Notre Dame is “being reborn”, assures Jean-Louis Georgelin, president of the Notre-Dame de Paris public establishment and special representative of the Head of State. “We can see what the cathedral will be like in twenty-four months”, adds Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect of Notre-Dame. The two men who are leading the huge construction site of the monument burned on April 15, 2019 can now let real optimism dawn.
This Wednesday, December 7, they were heard by the deputies of the new working group which takes over from the fact-finding mission created under the previous legislature. For his fourth intervention in the National Assembly, the general showed real relief for the first time. As if the multiple stewardship concerns were behind them. On the financial side, the budget is kept (153 million euros for the securing phase for a provisional envelope which was 165 million) and the use of funds validated by the satisfaction of a recent report from the Court of Auditors.
The very restrictive health procedures required by the presence of lead have become routine. The officials have managed to chart their course through the administrative maquis and the multiple checks specific to heritage.
In 2022, most tenders for restoration works have been launched and all lots have been served. The establishment had an average of nine candidates per batch, three for the most sensitive (the reconstruction of the arrow in particular).
A thousand people involved
A result “very encouraging” according to Jean-Louis Georgelin who has “no worries about the ability to find companies” partners. Three hundred journeymen are currently working on this site, and the workforce will rise to 500 next year. In total, he estimates that a thousand people are involved, in Paris and throughout France, for example in the 45 sawmills that cut oak trees for frames.
” We have the feeling of reaping all the work done over the past three years », welcomes the president of the establishment. “We are living a quite an exciting period, rejoices Philippe Villeneuve, who goes to the heart of the hive every day and gave a “whip” this fall to speed up the pace of work. On this point, the general confirmed to the deputies that the cathedral will reopen in two years, in 2024.
Major steps have already been taken. The stone masons have just completed the reconstruction of the collapsed vault of the north transept. During the laying of the last stone, “we cried” confided the former soldier. The major operation now consists of rebuilding the arches and the vault of the transept crossing. All the stones have been cut, “all you have to do is put them back together”, emphasizes Jean-Louis Georgelin. The scaffolding which rises to 26 meters in height will then continue its ascent in the sky to accompany the construction of the arrow which will culminate, like that of Viollet-le-Duc, at 96 meters.
On the ground, on part of the forecourt, a vast sculpture workshop has been installed, an unprecedented device allowing the companions to work as close as possible to the cathedral. This is where the new sculptures will be made to replace those that are too damaged. All the restorations are carried out identically, explains Philippe Villeneuve. Notre-Dame will keep no stigma of the fire. “The masterpiece will not suffer the slightest scar” insists the architect. The same, but much more beautiful and luminous. “The restoration will give the stones back their golden shine and reveal paintings that had disappeared” promises the president of the public establishment.
Source : BBN WORLD NEWS