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French Officials Stick to Tradition in Notre Dame Rebuild

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Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt exactly the way it stood before last year’s devastating fire.

No swimming pool or organic garden on the roof of the medieval Paris church, or contemporary glass spire, or other modern twists.

That’s the verdict reached by French President Emmanuel Macron, the cathedral’s present-day architects and the general in charge of the colossal reconstruction project for one of the world’s most treasured landmarks.

Macron, who wants Notre Dame reopened in time for the 2024 Olympics, had initially pushed for a contemporary touch atop the cathedral, prompting eye-catching proposals from architects around the world.

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But Macron came around to the traditionalists’ argument and approved reconstruction plans for the 12th-century cathedral that were presented Thursday, according to a statement from the state agency overseeing the project.

The plan includes recreating the 19th-century spire designed by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc that collapsed in the fire and “favors fidelity to the monument’s form and a restoration of the cathedral in its latest state,” the statement said.

More than a year after the fire broke out, the structure remains unstable.

It took nearly a year to clear out dangerous lead residue released in the fire and to get to the point where workers could start removing scaffolding that had been in place for a previous renovation effort.

Actual reconstruction won’t start until next year.

The reconstruction plan presented Thursday says the project will replicate original materials “to guarantee the authenticity, harmony and coherence of this masterpiece of Gothic art.”


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