PARIS (AP) French President Emmanuel Macron visited reconstruction work at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Friday, bidding farewell to workers who restored the medieval monument four years after it suffered a devastating fire.
As light filtered through the cathedral’s stained glass windows, Macron and his wife Brigitte watched the activity underway to replace the roof and spire that caught fire on April 15, 2019.
Outside, Macron climbed cautiously atop the scaffolding and shouted to the workers: “Good luck, and don’t give up in the months ahead!” »
Macron has taken a personal interest in the reconstruction, creating a government agency to oversee the work, and urging the cathedral to be reopened to visitors and worshipers next year. While it won’t be ready in time for the Paris Olympics in July and August 2024, it is currently expected to open in time for Christmas next year.
The authorities chose to rebuild the 12th-century monument, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, as it was before. These include a re-creation of a 93-metre (315 ft) tall tower added in the 19th century by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
The base of the tower is being installed and is supposed to be in place on Saturday, the fourth anniversary of the fire. The tower itself will be built in phases over the next few months, according to a statement released on Friday by the government agency responsible for the reconstruction.
Work is also underway to standardize the 18th-century cathedral organ that was removed and cleaned up after suffering fire damage, and the cathedral’s 42,000-square-meter (452,084-square-meter) wall plazas, depending on the agency.
The rebuilding process itself began last year, after more than two years of work to make the monument stable and safe enough for craftsmen to begin rebuilding it.
Visit Notre Dame Mass protests across France against Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age and against his leadership.