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The Notre Dame Cathedral: A Look at the Before and After of Reconstruction

(CNN Spanish) — Five years ago, in April 2019, a fire destroyed much of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, an 860-year-old building.

In a late 2023 visit to the construction site, French President Emmanuel Macron promised that work was “on schedule” so that Notre Dame would open to the public on December 8, 2024.

“By the time the Olympics roll around (in July), we hope to have removed the scaffolding from the top of the spire and completed most of the roof, so Parisians and visitors from around the world can see how close we are to reopening.”, Philippe Jost, of Rebuilding Notre Dame de Paris (the public body responsible for the conservation and restoration of the cathedral), told the French parliament on December 13.

According to Rebuilding Notre Dame de Paris, there are nearly 250 art companies and workshops across France tasked with “working on the cathedral’s revival.” Among them are carpenters, stonemasons, scaffolders, sculptors, gilders, glaziers, and even organ builders, who are restoring the 8,000 pipes and 115 registers of the cathedral’s great organ, the largest in France.

After the 2019 fire, the first two years of work were dedicated to securing the building — which dates back to the 12th century — completing project studies and awarding tenders. The restoration phase officially began in September 2021.

The cost of rebuilding Notre Dame is expected to be approximately 700 million euros ($767 million). In total, 846 million euros ($928 million) in donations were raised from 340,000 donors in 150 countries, according to Rebuilding Notre Dame de Paris.

The restoration of the building is already over 90% complete.

The Notre Dame fire shocked France; images of crying Parisians and tourists watched in disbelief as the fire caused the cathedral’s spire to fall.

With information from Claudia Colliva and Richard Quest

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