Has Notre Dame Recovered from the Flames?

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, June 2023. Max Hartshorne photo
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, June 2023. Max Hartshorne photo

Will Notre Dame Weather the Storm of a Dramatically Changing Paris?

By Veronica Moore

The fourth anniversary of Notre Dame’s burning has just passed in the second week of April. The Notre Dame burned through the night on April 15th, 2019, and left many speechless as to the outcome.

Philippe Villeneuve, Chief Architect of Notre Dame.
Philippe Villeneuve, Chief Architect of Notre Dame.

Many a philanthropist and donor came together to gather funds rapidly for the rebuilding of this iconic monument and the process began what seemed like almost instantaneously. Billions of euros were easily raised for the reconstruction.

The description of damages includes a destroyed roof, spire, and destruction to windows and vaulted ceilings. This is where much of the repair and restructuring is focused. Although no one died in the fire, the overwhelming response to the fire is making rebuilding possible.

Notre Dame’s Reconstruction

The architect of this project, Phillippe Villeneuve was appointed in 2013 as Chief Architect to the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral as well as to the reconstruction of the City Hall. He has been previously awarded Knight of Arts and Letters.

Villeneuve is highly regarded in his field and is responsible for many departments and buildings in  Charente, and Charente-Maritime and Loir et Cher.

According to Science Magazine, working with Villeneuve is a team of eight scientists who started evaluations as soon as ten days after the fire. The fire alarm in the building went off at 6:18 pm and by 9:45 pm the Notre Dame was engulfed in flames.

Notre Dame’s reconstruction took a pause for three months during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the restoration to pick back up again  June 8, 2020.

When rebuilding Notre Dame, the reconstruction crew focused on restoring the choir organ, roof, vault, and nave. Most recently in July 2022, the crew has completed excavating two sarcophaguses by removing the podium at the transept crossing. You can learn more about the changes made to Notre Dame since the fire here.
Notre Dame Cathedral where Count John the Blind is buried. © SIP LFT

The Forest

Ironically the large wooden roof had been named “the forest,” and burned as such. Although there was so much structural damage, some of the major artifacts were safe or are able to be restored. Science Magazine said, “Rattan chairs sat in tidy rows, priceless paintings hung undamaged, and, above the altar, a great gold-plated cross loomed over the Pietà, a statue of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus”.

notre dame
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burning April 15, 2019.

An electrical short was likely the cause of the fire. Science Magazine said that these saved items brought relief to the scientists who were brought in by the French President, Emmanuel Macron.

Done by Summer 2024

After a long six months and almost $1 billion dollars, the President announced that there was a plan to have the restoration done by the Summer of 2024 to accommodate the fact that France will be the host of the Summer Olympics 2024.

Paris has a smaller chapel to strike your fancy while Notre Dame is being renovated.

Read here to learn about how to get to Paris and other places in Europe on Gonomad.

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