France will launch an international architectural competition to redesign the roofline of Notre Dame Cathedral, the prime minister Édouard Philippe has said.
The competition would give the 850-year-old building “a spire suited to the techniques and challenges of our time”. French billionaires, multinationals and private citizens have so far raised almost one billion Euros for the restoration. Ordinary French citizens will benefit from a tax break of 75% on donations up to €1,000. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, promised the nation on Tuesday night that Notre Dame would be rebuilt – and be “more beautiful than before” – within five years, which expers consider a very short, even impossible term. Notre Dame was built over a period of nearly 200 years.
Notre Dame after blaze
It’s expected the building to remain closed to the public for five to six years. Investigation on the fire is on its course. Companies specialising in the restoration of historic buildings and monuments warned they would have trouble finding enough skilled workers. A fire brigade official, Philippe Demay, said the cathedral’s twin towers would have collapsed if the 400 firefighters on the scene had not moved fast and brought in the right heavy equipment. Many priceless artefacts inside the cathedral were saved, including the Crown of Thorns, seen as Notre Dame’s most sacred relic.