France Reveals Plans to Restore Notre-Dame Cathedral As It Was

  • July 13, 2020 15:30

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Notre-Dame aflame in April 2019.

The Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt as it was before fire consumed part of the Paris landmark last year, a commission announced on Thursday.

While contemporary designs were at first considered to replace the destroyed spire, the 19th-century design by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc will be recreated, along with other lost architectural elements from the over 850-year-old cathedral.

The April 15, 2019 blaze destroyed the spire and roof, and sent heartache around the world with images of a dark plume of smoke and flames on top of the beloved Paris icon.

The smoky destruction, according to a new study published in the journal GeoHealth, put an estimated near-one ton of lead dust within one kilometer (0.6 miles) of the site of the cathedral fire with even more lead swept downwind. 

President Emmanuel Macron initially was for a contemporary replacement for the spire and topper, and an international competition was mounted, before he changed his mind. A number of experts who weighed in on the debate pushed to restore the original design.

"The President of the Republic has become convinced of the need to restore Notre Dame de Paris in the most consistent manner possible to its last complete, coherent and known state," the Elysée Palace said.

Church officials have said they hope the restored Notre-Dame will open for mass by 2024, when the Olympic Games are set to be hosted in Paris.

Tags: architecture

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