Preparatory work began this week to restore the sharp spire atop the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris as the destroyed monument continues on track for a late-2024 reopening.
Scaffolding has been set up, and custom-cut stones for the spire’s base were recently delivered by barge along the River Seine as they would have been during the last spire’s construction in the 19th century.
It’s been almost 4 years since the iconic building was devastated by a fire, and the reconstruction has been going according to schedule. Early hopes were that it would be ready to welcome visitors for the Summer Olympics in Paris next year, but a December completion seems more likely.
At the moment, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is the target.
The original spire was designed by architect Eugene Viollet-Le-Duc, and the replacement has been made as an exact replica out of 500 tons of oak, with another 250 tons of lead for the covering and ornaments.
The collapse of the spire was described as one of the most dramatic moments of the fire.
Once completed, the spire will be 100 meters tall. France24 recently released the second mini-doc looking at how the restoration work is going—available here in English.
The French government has repeatedly assured the people of Europe that extreme precautions are being taken to prevent lead poisoning in the environment or the workers.
An update on the reconstruction GNN published last year, detailed how the original cathedral had a huge amount of lead used on the roof, which the fire melted down into the depths of the building. After it cooled, chipping the toxic metal off the surviving stone and wood became the majority of the cleanup work.
In the meantime, restoration work uncovered multiple stone tombs and a lead sarcophagus among the lowest foundations of the cathedral in a remarkable discovery. The sarcophagus contained the remains of a religious leader from the 13th century.
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