The restoration effort is seeking to meet President Emmanuel Macron’s ambitious plan to reopen the cathedral after five years – just in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Two and a half years after a fire broke out at the centuries-old Notre-Dame cathedral in the middle of Paris, the building has been secured enough to begin the rebuilding process, which is expected to be completed in 2024, according to French officials.
Stabilizing the 850-year-old cathedral was a daunting task, as French officials had to dismantle scaffolding and clear the floor of rubble, among other tasks, by General Jean-Louis Georgelin, a former army chief. President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that he had been put in charge of the restoration.
“We are officially saying that the cathedral has now survived, that it is solid on its pillars, that its walls are solid,” said General Georgelin, who leads the government’s Notre-Dame Restoration Task Force. French broadcaster BFM-TV . told.
The task force, called Rebatir Notre-Dame de Paris, or Rebuild Notre-Dame, said in a Statement on Facebook on Saturday that the cathedral was on track to reopen in 2024, meeting Mr Macron’s ambitious five-year deadline to open the gothic landmark the same year Paris was scheduled to host the Summer Olympics.
Reconstruction work is expected to begin in the next few months, the statement said.
The Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, the organization that helped restore the cathedral, is solicit donations To restore dozens of gargoyles, statues and paintings of the cathedral.
The world watched the events of April 15, 2019, as it would be a slow-motion horror film, as flames consumed the cathedral attic before tearing down the ceiling and the iconic spire, which collapsed into the vaults below. A New York Times investigation found that the cathedral, an irreplaceable symbol of French heritage, came dangerously close to collapse.
Donations for the restoration came from around the world, including some of France’s wealthiest families. In the days following the fire, individuals, companies and institutions donated or pledged 845 million euros, approximately $950 million, to rebuild the damaged cathedral, a jewel of Gothic architecture.
The restoration sparked a flurry of arguments over the new design of the cathedral. Last year, Mr. Macron abandoned his unpopular idea of building a modern spire over the cathedral.
Investigators have yet to explain what caused the fire, but they have focused on two theories: a short-circuit near the summit, and negligence by repair workers, a theory that led to the discovery of cigarette butts on the scaffold. Inspired by.
Notre-Dame’s security planners have been criticized for mistaking how quickly a flame can ignite and spread throughout the cathedral.
The fallout from the fire was not limited to the cathedral. Another Times investigation found that billowing smoke from the cathedral carried a hidden danger of its own: massive amounts of lead that were scattered across Paris’ streets and parks, according to government reports.
The cathedral, which had 13 million visitors each year, is still closed to the public.