Four years after the fire that devastated it, Notre-Dame de Paris will be able to find its spire, collapsed with part of its framework, which should soar again in the sky of Paris at the end of the year.
Identical to the previous one, designed by the 96th century architect Viollet-Le-Duc and culminating at 220 meters in height with its copper statues, it must be rebuilt with the original materials, oak wood for the structure ( 140 tons) and lead for the cover and ornaments (XNUMX tons).
"The installation of the arrow stool", an 80-ton base made up of a skilful assembly of oak parts, made in Lorraine, "will be completed on Saturday", four years to the day after the fire, according to the establishment public in charge of the restoration project.
The reopening to the public of the masterpiece of Gothic art is still planned "in December 2024", after the Summer Olympics in Paris, he confirms.
The stool will rest 30 m above the ground on the four pillars of the transept crossing, in the heart of the cathedral. The diagonal cut stone arches of this crossing have already been rebuilt.
A scaffolding with a floor installed at 26 meters high will gradually climb to culminate at 100 meters in the final phase of the reconstruction of the spire.
On April 15, 2019, the images of Notre-Dame on fire and its collapsing spire with its framework and part of its vaults moved the whole world, triggering an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity (846 million euros in donations from 340.000 donors).
In the cathedral under construction, as in the art workshops of the companions, "restoration work is in full swing", after two years devoted in particular to securing the building.
Inside, the simultaneous cleaning of the walls, painted decorations and vaults, covering an area of 42.000 m2, is well "advanced", according to the public establishment.
The refitting of the great organ, cleaned and restored by three workshops in Corrèze, Hérault and Vaucluse, has started. Its 8.000 pipes will be reassembled one by one. It was not damaged by the flames, nor by the water used by the firefighters, but was covered with lead dust.
The stained glass windows of the 39 high bays of the nave, the choir and the transept, as well as the stained glass windows of the sacristy, have also been cleaned and restored.
Since November and until the end of the year, stone masons-cutters are gradually rebuilding the collapsed walls and vaults. The repair of the medieval frameworks is also in progress.
Five artist-designers must present to the diocese a "coherent" project for liturgical furniture, which must be rejuvenated. The winner will be known this summer.
The Archbishop of Paris, Mgr Laurent Ulrich, wishes "an educational and spiritual journey" which is "not the equivalent of a museum".
Heritage experts have given the go-ahead to a clean central axis and the presence of contemporary art. They were opposed to benches with candle lights, also discarded by Bishop Ulrich in favor of chairs.
The surroundings of Notre-Dame, whose redevelopment is up to the City of Paris, should gain in purity and greening, with a group of specialists selected in June, including the Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets.
A judicial investigation is, moreover, still in progress to try to determine the causes of the fire, while a judge is also investigating the lead pollution.
Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak announced on Tuesday the acceleration of a plan to secure French cathedrals, with an investment of 220 million euros by the end of 2023 to restore and secure 87 of them. .
The Editorial Board (with AFP)