The Basilica of Saint-Denis received a beautiful New Year’s gift. The seven departments of Ile-de-France (Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, and Val-d'Oise) announced on Wednesday, December 23, exceptional funding for the reconstruction of the spire which should go on for a decade.
The spire was rebuilt in 1837, after being struck by lightning. But it had to be dismantled ten years later as the tower supporting it had been weakened by strong winds: the whole spire was in danger of collapsing. In addition, Viollet-le-Duc, who would undertake this deposition in 1847, had violently criticized the restoration that had been done.
Since that date, the north tower of the facade remained without the crown of its spire. It was not until 1987 that Mr. Marcelin Berthelot, mayor of Saint-Denis relaunched the project to rebuild the spire. However, while the project was accepted in 1992, the state did not grant any financial aid, considering the restoration of the basilica a priority.
However, in 2013, the chief architect of historical monuments, Mr. Jacques Moulin, decided to push the project forward and the work could begin in 2017, at a cost estimated at €28 million two years ago, financed by sponsorship and paid visits.
The Saint-Denis Spire
However, the presidents of the departments of the Ile-de-France have released €20 million for this project, which represents half of the updated estimated budget. This money comes from an interdepartmental fund.
These 20 million euros were initially to be given for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris. But given the success of the national subscription for the restoration of the Parisian cathedral, they were redirected towards the spire of Saint-Denis. This unexpected windfall thus ensures the financing of the site.