The many stained-glass windows of the Notre-Dame in Paris have been restored ahead of the cathedral’s scheduled reopening in two years’ time.
The medieval Catholic cathedral at the heart of the French capital – one of the most popular tourist and religious sites in Europe – was ravaged by a fire on 15 April 2019.
The roof of the structure was ablaze for 15 hours, causing extensive damage, including to the flèche, the timber spire above the centre of the church.
According to French authorities, the main cause of the fire was either an electrical fault or a burning cigarette.
Although none of the stained-glass windows were destroyed or damaged by the fire, many of them, already dusty, were exposed to smoke and soiled as a result.
As part of the restoration, the windows in the 39 high bays of the nave, choir, and transept, as well as the windows in the sacristy, were removed and transported to various workshops around France, where they were cleaned and then reinstalled. The windows in the chapels and tribunes were cleaned on site.
The workshop of Cologne Cathedral in Germany has assisted with the renovation by contributing its team of master glassmakers and painters to restore windows from high bays of the nave.
‘I would like to extend my warmest thanks to our German friends… who are contributing to this major project,’ said General Jean-Louis Georgelin, president of the public establishment in charge of the conservation of Notre-Dame.
‘I would also like to warmly thank the seventy master glassworkers and locksmiths who are working in Aube, in Côté d’Or, Eure-et-Loir, Rhône, Sarthe, Val-de-Marne, and Yvelines to let a bright light shine through the cathedral once again,’ the general added.
The cleaning of the windows is one of the first operations in the restoration of the cathedral interior. The historic building is due to reopen in 2024, to coincide with the summer olympics in Paris.
Despite the severity of the 2019 fire, many important monuments within the cathedral survived. The Grand Organ, the largest of its kind in the country with over 8,000 pipes, was also saved albeit with damage.