The fire is out. Roughly 80 percent of the priceless artwork and religious relics have been saved. The extensive structural damage has been assessed. Now the restoration of one of the world’s great landmarks will begin. However, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been pledged by various billionaires and corporations, restoring Notre Dame will be a monumental task.
French President Emmanuel Macron (above) has vowed to rebuild the iconic 13th century cathedral within five years. I applaud his commitment and ambition. I’m moved by the support that has been offered. I hope that this goal is achieved.
Having visited Notre Dame as a teenager, I can still remember being taken aback by the sheer size of the 850-year-old cathedral. Once inside, one can’t help but feel humbled beneath the high arched ceiling. And the fact that Notre Dame has endured for as long as it has, surviving the French Revolution and two World Wars, is reason enough to want to see its spire rise again from the ashes.
There will be no Easter mass inside Notre Dame this Sunday. It will be a long time before worshipers can reenter that sacred space. But Parisians are determined to see their beloved basilica brought back to her former glory.
This before-and-after video gives some idea of the challenges architects and builders will face in the coming years: