Notre Dame Cathedral is set to reopen to the public in 2024 as the cathedral is now fully secured, two years after the catastrophic fire that destroyed much of the 850-year-old building.
In a statement on Saturday, the public body responsible for its conservation and restoration said the securing of the cathedral was completed on schedule.
The elements of the “security phase” included the packaging and protection of the cathedral’s gargoyles, the reinforcement of the flying buttresses, the fortification of the gables and the removal of burnt scaffolding, according to the collective Les Amis de Notre-Dame de Paris.
“This means that we officially say that the cathedral is now saved, that it is solid on its pillars, that its walls are solid,” General Jean-Louis Georgelin, president of the organization responsible for the restoration, said on Saturday. at BFMTV, a subsidiary of CNN.
“We will be able to move forward resolutely with the phase of restoration and reconstruction of the parts destroyed by the fire, so that it is ready to reopen for services and public visits in 2024,” he added.
The 2024 reopening, which Georgelin said would be a “victory for all of France,” will fulfill President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to the public that reconstruction work would be completed within five years of the April 2019 fire.
Reconstruction should begin in the coming months, according to the body overseeing the work.
The definitive cause of the fire has still not been established despite a thorough investigation, although prosecutors said it could have been started by a cigarette or an electrical fault.
Work to secure the cathedral was temporarily halted during the coronavirus pandemic last year and work was carried out to decontaminate the lead area before work resumed in June 2020.
After the fire, there was a debate over how it should be rebuilt, with former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe suggesting a modern approach and a competition being launched to redesign the spire – although others wanted it to be remains traditional.
However, last year President Macron decided that the entire cathedral would be rebuilt exactly as it was, including the spire – which was originally made of wood and went down in flames in the early hours of the year. ‘fire.
“We will rebuild Notre-Dame, because that’s what the French expect,” Macron said visibly moved to journalists at the site of the fire in 2019. “Because that’s what our history is worthy of. Because it is our deep destiny. “