The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, a symbol of French religious heritage, is nearing a significant milestone in its restoration. After the devastating fire of April 15, 2019, the cathedral is set to reopen its doors to the public on December 8, 2024, marking a new chapter in its over 850-year history.
As the one-year countdown begins, President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to visit the site, showcasing the remarkable progress made by artisans using medieval techniques. Henri Chalet, the principal choir conductor, expressed his eagerness for the return, saying, “We are obviously impatient to be able to go back. It really is our home.”
The cathedral’s revival is not just a restoration of its structure but also a rejuvenation of its spirit. “The expectations, the preparations for the reopening are a magnificent sign of hope in a difficult world,” said Rev. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, the cathedral’s rector.
The reconstruction includes the meticulous rebuilding of the 96-meter-high spire, adhering to the original design by 19th-century architect Viollet-Le-Duc. The new spire’s silhouette has already begun to grace the Paris skyline, a testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of the workers.
Inside, efforts continue, including the restoration of the grand organ, France’s largest musical instrument. The organ, which survived the fire, is being cleaned and reassembled, piece by piece.
The cathedral’s workforce is also gearing up, preparing to welcome back the 15 million annual visitors. They plan to increase the number of full-time employees to nearly 50.
As the world watches, Notre Dame stands as a symbol of resilience and hope. The restoration, fueled by an outpouring of global support, not only brings back a historic monument but also revives a national treasure.
As the Rev. Dumas aptly puts it, the preparations for reopening are “a magnificent sign of hope in a difficult world.”
Our Lady of Paris, pray for us!
Photo credit: Loic Salan / Shutterstock.com | Quotes: AP, France24, Aleteia, Brussel Times