Notre Dame spire will be restored to original design

FILE - In this April 15, 2020 file photo, a crane stands by Notre Dame Cathedral Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Paris. Work began Monday to refit the construction site at fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral to protect workers from the virus and allow cleanup efforts to resume. Work on the cathedral halted in mid-March, when France imposed strict confinement measures across the country as virus cases mushroomed.

The spire of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, which was destroyed in a fire last April, will be restored according to the original Gothic design, the Elysee Palace announced on Friday.

In a statement, the Palace said that French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision, putting an end to speculation that the spire would be rebuilt in a modern style, the BBC reported.

Macron had previously hinted he was in favour of a “contemporary gesture”.

But the Elysee said that the process of designing a modern spire, with an international competition for architects, could have caused unnecessary delays.

“The President trusts the experts and approved the main outlines of the project presented by the chief architect which plans to reconstruct the spire identically,” it added in the statement.

The announcement followed a meeting of France’s national heritage and architecture commission (CNPA).

When the 13th century roof of the Paris cathedral caught fire during restoration works in April 2019, it sparked a vast outpouring of emotion, as well as donations from across the world.

Within two days, about 900 million euros ($1 billion) had been raised for the cathedral’s restoration, reports the BBC.

The cathedral’s first spire was built in the 13th Century, but due to extensive damage it was removed in the late 18th Century.

Its replacement, designed by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was built in the mid-19th Century.

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