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Two years after blaze, Notre-Dame awaits resurrection as deadline looms

·2-min read

On April 15, 2019, a devastating fire swept through Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral, tearing down the spire and destroying the roof of the landmark structure. Two years later, the cathedral remains a giant building site and is still awaiting its resurrection.

The gaping hole in the roof is still exposed to the elements and a giant rain cover is due to be installed soon to protect the fragile stonework.

Inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the extent of the damage becomes clear. The damaged floor of the Gothic structure still bears the imprint of the spire that fell through the roof and hit the floor on that fateful night in April 2019.

While some of Notre-Dame’s masterpieces, such as its famous 13th century rose windows, were spared by the flames, the vaults of the cathedral are still at risk of collapse.

“We’re providing relief for the cathedral, giving it crutches, support … because there are many weaknesses,” explained Damien Brisson, technical director of Le Bras Frères, a restoration company.

The consolidation of the cathedral’s structure has so far cost 165 million euros.

Days after the blaze, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild the cathedral within five years.

But with a deadline looming, the restoration stage has yet to begin.

“It is an extremely ambitious schedule. But we are still on course to reopen the cathedral to worshippers in 2024. It won’t be completely finished, of course. There will still be work to do on the outside, notably the outside wall, and other work to finish … and above all we have to finish the consolidation of the building, which will only be done this summer,” said General Jean-Louis Georgelin, director of the Notre Dame restoration mission.

Around 200 artisans, technicians and researchers are racing to return Notre Dame to her former glory, a monumental effort backed by 833 million euros in donations from across the world.