French President Emmanuel Macron visited the newly erected spire of Notre Dame de Paris on Friday, one year before the cathedral is due to reopen on December 8 next year. Source: The Tablet.
Mr Macron said he will invite Pope Francis to attend the festive reopening ceremony next year.
The cathedral, France’s most visited site before fire engulfed it in 2019, is slowly recovering its familiar shape as workers began fitting the new 96-metre spire and erecting the roof frame of massive oak beams.
Much work remains, including installing new liturgical furnishings and artwork and reassembling the 8000 pipes of the grand organ – the largest in France – which have been cleaned.
Instead of a dark interior, visitors will find bright walls and columns. Workers and art experts have cleaned centuries of dust, smoke and pollution from the medieval limestones.
“We’ll meet the deadline,” said Mr Macron of the 2024 reopening.
Of the Pope, he said: “We’ll send an invitation. But it is not up to me to respond on his behalf.”
Mr Macron said six stained glass windows with “the mark of the 21st century” would decorate the nave. His remarks in 2019 about adding a modern touch to the 12th-century building prompted many proposals, including for a glass ceiling or a swimming pool on the roof.
Philippe Jost, who has led the project since the death of its former head, Jean-Louis Georgelin, in an accident in August, said financing was fully assured. All deliveries to the traffic-congested city centre would be finished before the Olympics open in Paris in late July.
Macron invites Pope to Notre Dame’s on-schedule reopening (By Tom Heneghan, The Tablet)