Notre-Dame: the cathedral spire will be restored according to the 19th century design

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Getty Images

Legend
The cathedral caught fire in April 2019


The spire of Notre-Dame cathedral, which was destroyed in a fire last April, will be restored according to the original Gothic design.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision, ending speculation that the spire would be rebuilt in a modern style.

Mr. Macron had previously suggested that he was in favor of a “contemporary gesture”.

However, he said he wanted the restoration to be completed by 2024, when Paris will host the Olympics.

The Elysee Palace said that Macron’s main concern was “not to delay reconstruction and to complicate it – things should be cleared up quickly”.

  • Rescue waiting for the fragile Notre-Dame de Paris
  • Start of work to eliminate molten Notre-Dame scaffolding

He added that the process of designing a modern spire, with international assistance from architects, could have resulted in unnecessary delays.

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Media captionInside Notre-Dame, it now misses its roof and its medieval spire

“The president trusts the experts and approved the main lines of the project presented by the chief architect who plans to reconstruct the spire identically,” said the Elysée.

This announcement follows a meeting of the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture (CNPA).

When the 13th-century Paris cathedral roof caught fire during restoration work in April 2019, it sparked a wave of emotions, as well as donations from around the world.

In two days, around 900 million euros ($ 1 billion; £ 805 million) had been collected for the restoration of the cathedral.

The first spire of the cathedral was built in the 13th century, but due to extensive damage, it was removed in the late 18th century. Its replacement, designed by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was built in the middle of the 19th century.

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Architects Ulf Mejergren

Legend

Architectural firm developed plans for cathedral rooftop pool


Since last year’s fire, the discussion on how to restore the boom has been tense.

Jean-Louis Georgelin, the general in charge of the reconstruction effort, wanted a modern alternative. This idea briefly seemed to have the support of President Macron, when he said he would be in favor of a “contemporary gesture”.

This sparked a wave of unconventional proposals from architects around the world – including one design with a rooftop pool and another with a giant park and a rooftop greenhouse.

But the chief architect of the cathedral, Philippe Villeneuve, strongly advocated a faithful restoration of the previous design of the 19th century.

In a particularly stormy exchange last November, General Georgelin told Mr. Villeneuve to “close your mouth” – causing gasps that were audible during a meeting of the Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly.

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