Update on efforts to restore Notre Dame

A bell of Notre Dame
A bell of Notre Dame, when they were in the place before the fire

Science News reports that archaeologists are among the more than 200 researchers in the Association of Scientists in Service of the Restoration of Notre Dame of Paris, France’s National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS), and the French Ministry of Culture who will examine the twelfth-century cathedral damaged by fire.


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Scientists get a glimpse of the origins of Notre Dame

Protection for missing roof
Photo: Brian Katz

There’s little documentation of the building process of Notre Dame, which began in 1163 and continued for about 200 years. Olivier de Châlus has devoted himself to teasing out the unwritten rules of construction — how builders decided the size of columns or the height of flying buttresses, for example. He notes that builders lifted 100-kilogram stones more than 60 meters off the ground without the benefits of modern technology. Exactly how this was accomplished has been lost to time, he says.


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The roof of Notre Dame would benefit from being reconstructed with the same wood used centuries ago

Temporary roof cover
Temporary roof cover on Notre Dame

Eric Wirth, vice president of the Guild of French Architects, declared that it would be a grave mistake to rebuild the roof in anything but same wood used in its original construction.  He noted its natural fire resistance. “Notre Dame has been there for 800 years. If the structure had been made of steel, there would be no cathedral to speak of today,” he said. In a fire, “iron holds for half an hour, an hour, and then writhes, pulls on the walls and collapses everything.”


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Will Notre Dame’s vaulted ceiling be saved?

Vaulted ceiling of Notre Dame
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

The simple answer is that we don’t know yet.

The news comes two months after the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Michel Aupetit, announced that a final evaluation of the damage would be concluded in Spring 2020. “We will have to encircle the scaffolding, then put a second scaffolding over it,” he said. “From this new scaffolding, workers will descend by rope and cut it bit by bit into small pieces and this will take a long time.”


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Fragile cathedral might not be saved says rector

altar after the fire
Photo: Ludovic Marin
Taken shortly after the fire this picture shows shows the altar surrounded by charred debris

The rector of Notre Dame Cathedral, Patrick Chauvet, says the Paris landmark is still so fragile that there’s a “50% chance” the structure might not be saved, because scaffolding installed before this year’s fire is threatening the vaults of the Gothic monument.


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A very merry Christmas from everyone running this site

Notre Dame Christmas

Well they may not be having a traditional Christmas at Notre Dame this year but that doesn’t mean anyone should miss out on having a great time.

A very merry Christmas to everyone and may 2020 be a good year.

And there may be another podcast soon…

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What will 2020 be for Notre Dame?

Photo: UMA/u-m-a.se
The swimming pool design was never actually submitted

The flames had barely been extinguished on the night of April 15th, 2019 when donations from around the world began pouring in to help with the rebuilding of Notre-Dame cathedral. But eight months on and the building remains swathed in scaffolding and officials have confirmed that there will be no Christmas Mass held there this year, for the first time in more than 200 years.

So what now?


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