The general in charge of rebuilding Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris after it was devastated in a fire last year says that he will not rush to meet the 2024 deadline.
General Jean-Louis Georgelin has said that he is staying the course to have as much of the cathedral repaired within the desired five-year deadline, but he added the following caveat: “… even if it means not everything will be finished.”
Explaining his role in the restoration project, the general, who was named by President Emmanuel Macron as the head of the rebuilding effort, said that his job was to avoid any “procrastination.”
Georgelin was making the comments while answering questions in front of the Culture Commission of the French Senate, replying – with some humour – to the numerous objections made to his style and to the way he exercises his authority.
Speaking of a “Notre-Dame task-force” and a “command unit”, the general repeatedly said that he was there to ensure works “advanced without procrastination.”
He said: “My role is to hunt down anything that could delay progress on the building site.”
He added that it would be completely out of the question, for example, to spend “three months forming a committee to decide on changing one stone.”
The general also said that they would not “do anything to get it done within five years, we will not work in a sloppy manner. We are working for the centuries to come.”
Early in the evening on Monday 15th April 2019, a fire broke out in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, with the historical building’s famous spire collapsing shortly before 8pm as thousands of Parisians and tourists watched on in horror.
Over 400 firefighters mobilised to put the fire out, but this proved impossible before it spread to the entire roof as darkness fell upon the French capital.
Billions have since been pledged to restore France’s most visited monument to its former glory, although replacing the 13th-Century oak carpentry that adorned the interior of the roof will no doubt prove a challenging task.
The cathedral is now shrouded in scaffolding, with cranes erected nearby. Restoration work is scheduled to begin some time in 2021.
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