The official announcement fell on September 18, 2021, on the occasion of European Heritage Days. The work to secure the structure of Notre-Dame has been completed thanks to the efforts of hundreds of technicians, reconstruction can begin.
“The work to secure and consolidate Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, which began on April 16, 2019 [the day after the fire], was successfully completed in accordance with the set schedule,” rejoices General Jean- Louis Georgelin, president of the public establishment responsible for the conservation and restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral.
For twenty-nine months, the building was protected from water thanks to a sliding device installed above the nave, in other words, it is no longer rains on Notre-Dame.
“The first phase which consisted of preserving the cathedral is over. Now, we are going to move on to the reconstruction phase,” specifies Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect of historical monuments at the head of the restoration work of the cathedral.
At the same time, to save the structure of the cathedral, the damaged vaults are being shored up by wooden half-hangers. According to Jean-Louis Georgelin, consolidation and reconstruction have already cost the sum of 165 million euros.
And General Georgelin, known to have sometimes crossed swords with the chief architect of historic monuments, this time agrees with the latter: “the restoration phase has been actively prepared, and is now resolutely committed to launching the first restoration work this winter.”
If, at first, the President of the Republic envisaged a reconstruction in five years, it seems certain – due to the Coronavirus - that the site will not be completed within this period.
A new goal has already been set by the president of the public institution responsible for the conservation and restoration of the building: April 16, 2024, the day when the cathedral should be reopened for worship.
And as proof of his determination, the former chief of staff of President Jacques Chirac announced that a “campaign to thoroughly clean the interior walls and floors of the cathedral begins this month.”