French president faces questions over Notre Dame restoration

By Christopher White, 16 May 2019
The devastating fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Image: CNS/Reuters.


One month after a massive fire ravaged Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most iconic landmarks of western civilization still stands, but controversy lingers as restoration efforts are now underway.

To date, more than $1 billion has been pledged to rebuild the historical cathedral, with individuals such as French millionaire François-Henri Pinaul pledging gifts of over $100 million. Last week, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit said that the Foundation of Notre Dame, as well as the diocese of Paris, continue to accept donations as the needs are “far from finished.”

President Emmanuel Macron – who just days after the fire said he’d like the rebuilding to be complete in 5 years, before the city plays host to the summer Olympic games in 2024 – kicked off an international competition for plans to redesign the cathedral’s roof, which was devastated in the fire.

Notre-Dame was nationalised in 1789 during the French Revolution, and remains the property of the French state. By law, the Catholic Church has exclusive use of the building, but the government covers the cost of building maintenance and repairs.

Last week a bill made its way through the National Assembly, France’s legislative body, put forward by La République En Marche (LREM), Macron’s party, which has garnered criticism from its own members, the opposition, and especially art historians and preservationists.

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With thanks to Crux News and Christopher White, where this article originally appeared.


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