Notre-Dame may take decades to rebuild
Paris: Rebuilding the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris could take decades after it was gutted by a fire, experts warned Tuesday, even as its most senior cleric expressed hope he could celebrate mass there within years.
Parisians and people around the world watched in horror on Monday evening as a huge fire ripped through the 850-year-old gothic cathedral, causing its spire and part of the vaulted roof to collapse and triggering a scramble to save its precious relics and artworks. Declaring that the "worst has been avoided", President Emmanuel Macron immediately vowed; "We will rebuild Notre-Dame together." And pledges of immense donations together already worth hundreds of millions within hours flooded in from the business world in France.
But asked how long the restoration could take, Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral, which recently underwent a three-year facelift, said: "I'd say decades."
"The damage will be significant. But we are lucky in France to still have a network of excellent heritage restoration companies, whether small-time artisans or bigger groups," he said Fischer said the ability to rebuild the colossal cathedral in a manner that respects its original form and character would depend on the plans, diagrams and other materials available to the architects.
They would need "a maximum of historical data or more recent data gathered with modern technology such as 3D scans" of the kind used in the restoration of the Strasbourg cathedral, he said. Stephane Bern, a TV presenter famous for his programmes on mediaeval France who was recently appointed the government's representative on heritage, estimated the rebuilding would take "10 to 20 years minimum".