the sky of Paris from by the end of the year” 2023, according to the public establishment.
It must be rebuilt identically to that which culminated at 96 meters from the ground, with the original materials, oak wood for the structure (500 tons) and lead for the cover and ornaments (250 tons).
Lead, which has already hindered the construction site in its very beginnings for health reasons, worries professionals in the arts and heritage, the European Union considering restricting its use.
Questioned on this subject on Wednesday at the National Assembly by the working group on the conservation and restoration of Notre-Dame, Rima Abdul Malak wanted to be reassuring, indicating that France was “in full discussion” with the European Commission and had “written an argument on the importance of lead for heritage trades, which is gaining ground”.
“The site complies with French regulations which are one of the most demanding on a European scale concerning lead”, underlines his cabinet.
Construction of the spire will begin on site as soon as the four freestone arches that make up the vault of the transept at the heart of the cathedral have been rebuilt.
“This preparatory work began this week”, according to the public establishment. Four custom-made wooden half-hangers have already been laid and the necessary stones, cut in the workshop, transported by river.
Scaffolding with a floor was installed 26 meters high. Once the vault is completed and the base of the spire laid, it will gradually rise and culminate at 100 meters in the final phase of its reconstruction.
“Not a museum”
On the interior side, the cleaning and restoration of 42,000 m2 of walls have been completed, as well as those of the decorations (murals, ironwork, joinery, stained glass, sculptures) spared by the fire in the south transept.
A large temporary hall has been installed in front of the facade of Notre-Dame where sculptors are working on the restoration or replacement of statues.
Concerning the liturgical arrangement which must be rejuvenated, the diocese, which finances it, has surrounded itself with an “artistic committee”. Five artist-designers must present him with a “coherent” project for the furniture. The winner will be known this summer.
Asked in the magazine “La fabrique de Notre-Dame”, published by the public establishment, the Archbishop of Paris, Mgr Laurent Ulrich, said he wanted “an educational and spiritual journey” which is “not the equivalent of a museum” but “expresses something of the mystery of Man and the mystery of God”.
Heritage experts have given the go-ahead to a clean central axis and the presence of contemporary art. They were opposed to benches with candle lights, also discarded by Bishop Ulrich in favor of chairs.
Regarding the surroundings of Notre-Dame, the redevelopment of which is up to the City of Paris, they should gain in purity and greening, with a group of specialists selected in June, including the Belgian landscaper Bas Smets.