France to Restore Notre Dame Cathedral to 19th Century Design

By Kurt Stolz on 14 July 2020
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The interior of Notre Dame several months before the fire

French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris will be rebuilt to be exactly as it was before the fire last year that came close to destroying the entire structure.

The news came after months of contentious debate about potential additions and changes to the 12th-century cathedral.

Macron “has become convinced of the need to restore Notre Dame de Paris in the most consistent manner possible to its last complete, coherent and known state,” according to a statement from Elysée Palace.

In an interview on the France Inter radio station, the country’s new culture minister, Roselyne Bachelot, argued that the cathedral should be rebuilt to look “identical” to how it was, adding that she felt that there was “broad consensus” against a contemporary redesign for the roof and spire.

As a result, it will not have a modern spire, as some have suggested.

“The president trusts the experts and approved the main outlines of the project presented by the chief architect which plans to reconstruct the spire identically,” the statement read.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1160 and it was largely completed by 1260.  The cathedral was undergoing a major renovation project at the time of the fire, which destroyed its roof and collapsed its famous spire, which had been added in 1860, after the French Revolution.  While at first it looked as if the 850-year-old landmark might not survive, firefighters acted quickly to save it.

Notre Dame remains standing today because its twin bell towers were kept from destruction.  In addition to the stone bell towers, the cathedral’s trio of round stained-glass windows survived the blaze, including the famous South Rose window, donated by Louis IX in 1260.  The cathedral’s 8,000-pipe Great Organ sustained repairable damage and also survived.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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