Save Notre Dame de Paris

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Notre-Dame de Paris needs our help. Help us save Notre Dame de Paris

Help us save Notre Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral has stood for over 800 years, and while the recently restored western façade is magnificent, the rest of the building is in dire need of repair.

The cathedral has been slowly deteriorating for generations, facing challenges like pollution, rain and the inferior quality of the stone used in the last restoration that took place in the 1800s. On the terraces, stones crumble into sand when touched.  With each day that passes, we witness the irreparable loss of sculptural and decorative elements, like gargoyles and pinnacles. If the weakening basic infrastructure of the building is left unattended, the cathedral is deteriorating at such a rate that within a few years we could see the partial collapse of the cathedral.

The 19th Century Restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris

The cathedral was previously restored in the 19th century. The cathedral was, at the time, in a dire and desperate state. Author Victor Hugo used his 1831 novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), to sound the alarm about the state of the cathedral. This novel sparked the legend of Quasimodo and also reinvigorated interest in the cathedral, spurring the French Government to undertake a large restoration effort that lasted nearly 20 years. Since then, no major restorations have been done, with the exception of the West Façade in the 1990s.

Crucial Renovation Works Have Officially Begun

A Ministry of Culture blueprint estimates the restoration budget will cost approximately $180 million. The French Government has agreed to contribute $50 million over the next 10 years, with private funding responsible for the remaining $130 million. If nothing is done, in 10 years parts of this landmark will disappear altogether.

Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris’ mission is to raise funds to accelerate this renovation and save one of the most iconic jewels of Gothic architecture in the world.

Over the next four years, we plan to complete the first phase of the restoration which consists of the spire, the choir, the terraces, and the sacristy – the areas assessed as the most vulnerable parts of Notre-Dame Cathedral. This phase will cost an estimated $72 million.

This first phase started earlier this month, thanks to contributions from 1,100 generous donors, primarily from France and the United States.

1. The Spire

Scaffolding has started going up on the spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral and the statues that adorn the spire will be removed for restoration. The spire is one of the cathedral’s most high priority elements as it is in the most critical condition. Setting up the scaffolding is a delicate process, as time, pollution and disrepair have severely weakened the structure. Our experts are taking great care with the scaffolding, which will be completed in June. Then renovation work on the upper part of the spire will begin in July and will last approximately 4 years.

Spire of Notre-Dame de Paris to be Rebuilt According to 19th Century Design. Help us save Notre Dame de Paris

Estimated cost: $13.2 million

2. Flying Buttress #10

In addition to the work on the spire, work began on flying buttress #10 at the back of the cathedral. The flying buttresses are architectural elements that support Notre-Dame Cathedral’s stunning vaulted ceilings and are a characteristic of its Gothic style. They also play a very important role: they help support the weight of the cathedral’s roof, which is distributed through the rib vaults in the ceiling and held up by the buttresses rather than the walls. This is what enables the cathedral to have its famous stained-glass windows. In short, the buttresses make sure that Notre-Dame Cathedral is structurally sounds and doesn’t collapse. While the other buttresses are in desperate need of repair, flying buttress #10 is especially compromised.

The flying buttresses are architectural elements that support Notre-Dame Cathedral’s stunning vaulted ceilings and are a characteristic of its Gothic style. Help us save Notre Dame de Paris

Estimated cost: $800,000

3. Choir

The Choir needs critical structural work, including strengthening and refurbishing all 37 flying buttresses that support the walls of the choir. In addition to the structural work, the Choir will have its damaged gargoyles and pinnacles replaced.

Estimated cost: $36.2 million

4. Sacristy

The sacristy that you see today was built between 1845 and 1850, and eventually completed in 1854 with its full statuary. It replaced earlier sacristies, including one demolished in 1831 when the Archbishop’s palace was ransacked. Since the 19th century, several restoration campaigns have taken place, including the roof, the pinnacles, and the finials to repair damage caused by storms, rain, and pollution. However, no major restoration efforts have been made up to now and it now requires urgent reparations.  The restoration works have been organized in three parts:

  • Restoring the infrastructure of the building, including the gargoyles, pinnacles, and finials
  • Repairing the roof
  • Restoring the statues, including the six statues of the large sacristy and the eight statues of the cloister

Estimated cost: $8.6 million

5. The Terraces

The stones used during the previous 19th century restoration were of inferior quality, compared to the originals. As a result, decades of exposure to the elements and pollution have severely eroded the terraces caused significant damaged in certain places. Restoration works will focus on repairing the terraces and fixing structural damage, using the highest quality materials possible.

Estimated cost: $14 million

You can help save Notre Dame de Paris. Donate today!

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More to explorer

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.