Notre Dame Cathedral Restoration Gets Underway

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Table of Contents

Laying the Foundation for the Renovation Works

Notre Dame Cathedral restoration gets underway. Crews of expert workers are currently putting in place 500 tons of scaffolding, including 50,000 tubes that will completely encircle the spire. To support the weight of the scaffolding as it envelops the spire, the tubes at the base will actually run through the roof, just above the vaulted ceiling.

Notre-Dame Cathedral restoration. In the following picture you can see the scaffolding surrounding the Spire of Notre Dame de Paris.

The scaffolding preparations will be finished within a few weeks. Once in place, the next step is to remove the statues depicting the Evangelists and the Apostles from the spire. They will be displayed in the choir of the Cathedral while they await their own restoration, which is scheduled to begin in October 2018. Two statues will be sent at a time to experts in the south of France for their restoration treatment, which will take two months to complete. Most of these statues have been generously “adopted” by individuals and corporations who have sponsored their restorations.

Notre Dame Cathedral restoration

Following the scaffolding work on the spire, we will next turn our attention to flying buttress #10, the choir, the sacristy, and the terraces. Flying buttress #10 is a crucial support for the structure of the choir and is in the direst state. We anticipate that this work will begin in the fall of 2018, now that we have secured funding for this important step of the renovation. We are attending to these two architectural features first because they are the most structurally compromised and also pose the greatest risk to the integrity of the rest of the building. Once we restore these two architectural elements, we will move on to address the additional needs of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris & the Renovation

Since the separation of the church and state in France in 1905, Notre-Dame Cathedral has belonged to the French State while the Roman Catholic Church is designated as the perpetual tenant of the building. The French Government is contributing a third of the funds needed to restore the cathedral, but due to the extent of the funding needed for the renovation, the Archdiocese of Paris decided to raise private funds in France and also wanted to open the opportunity to the U.S.

Following a discussion with Vassar College in the U.S., whose Art Department has been an active partner through their architectural research on the cathedral, and following visits from numerous prominent US citizens, Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris was created as the primary vehicle to raise funds in the U.S. and around the world in order to speed up the renovation work.

Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris was established as a IRS designated 501(c)(3) charity in May 2017, with the mission to support the restoration and preservation of Notre-Dame Cathedral, which has not had major repairs since the mid-1800s.

Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris launch a broad fundraising campaign that has already yielded significant gifts from hundreds of donors. Our fundraising strategy is based on prioritizing the renovation works, starting with the spire, the roof, and the choir, followed by the sacristy, the transept, the nave, and the towers. Work cannot begin on new projects until we have secured funding for the entire project.

The support and generosity of American donors and the dedication of the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris community is helping to make the restoration of this gem of Gothic architecture possible, and we look forward to growing this partnership.

We are thrilled to see work on the cathedral progressing and are excited to embark on this journey with our ever-growing community in the United States. Without your help, we truly would not be able to save this historic, world-renowned cultural heritage monument.

Your contribution makes the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris possible. Donate today!

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Notre-Dame de Paris Rebuilding Updates: January & February 2021

Since the new year, work on Notre-Dame de Paris is steadily progressing as we continue securing the structure of Notre-Dame Cathedral. We anticipate this work will be finished in summer 2021. Now that the scaffolding has been removed, the cathedral will be placed under a temporary umbrella-like structure above the crossing of the transept, nave, and choir to protect its interior from water damage. Installing this protective structure was finished in February.

Notre-Dame Cathedral’s Choir Statues

If you’ve ever visited Notre-Dame Cathedral, you must have noticed the many statues that adorn its interior. Looking specifically at the choir – the area of the cathedral designed to accommodate the liturgical singers between the nave and the altar – the statues represent many things; some commemorate saints, depict biblical events or pay homage to French monarchs. But none are as prominent as the statues that surround the high altar in the apse at the end of the choir. 

Choir sings in Notre-Dame for first time since 2019 fire

In December 2020, a choir – wearing hard hats – performed inside Notre-Dame Cathedral to celebrate the Christmas holiday. It was the first time a choir has performed in the cathedral since Notre-Dame was damaged in fire in April 2019.