Notre-Dame Cathedral to Reopen After Fire and Restoration Next Year
The reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral (Notre-Dame de Paris) is planned to be completed by the end of next year, with an opening to the public scheduled for December 8, 2024, as reported by Bloomberg.
According to the reconstruction plan, one of the most crucial phases, the installation of an oak framework for the spire, is set to be finished by the end of the current year. This phase is a pivotal part of the restoration, combining modern and medieval construction methods.
"We are currently confident that we can meet the deadlines, but we are well aware that unexpected challenges may arise. It's a daily struggle," said Philip Jost, the director of the organization Rebâtir Notre-Dame de Paris, overseeing the restoration.
The funding for the cathedral's restoration has been made possible through donations from billionaires, international donors, and corporations. The collected amount totals €846 million, setting a record for French philanthropy. Approximately 340,000 donors from 150 countries have supported the restoration efforts.
However, the restoration process has encountered its share of difficulties. Initially, architects resisted President Emmanuel Macron's idea of creating a modern design for the new spire, leading to his decision to adhere to an accurate reproduction of the 1859 version by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
Delays in the restoration process are also linked to the extensive lead cleanup after the fire, posing health risks to workers. Additionally, archaeological excavations within the cathedral were deemed necessary.
The investigation into the cause of the fire, which caused significant damage to the cathedral, is still ongoing. Reports currently point to safety lapses, with contractors accidentally igniting a spark on the roof, leading to the rapid destruction of the 13th-century wooden beams.
At the outset of the reconstruction, the use of funds lacked transparency, and organizers failed to establish proper budget control. It took over a year before committees were formed to oversee the work and donations. Auditors explained that without proper oversight, public trust could have been compromised. They also described efforts by donors to influence decision-making and hire external experts to reduce costs.
It's worth noting that Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed readiness for her country to participate in the restoration of the Transfiguration of the Saviour Cathedral in Ukraine, which was damaged by a rocket strike by Russian occupying forces on July 23. Meloni emphasized that Russian forces not only destroy grain depots, depriving millions of people of food but also target "our European civilization and its sacred symbols."