On July 7, 2022 in the village of Vendlincourt in the Canton of Jura, Switzerland, oak beams intended for the framework of the new spire of Notre-Dame de Paris were blessed at the Corbat sawmill by Canon Jean-Marie Nusbaume.
After being sawn and prepared by the company – which is the only Swiss company participating in the reconstruction of the cathedral destroyed by the fire in 2019 – the beams hit the road to France on July 8, reported Radio Television Switzerland (RTS).
Among some forty other sawmills, Corbat SA offered its services free of charge. The company thus contributed to the sawing of around thirty oak trees needed for the nave, the spire, and the choir of the cathedral.
“A first batch of 1,000 oaks - intended for the frame of the spire and the transept - was selected and re-dried to obtain a humidity level of less than 30%,” details Arnaud Lemaire, director of the restoration project.
“Then, a second collection of oaks will make it possible to restore the frames of the nave and the choir, which dated from the 13th century, and which were implemented with green wood. No less than 2,000 oak trees – donated by forest owners from all over France – were felled to build Notre-Dame de Paris.
Length, straightness and diameter, the trees have been carefully selected to allow a faithful reconstruction of the historic elements of the building.
A hundred people came to witness the blessing. “This idea comes from Canon Jean-Marie Nusbaume. I found it excellent. This completes the particularity of this project,” explains Gauthier Corbat, co-director of the sawmill of the same name.
As for the question of whether divine protection could protect Notre-Dame de Paris from a new fire, the canon answers bluntly: “No, simply these beams will participate in something which is of the order of faith. This spire is there to remind us that all humanity is called to rise towards God.”