Saturday, February 24

Notre Dame begins to be reborn three years after the fire

The Notre Dame cathedral, one of the symbols of Paris, begins to be reborn three years after the fire that destroyed its roof and put in check one of the most emblematic Gothic temples of Christianity, whose restoration is progressing at the pace planned for reopen for worship in 2024.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, visited the works this Friday, in his first official act in three weeks, after the intense election campaign in which he is embarked for his re-election.

Three years ago, with the embers still hot, he promised rebuild the cathedral in five years. A calendar that is still maintained as the compass, although those responsible consider it very ambitious and believe that it will be possible to celebrate Mass then, but it is not so clear that it will be open to the 13 million visitors it received before the fire.

It is the worship that, for now, has to be done abroad, like the Good Friday service that brought together hundreds of faithful in the esplanade of the main facadethe same one that daily sees thousands of tourists pass by to photograph the most visible face of the cathedral.

Restoration at a good pace

The restoration it advances at the marked pace and, having passed the consolidation phase, they begin to restore the original format of the cathedral.

In addition, they have cleaned the walls from the lead that impregnated them during the fire and, incidentally, from the effects of time, so they will look whiter when the scaffolding that covers them is removed.

Next year the most spectacular phase of the reconstruction is planned, which will mean raising again the needle that burned on the afternoon of that April 15, 2019, identical to the one made in the 19th century by the architect Eugène Viollet le Duc.

For this, it will be necessary to set up, before the end of this year, a new structure of 600 ton scaffolding, which will also serve as the basis for the construction of the new coffered ceiling, for which a thousand oak trees have already been felled throughout the country and are being converted into wooden structures in 45 sawmills.

Restoration is also progressing inside, where two of the 24 chapels they have already been returned to their pre-burn state, while the badly damaged organ is being restored in three workshops in central and southern France.


But the interior cleaning works have been accompanied by an archaeological campaign that has brought to light some of the secrets still kept by the temple immortalized in literature by Victor Hugo.

Furthermore, among the rubble of the transepton which the needle was located, remains of a old altar from the 13th century which was destroyed 500 years later to adapt it to the new cult needs of the time.

Their wealth lies in the fact that they preserve a polychromy better than the hitherto preserved medieval vestiges of Notre Dame, which are in the Louvre museum, which represents a significant advance in the knowledge of the original temple.

Together with the archaeologists, the workers and the specialists, between the scaffolding maze What is today the cathedral is also home to researchers trying to determine the reasons for the catastrophe that paralyzed the entire world.

Research sources indicate that the hypothesis of an accidental fire, linked to the restoration works that were underway in 2019, it continues to be the one that has the most weight, although for now others, such as a possible voluntary human intervention, are not ruled out.

The investigations indicate that the flames were generated in the beams of the southeast corner of the transept, while they have brought to light some structural deficiencies and in the fire-fighting system, which delayed the alert and the subsequent arrival of the firemen.

Macron’s visit

The French president has assured that he sees “a testimony of hope”, three years after the fire that destroyed the temple.

“In this period of exit from covid and war in Europe, it is also a testimony of hopeIt makes a lot of sense”, said the head of state in the middle of the electoral campaign in which he faces the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen on April 24.

Accompanied by his wife, Brigitte Macronand of the general Jean-Louis Georgelin, At the head of the works, the president thanked the work of the workers who spend “their days and nights” renovating the building.

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“It is Good Friday, and by chance this date also corresponds, and it is rare, with Passover for our Jewish compatriots and Ramadan for our Muslim compatriots,” Macron said, while insisting that he is the president of a secular republic.

Macron considered that the works have advanced in a way “extraordinary“, and reaffirmed that the objective of reopening the cathedral for worship and visits in 2024, five years after the fire, is maintained, although some works could continue after that date.

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