Take a Peek Inside the Restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral
A video report by CBS News reveals the restoration work that’s being performed on the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, since a fire devastated the structure back in April 2018.
Formally known as the Notre-Dame de Paris, construction of the Catholic cathedral originally began in 1163 and was largely completed in 1260, although modification of the cathedral has continued throughout the ages.
According to CBS, the restoration work is slated for completion by the end of 2024. Some of that work has focused on replacing the cathedral’s 300-foot spire, which was originally built more than 150 years ago.
“It’s a very emotional time,” General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the individual who was in charge of the project at the time of the video, told CBS, “because the construction of the spire is the key time phrase of the reconstruction of the cathedral since the fire.”
Despite being engulfed in flames, most of the cathedral miraculously survived, but the 19th-century spire was destroyed. To rebuild it, artisans are chiseling centuries-old oak, using both ancient tools and modern technology to achieve their goal.
“The tools are just replacing the hands,” Axel Ponsinet, project architect, told CBS, “but the knowledge is still the same, and it’s still a traditional way of building.”
According to the Friends of Notre-Dame De Paris, almost 1,000 workers are involved in the restoration efforts, which includes work on the structure’s stained-glass windows and wrought iron railings, as well as its Grand Organ.
Unfortunately, Georgelin would not live to see the completion of his undertaking. According to the Associated Press, he passed away in August, only weeks after being interviewed by CBS, at the age of 74 in a hiking accident. France’s President Emmanuel Macron honored him as one of France’s “greatest soldiers, greatest servants,” who “stone by stone, was restoring the wounded beauty” of Notre Dame. Before coming out of retirement to lead the project, Georgelin had served as chief of France’s military general staff, overseeing operations including those in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
“Gen. Georgelin will never see the reopening of Notre Dame with his own eyes,” Macron said, but added that when the restoration is completed and the cathedral is again open to the public, “he will be present with us.”
The reopening of Notre Dame, AP reports, is scheduled for December 8, 2024.