In early December, France’s National Heritage and Architecture Commission assessed proposed plans to decide how Notre-Dame de Paris’ interior will be renovated. In addition to the structural and external damage cause by the fire in 2019, the interior of the cathedral suffered water, smoke and lead dust damage to the seating, interior lighting, lectern, and other interior guest facilities.
The Archdiocese of Paris submitted plans to propose a liturgical redevelopment of Notre-Dame’s interior to make Notre-Dame de Paris more welcoming and informative to her visitors. Some of the proposed plans included newer and more comfortable benches. The plans proposed that visitors enter through a large central door, instead of the side entrances that were previously used before the fire. There are also proposed plans that mention utilizing the side chapels of the nave to give visitors a better understanding of what the paintings, sculptures, and imagery mean.
First, the chapels will all be restored to their original condition. Two of the chapels, the chapels of Saint Ferdinand and Notre-Dame de Guadalupe, have already been completely restored. The restoration of these chapels concluded in August and gave the teams working inside Notre-Dame de Paris valuable insights on the best techniques for cleaning the paintings, stonework, and stained-glass windows in the cathedral. While Notre-Dame de Paris’ 24 chapels were not damaged during the fire in 2019, many were already in a state of severe disrepair and now are covered in a layer of lead dust.
France’s National Heritage and Architecture Commission met on December 9, 2021, to review the liturgical plans presented by the Archdiocese for the interior of the cathedral.
During this meeting, it was agreed:
- The design of the elements of the central liturgical axis, like the baptistery and altar, be designed by the same artist and that the projects be submitted to the Commission for consultation.
- The statues of the saints will remain on the altars of the chapels of the nave.
- The validation of the arrangement of the Mays paintings in the transept, the chapels of the nave and the chapels of the choir.
- The validation of the grouping of the altar fittings for the coronation of Napoleon and the altar of Viollet-le-Duc.
- The validation to move certain confessionals of the chapels of the nave to the galleries and retaining four confessionals in the chapels.