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French MPs to weigh up next step for Notre-Dame Cathedral restoration

More than 400 firefighters tackled the blaze which engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on 15 April 2019.
More than 400 firefighters tackled the blaze which engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on 15 April 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo
Text by: Paul Myers with RFI
2 min

The findings of a year-long inquiry into the renovation of Notre Dame de Paris are set to go before French MPs.

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A fact-finding mission, headed by MP Brigitte Kuster, was launched in July 2019, less than three months after a massive fire devastated the 900-year-old cathedral at the heart of Paris.

Since November 2019, church officials as well as conservation and building experts have told Kuster's team what they think should be done to repair the damage and how best to spend nearly one billion euros in donations for the monument's renovation.

General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the man appointed to oversee the restoration programme, has also offered his views.

Kuster will present a summary of those opinions to the Assemblée Nationale’s cultural affairs committee.

On Thursday, the national commission for heritage and architecture (CNPA) is expected to announce whether the cathedral ought to be restored to its former state or whether there should be a more modern reconstruction. 

CNPA chief Jean-Pierre Leleux has remained tight-lipped about his commission's thinking. 

Controversy               

The rebuilding of the treasured cathedral has caused controversy.

Then prime minister Édouard Philippe announced an architectural design competition for a new spire. Philippe said the new design should be adapted to the techniques and the challenges of the era.

However, there is strong backing for the old look. There was also concern about the seemingly competitive manner in which French billionaires donated money to the restoration fund.

François Pinault's offer of 100 million euros was outstripped by gifts of 200 million euros apiece from the Bettencourt and Arnault families.

 

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