The rebirth of Notre Dame… it’s all on track!

The rebirth of Notre Dame… it’s all on track!

Notre Dame is progressing through the restoration from the 2019 fire, restoring the gothic cathedral to its original glory.

Loulabelle's FrancoFiles episode 109 - click here to listen

Guest: Claudine Hemingway

Other Loulabelles links:

Loulabelles FrancoFiles Instagram

FrancoFile Fix on YouTube

Loulabelles FrancoFiles Spotify Playlist

Loulabelles FrancoFiles Facebook

Claudine Hemingway has chatted with me on the podcast before. She and I have stayed connected and she has become a lovely friend who keeps my Frenchy vibes going with her wonderful posts about the current goings-on as well as the history of Paris and France.

Recently the beautiful cathedral of Notre Dame celebrated an anniversary no one would have wished for or expected a number of years back. On 15 April 2023 it was 4 years from the devastating fire that tore through the roof of Notre Dame and started years of renewal and restoration.

In this podcast chat with Claudine, she spoke with me about the processes of the restoration as well as ways to still connect with Notre Dame until the repair is intended to be finished next year in December 2024.

Pre-fire my husband Paul and I climbed to the top of Notre Dame and took in the view of Paris surrounding the spire at the top of the cathedral. When we descended we went into the church and mass was just starting. We stayed for mass blending into the familiar ritual of sitting, standing and kneeling at the same times as we have in every other mass around the world. The prayers have the same pattern and lilt even though in another language. I felt so connected to my surroundings in Notre Dame during that visit, which I’m sure hundreds of thousands of other Catholics have over time as well. It is a church not just for Paris, but a church of the world in some ways. I’m so glad I did that climb now and stayed for mass. Seeing the fire take hold there solidified for me the view that we should never take anything for granted. We never know what tomorrow may hold…

The below text is from 2 posts by Claudine Hemingway on her Instagram on April 16 & 17, 2023, just after the recent anniversary.

Today as I stand in front of the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris and think of this day four years ago it is hard to ignore the future and the people that are continuing to shape it.

We don’t know who the first architect of the 12th century was under Bishop de Sully who paid out of pocket for the building of a monumental church, one that would be the largest in the Western world for centuries. In the 19th century, it was Viollet-le-Duc who would add his touches including gargoyles, new statues of the kings of Judah complete with one in his likeness, the 16 statues on the roof, and of course the spire.

Prior to the fire on April 15, 2019, Notre Dame ushered in its 36th architect, Philippe Villeneuve. The Chief Architect of the Historic Monuments of France was brought on to restore Viollet-le-Duc’s spire but had no idea just how important that job would become.

Since then many setbacks including a pandemic, but for the man that said “I have one obsession, to save the cathedral”, I have no doubt he will do that. In fact, they are on track and even a little ahead of schedule. In the days after the fire Villeneuve’s picture spread across the world holding the rooster dug from the timbers. “When I return the rooster to the new spire, my job will be done.”

Someday generations later will read his name as I read about Viollet-le-Duc and hopefully, he will inspire budding architects. There are many others on his team that are adding their names to the history books. Stained glass restorers, stone cutters and sculptors, painters returning chapels to their former glory, carpenters, lumberjacks, and many more.

While we always think of history as being in the past we are also living it each and every day and some of those moments are just a bit more momentous than others.

When the fire raged 4 years ago, President Macron vowed to have it reopened in just 5 years. While it gave hope to many it was also met with a ton of naysayers that said it couldn’t be done. Well today the spire is being rebuilt and we are projected to be back inside on December 8, 2024.  One thousand people work on site everyday with one goal in mind. When they are finished a cleaned and shiny version of Notre Dame will return for another 860 years.

After the fire it was declared that the cathedral had to be rebuilt in the same fashion and specifics and must return to how it looked before. Between the roof and spire more than 2000 noble oak trees are needed. In the days following 273 donations poured in for the trees alone with stories of the families that have had private forests going back to the 12th century donating their trees.

Until the end of the year we will begin to see the spire grow from the roof once more, an operation that officially began on Saturday, April 15, 2023 4 years to the day that it fell.

Once completed Philippe Villeneuve will add a new rooster with the relics of Sainte Genevieve, Saint Denis and a piece of the crown of thorns once more.

Claudine’s links

Claudine’s Instagram @claudinebleublonderouge

Claudine’s further links

Notre Dame links

Notre Dame de Paris exhibition, from builders to restorers

Official site of Note Dame

Restoring Notre Dame

Friends of Notre Dame de Paris

Spread the love