Construction workers were back at the burned shell of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday, resuming the mammoth task of rebuilding after the coronavirus outbreak forced a pause of a month and a half.
Fire engulfed the 850-year-old building on the banks of the River Seine on April 15 last year. The flames destroyed the spire and roof and, according to officials, came within 30 minutes of razing the cathedral to the ground.
French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild within five years but work so far has been slow. Delays were caused by toxic lead released by the fire, winter storms and then by the COVID-19 epidemic which closed the site in March.
“It’s true that we have lost a month and a half,” Chauvet told Reuters Television. But he said the project was on track to meet Macron’s five-year deadline.
“That doesn’t mean that all of the restoration will be completed, but it means we will be able to enter again into the cathedral.”
He said the first task, once work gets fully underway, was to remove the tangle of metal scaffolding that melted in the fire and enmeshed itself in the structure of the cathedral.