In the early evening of 15 April 2019, the world watched in shock as flames tore through the medieval cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, sending its 315-foot-high timber spire crumbling to the ground and exacting extensive damage to its upper walls and wooden ceiling.
Three and a half years on, the cathedral has been secured, and the process of rebuilding and restoring it to its former glory is well underway.
Rebâtir Notre-Dame de Paris, the public body established in 2019 to supervise the restoration of the historic cathedral, has announced the completion of the reconstruction of the collapsed stone vault in the north transept.
Ahead of the next phase of restoration – reconstructing the vaulted ceiling at the cathedral’s transept crossing, where the flèche (spire) had been located – workers have assembled 26m-high and 600-ton scaffolding, which will continue to climb as the new spire rises.
Removing the dust and dirt from the 42,000m2 of the cathedral’s interior walls – which includes the main nave, side aisles, and ambulatory – is well underway. This work has so far been completed or is nearing completion in the south transept, and in the chapels of Saint Germain, Saint Madeleine, Saint Marcel, and Saint John the Evangelist.
Restoration of the cathedral’s many magnificent and priceless murals, stained glass windows, and ironwork is also well-advanced, and in the workshop installed on the cathedral’s forecourt, artists have been crafting recreations of those sculptures too altered or damaged by the fire.
‘We are moving firmly towards the reopening of the cathedral in 2024,’ stated Army General Jean-Louis Georgelin, Special Representative of the President of the Republic, and President of Rebâtir Notre-Dame de Paris.