Restoration continues on the 3rd anniversary of the fire

A Catholic cleric carries a wooden cross during celebrations for Good Friday and the third anniversary of Notre Dame fire in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, April 15, 2022. (Photo by Jiro Mochizuki/Anadolu Agency via Getty I

On the third anniversary of the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral, which also falls on the Christian holiday of Good Friday, the race to rebuild the Parisian monument continues – as well as the investigation into the cause. exact flames.

Notre-Dame, a monument that has withstood centuries of wars and revolutions, was ravaged by a violent fire on April 15, 2019, while it was being renovated. The flame tore through the roof of the cathedral, knocking down its spire and threatening to bring down the rest of the medieval monument as well, as the rest of the world watched in horror.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday visited Notre Dame Cathedral to mark the anniversary, wear a hard hat and take a tour to see recent developments on the site.

Authorities hope Notre Dame will be open to visitors and religious services in 2024, the year Paris hosts the Olympics. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and safety regulations around molten or scattered lead in the fire, workers faced harsh conditions and interruptions.

In September 2021, the cathedral was finally deemed stable and secure enough to begin reconstruction, and work on the spire began in December.

Carpenters, scaffolding experts, professional climbers, organ mechanics and others took part in the effort, which included special temporary structures to secure the towers, vaults and iconic walls of the huge structure. without a roof, and a special “umbrella” to protect it from the weather.

“It’s not easy,” said Bishop Patrick Chauvet, who is rector of Notre-Dame, on December 24 about the work. But Chauvet added that the cathedral would recover.

“The spire will be the same, the roof will be the same,” he said.

In February, officials said the “security phase” was over and preliminary operations were already underway, including cleaning the interior of the cathedral.

The Public Establishment, the public body responsible for managing the restoration, then announced that it would be looking “in the coming months” for companies expert in the restoration of historic monuments to help it.

“Outside the walls of Notre-Dame Cathedral, the restoration of the Grand Organ and the works of art of the cathedral continues,” said in a press release the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, a non-profit association which supports restoration.

Regarding ongoing work on the cathedral’s new spire and transept roof, officials said 1,000 oak trees had been selected and then turned into timber.

“Little by little, each oak tree is stripped of its bark and cut into 36 cm sections for planking”, specify the Friends of Notre Dame Paris in an update.

Officials were aiming for the timbers to be transported to the carpenters’ workshops by the middle of this year, to be assembled on a trial basis before final assembly on site in 2023.

Construction of Notre-Dame – French for “Notre-Dame” – began in the 12th century and continued for almost 200 years.

It suffered damage and fell into disrepair during the French Revolution, but received renewed attention after the publication in 1831 of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. This led to two decades of restorations, including the cathedral’s famous flying buttresses and a reconstructed spire.

While most kings were crowned elsewhere, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned there in 1804, and married there in 1810.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.

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