Notre Dame repair is metaphor for France pulling together

Macron visiting Notre Dame
Photo: Lemouton

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has used the reconstruction of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral as a metaphor for the country pulling together as France reached the symbolic mark of 100,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Macron toured the upper levels of the Notre Dame site in a hard hat and overalls on the second anniversary of the fire that ripped through the roof of the Gothic masterpiece in 2019.

Two years on

Notre Dame exterior
Photo: Alexis Komenda
Two years after the horrific fire engulfed Notre Dame, the long restoration process continues

The world watched on as Notre Dame burned on April 15th, 2019,  a fire that gave great damage to the centuries-old landmark.

Now, two years later, the cathedral is still going through a massive restoration. This jewel of Gothic architecture is being rebuilt with oak trees from local forests, as 200 construction workers operate on-site every day. The goal, according to French president Emmanuel Macron, is to have the cathedral repaired before the city hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics, which is slated to begin on July 26th, 2024, in Paris. But is that a realistic goal, especially now that we have a pandemic?

A futuristic simulation of Notre Dame to power its real-world resurrection

virtual Notre Dame

Livio De Luca,  research director at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, and his allies across French research labs and the Scientists of Notre Dame, have tapped the revolutions in digital mapping, visualization software, virtual reality and cloud computing to create a fantastical “virtual twin” of Notre Dame.

Donning VR goggles, scholars and sculptors, architects and coders can all meet and expand on this interactive simulation, reconstructing the cathedral virtually before each step is repeated in real-world Paris.

15 or 20 years might be needed for Notre Dame’s restoration

Notre Dame fire
Photo: Thibault Camus

The Rector Patrick Chauvet of Notre Dame said Friday the 2nd April 2020 that the burned-out Paris cathedral and its esplanade could remain a building site for another “15 or 20 years. I can guarantee that there’s work to do!”

Works planned include remodelling the cathedral’s esplanade, which before the blaze was visited every year by 20 million tourists.

Notre Dame holds an Easter event

Inside Notre Dame
Photo: Christophe Ena
Notre Dame rector Patrick Chauvet, second right, stands as part of the Maundy Thursday ceremony, while cellist Marina Chiche, left, performs in Notre Dame Cathedral, Thursday, April 1st, 2021.

A holy Thursday service in Paris was held at Notre Dame cathedral, which is still under construction after it was ravaged by flames just days before Easter in 2019, its spire crumbling in a shocking blaze.

The ceremony involved a foot-washing ritual that symbolizes Jesus’ willingness to serve. Six worshippers were chosen for the foot washing, a diverse group including medical staff, the needy and some people who are set to be baptized this Easter.