French President Emmanuel Macron vowed on Tuesday to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral within five years, after a fire which caused major damage to the 850-year-old Paris landmark.
“We will rebuild the cathedral even more beautifully within five years,” Macron said in an address to the nation a day after the blaze.
But he also warned: “Let us not fall into the trap of haste.”
Macron said that the dramatic fire had brought out the best in a country that has been riven with divisions.
“What we saw last night in Paris was our capacity to mobilize and to unite,” the 41-year-old leader said in the solemn address from his office in the presidential palace.
France had over the course of its history seen many towns, ports and churches go up in flames, he said.
“Each time we rebuilt them,” he said, adding that the cathedral inferno had shown that “our history never stops and that we will always have trials to overcome.”
On Monday night, after the blaze erupted, Macron had canceled a speech expected to outline key measures in response to months of anti-government protests.
That speech had been keenly awaited after Macron toured France in nationwide debates aimed at hearing the concerns of ordinary French people.
But the presidency indicated that now was not the time to deal with this question and that a cabinet meeting on Wednesday would be “entirely devoted” to handling the aftermath of the fire.
Macron would make his address on social issues “at the right moment... as there needs to be a time of contemplation and have the necessary responsibility at a time of great national emotion,” a presidential official said.