French authorities said on Monday that the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is progressing so fast that it could reopen to visitors and worshipers in late 2024, less than six years after a fire.
The cathedral’s iconic spire, which collapsed in the fire, will gradually begin to reappear atop the monument this year, in a powerful sign of its revival, said Jean-Louis Georglin, the general in charge of the massive project.
He told the Associated Press, “The return of the spire to the sky of Paris will symbolize in my opinion that we are winning the battle for Notre Dame.”
Massive fire breaks out at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
Reconstruction began only last year after more than two years of work to stabilize the monument and make it safe enough for craftsmen to begin its reconstruction.
The authorities have opted to rebuild the 12th-century monument, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, as it was before. This includes recreating the 315-foot-high spire, added in the 19th century by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
Meanwhile, an exhibition titled “Notre-Dame de Paris: At the heart of the construction site” will open to visitors on Tuesday in an underground facility in front of the cathedral. Available for free, it highlights the operations going on at the site and the expertise and skills of the workers. It also contains some relics from the fire and works of art from the cathedral.
General Georglin said the cathedral would reopen after the fire in December 2024, in line with a target set by President Emmanuel Macron – still too late for next summer’s Paris Olympic Games.
“My job is to be ready to open this cathedral in 2024. And we will do it,” said General Georglin. “We are fighting for that every day and we are on a good track.”
This means that “the archbishop of the capital will again be able to celebrate Catholic rites in his cathedral” and the monument will also be “open for tourist visits,” he said.
Notre Dame fire: New photos show scale of devastation as experts keep eye on iconic building’s future
Culture Minister Reema Abdul-Malak told the AP that doesn’t mean all renovations will end. “There will still be some renovation work going on in 2025,” she insisted.
Meanwhile, the new exhibit near the cathedral will allow visitors, including those coming for the Olympics, “to experience what it can be like to visit Notre-Dame in a whole new way,” she said. In addition to the free tour, a virtual reality show will allow paying visitors to dive into the history of the cathedral. “It will also help tourism in Paris,” he added.
General Georglin said about 1,000 people work every day in the capital and across the country to rebuild Notre Dame.
“The biggest challenge is to follow the plan we have made,” he insisted. “We have so many different works to acquire: outlines, paintings, stonework, vaulting, organs, stained glass and so on.”
Click here to get the Fox News app
Philip Jost, managing director of the government agency overseeing the reconstruction, said the result would be “faithful to the original architecture” because “we stuck to the lost shape of the cathedral” and because “we also stuck to the materials” and Methods of construction “Medieval.
“We don’t do concrete vaults that look like stone, we do stone vaults that we recreate as they were built in the Middle Ages,” Jost said.
We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.