The Restoration Journey on the Notre-Dame So Far

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A crane raises the new rooster to install it at the top of the spire of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, which was ravaged by a fire in 2019 that sent its spire crumbling down, as restoration works continue in Paris, France, December 16, 2023. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Work on the Notre-Dame Cathedral is progressing steadily and we just can’t wait to see the final look in 2024. The cathedral which suffered blazing fires on April 15, 2019, is on its way to recovery. Starting with the replacement of the cross atop the spire, the Cathedrals’s spire yet again saw a new golden rooster last week.

The new golden rooster on the Notre-Dame Cathedral was designed by architect Philippe Villeneuve. It comprises antiques saved from the fire that struck the monument on April 15, 2019 and a document with the names of those working on its reconstruction.

Phillipe explains that the rooster being lifted to the spire again symbolises the “fire of resurrection”.

“(It) shows that the flame is carried to the highest point of the cathedral… the fire is carried up there, but it’s a fire of resurrection,” he said.

The restoration journey on the Notre-Dame has seen close to 500 hundred workers work relentlessly to ensure the glorious building regains its place in the world as well meets its December 8, 2024 reopening date.

Despite the works so far on the Cathedral, there seems to be more to be done, including the making of glasses for the windows. The place already boasts tourists and visitors who can’t wait to behold the finished work in 2024.

In a conversation with CNN, Stephan Book, a tourist visiting Pais with his 80-year-old father and daughter said “It’s fascinating to see how something of such historical value is being restored. … And the ambition to do it all in five years,” he added, “It’s like when Kennedy said (humans) were going to the moon.”

“The first time I came to Paris was 60 years ago, then 40 years ago,” said Stephan’s father, Göran Book, who remembers entering Notre Dame on every one of his previous visits to Paris.

“Now I’m 80. … If I’m still alive next year, I’ll have to come back to see the reopening,” he added.

Among the biggest fans of the Notre-Dame Cathedral is Emmanuel Macron, the president of France. During his visit to the construction site on December 8, 2023, he was optimistic about the majority of the building being rid of scaffolding and expressed his satisfaction with the work made so far.

“Since April 2019, the entire nation has been rebuilding,” Macron told reporters. “And it’s very moving to be here a year before. You can see the extraordinary progress of the work on this nave, the choir and the frames and the spire.”

On December 13, 2023, the public body responsible for the conservation and restoration of the cathedral, Philippe Jost of Rebuilding Notre Dame de Paris told the French parliament that they expect to un-scaffold the building to show visitors during the Olympics in July how close they are to finishing the task of restoring the cathedral.

“By the time the Olympic Games come around (in July), we expect to have un-scaffolded the upper part of the spire and completed most of the roofing, so that Parisians and visitors from all over the world can see just how close the cathedral is to reopening,”  they said.

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