One year before reopening, Emmanuel Macron on the construction site

by time news

2023-12-08 08:36:58

A visit full of symbols. Emmanuel Macron is visiting the Notre-Dame de Paris construction site this Friday, one year to the day before the planned reopening of the cathedral ravaged by the 2019 fire. The president will take advantage of his visit to clarify the next deadlines.

The Head of State could notably announce the creation of “contemporary stained glass windows” in the side chapels of the Gothic building rebuilt, on the whole, identically.

Global emotion

On April 15, 2019, a spectacular fire destroyed the cathedral, whose spire, designed by the 19th century architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, collapsed before the eyes of Parisians and tourists. Images of the flames were broadcast live, sparking global emotion.

Emmanuel Macron’s visit will be an opportunity to take stock of the ambitious, and currently met, timetable for reconstruction in five years. The date is not insignificant: on D-365, it begins the countdown to the reopening of Notre-Dame to worship and the public, scheduled for December 8, 2024. Before the disaster, it attracted 12 million visitors on average every year.

This site review is also “symbolic”, underlines the Elysée, because it is the first without “its general”, Jean-Louis Georgelin, to whom was entrusted with the supervision of the work and who died last summer. His name will be “engraved in the wood” of the new arrow which, another symbol, has reappeared in recent days under the scaffolding and has been topped since Wednesday with his cross – while waiting for his rooster, which must soon be blessed according to tradition Catholic.

Notre-Dame Museum

On this occasion, the President of the Republic, accompanied in particular by Philippe Jost, right-hand man and successor of General Georgelin, must climb to the level of the newly straightened spire, of which he had already been able to admire in mid-April the reconstruction of the base, nicknamed ” stool “. He will also go “into the nave and choir of the cathedral which are beginning to be cleared of their scaffolding” and benefit from a new “brightness” after the walls have been cleaned, according to those around him. He is expected to make several emblematic decisions.

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In a letter sent this week, Mgr Laurent Ulrich, Archbishop of Paris, confirmed his “wish” to see the State order “a series of six stained glass windows for the south side chapels of the nave”. The idea is not to “tell the story of the fire”, but to say “this is what our time, and after this ordeal, wants to offer as a contribution to the history of this church and of Paris”, explains -he in this letter that AFP was able to consult.

Emmanuel Macron will be able to “respond” to him, said those around him, while a source close to the matter mentions a probable “favorable response”. According to the Elysée, it must also decide “on the possibility of creating a Notre-Dame museum” near the building. In a preliminary report, several options are expressed concerning several buildings on the Île de la Cité. Finally, the president is expected on the continuation of the main construction site, beyond the reopening date.

Phase 3 of the construction site

“A certain number of works remain useful and desirable”, according to an advisor, who cited in particular “the restoration of the flying buttresses of the nave and the choir”, initially planned before the fire.

This phase 3 of the project (after phase 1 of security and phase 2 of restoration) “should be” completed “at the end of the decade”, in 2029 or 2030, he specified.

Its financing must still be “arbitrated”, adds the Elysée, which recalled that the donations collected, in the great outpouring of solidarity after the disaster, amounted to 840 million euros of which around 700 million will be used for phases 1 and 2.

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