On April 15, 2019, the world watched in horror as Notre-Dame Cathedral burned. Almost as quickly as the fire was extinguished, there was a huge international outpouring of support and pledges to rebuild Notre-Dame.
Before reconstruction efforts could begin, initial assessments were carried out to examine the extent of the damage.
Then came the Safety Phase, which began in the summer of 2019, to secure the structure of the cathedral and prevent further damage.
Safety works included:
The fire destroyed the spire along with the majority of the roof and “the forest”, as the lattice of ancient wooden beams in the attic was known.
The walls of the nave, choir and two transepts suffered severe water damage and were no longer structurally sound.
The north tower belfry is partially burnt, but fortunately the bells are still in place.
Notre-Dame Cathedral’s famous organ was saved, but remains in critical condition due to water damage and lead that melted from the roof during the blaze.
On June 8, construction resumed on Notre-Dame Cathedral after a three-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The work is focused on continuing to remove the burned scaffolding that had surrounded the spire. In 2019, the spire was undergoing restoration and was destroyed during the fire on April 15. This cleanup effort should last until September but is subject to change as it is a delicate process to remove 30,000 tubes weighing 300 tons.
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Help restore Notre-Dame – this jewel of Gothic architecture – to her original splendor.
Following the rebuilding phase, restoration works will address critical issues that existed before the 2019 fire. Once the reconstruction and restoration works are finished, Notre-Dame Cathedral will need our protection to ensure that she remains beautiful, safe and open to the public for generations of visitors to experience and enjoy.
On July 9, the chief architects of Historical Monuments presented restoration plans for Notre-Dame Cathedral to the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture (CNPA), the advisory council that handles important restoration projects in France.
The study presented plans to respect the previously existing structure of the cathedral and to restore the monument to its last complete, coherent and known state.
This includes rebuilding a spire identical to the one designed in the 19th Century by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, returning the cathedral’s appearance to how it existed before the fire of April 15, 2019. Rebuilding efforts will also use original materials, like wood for the roofing. The report states that these restoration measures will ensure the authenticity, harmony and coherence of this masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
CNPA unanimously approved the architects’ recommendations that Notre-Dame Cathedral be restored to its prior state. The French President Emmanuel Macron also shared his approval for this decision.
Work will also begin on the Great Organ and the Choir Organ. The pipes from the Great Organ will be removed and sent for expert restoration. The famous organ – the largest in France – miraculously emerged from the fire with minor damages. In comparison, the Choir Organ suffered from major water damage and will need to be entirely rebuilt. Only the metal pipes could be salvaged. These efforts will take place in the fall. Stay up to date with Notre Dame Restoration Progress!