A Behind-The-Scenes Look Inside Notre Dame Cathedral’s Reconstruction Two Years After Fire

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Currents News Staff

Two years after a devastating fire blazed through the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, specialists are still working hard on its restoration.

It’s not unusual for cathedrals of this size to take decades or even centuries to build.

Its vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and elaborate columns – so much of what makes Notre Dame one of the world’s most exquisite gothic wonders stands tall, almost miraculously.

When construction on the French church started in 1163, it wasn’t completed until 1345. 

The construction of the cathedral may have taken 182 years from when it began in 1163, but it took the fire in 2019 just a matter of hours to compromise its stability. The work of the last two years has been all about ensuring that the cathedral stayed upright.

“We had to be sure that the structure is solid by taking a lot of measures consolidate,” said Notre Dame reconstruction chief Jean-Louis Georgelin. “We don’t want to make reconstruction without being reassured.”

The iconic North Tower, at one point, had been threatened by the flames on the night of the fire. In the end, they were put out before it could collapse. But it was there where the most devastating part of the fire took place. It was there that the famous Notre Dame spire once stood.

As the world watched, the spire – which had been under renovation – collapsed and broke through the vaulted ceiling which then crashed into the nave.

The scaffolding that had surrounded it – 40,000 tubes of metal – twisted into the structure. It had to be carefully picked through and removed.

“This is the place where the spire collapsed, you know, this is center of the drama,” Jean-Louis said.

Now that the scaffolding for the renovations is ready, Jean-Louis says the work of rebuilding Notre dame’s vaulted ceiling and its spire will begin before the end of the year.

Outside too, the cathedral’s iconic gothic facade stands as a testament to a construction that has proven as sturdy as it is delicate.