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Notre Dame Cathedral to open for the public

The famed Notre Dame Cathedral will reopen to visitors and worshippers in 2024. The announcement came from French Culture Minister Rima Abdul-Malak. The reopening will occur around the opening of the 2024 Olympic games.

The church was extensively damaged in a fire in April 2019. As a result, large parts of the church, including its spire, had to be rebuilt. The church’s restoration has cost a massive €846 million($865 billion).

The Culture Minister remarked that more work will follow the initial opening in 2024. She made these remarks as she was inspecting on-site restoration work. General Jean Louis Georgelin and Chief Architect Philippe Villeneuve accompanied her. President Emmanuel Macron had appointed the army chief to supervise the restoration work.

She said that the rebuilding of the church was a complex process. It also needed extensive participation from everyone involved.

Contamination from lead dust following the fire made the restoration work even tougher. Also, the Covid-19 pandemic halted the reconstruction work. However, the present work is going on schedule. Abdul-Malak is confident that Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt within the deadlines.

Georgelin stated in a talk with Le Figaro that the reconstruction costs totaled €550 million. The remainder of the €865 million will also go towards post-opening trivial repairs.

People have come out with large donations for the church’s repair. Georgelin said, “More than 340,000 donors from 150 countries have donated €846 million. This includes €200 million given by Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH group. Kering CEO Francois Pinault also donated €100 million.

Notre Dame Cathedral’s restoration has gone through various stages. Also, the first work was to consolidate and ensure the structural integrity of the building. Completed in August 2021, it cost €150 million. Restoration of the interior slated to cost around €550 million.

Cleaning the masonry, framework, and spire work will require large sums of money. Also, cleaning the organ will be a complex and costly affair. The elaborate organ has 8000 pipes and 19 windchests. The church can expect to get its spire by the end of 2023. The work schedule for its restoration finalized.