After more than two years of cleaning and stabilization work, Notre-Dame de France Cathedral is now ready to be rebuilt.
The news was confirmed this weekend by Rebâtir Notre-Dame de Paris, the task force tasked with restoring the 850-year-old Gothic structure, in a statement on facebook. The group says it is on track to complete the project by spring 2024, just in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
It was the goal presented by French President Emmanuel Macron in the days following a disaster fire in 2019– a five-year plan which, for many who had witnessed the disaster in real time, seemed ambitious, if not impossible.
“We officially say that the cathedral is now saved, that it is solid on its pillars, that its walls are solid, everything holds,” Jean-Louis Georgelin told the French newspaper, Rebâtir Notre-Dame. BFM TV. “We are determined to win this battle of 2024, to reopen our cathedral in 2024. It will be the honor of France to do so, and we will do it because we are all united on this objective.
The first phase now completed involved reinforce the flying buttresses of the cathedral, protecting its gargoyles, and removing some 40,000 pieces of damaged scaffolding that were in place to restore the boom at the time of the fire.
Georgelin explained that the interior walls and floors of the cathedral will undergo a “deep cleaning process” at the end of September. Meanwhile, construction of the building, which will be contracted out by the state to private companies, is expected to begin in the coming months.
The money for these commissions will come from approximately $ 950 million (845 million euros) which was pledged by private donors and companies.
In 2020, after a year of speculation about what the redesigned cathedral would look like, Macron announced that the the famous spire of the cathedral would be restored to its original state. The president had previously said the state would hold a international architectural competition to rethink the structure, but changed its mind following a recommendation from the National Heritage and Architecture Commission.
The objective of Rebâtir Notre-Dame is to have the cathedral ready to receive a full service on April 16, 2024.
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