It was two years ago.
On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame de Paris cathedral ignited, arousing national emotion.
Very quickly restoration work began to rebuild the jewel of Gothic architecture.
Carpenters, scaffolders, rope access technicians: certain professions were then called to the bedside of the cathedral to secure the building before its reconstruction.
And with them, the stonemasons.
Two years after the start of the work, Le
went to meet them.
Read also: Notre-Dame de Paris under the watchful eye of the Naudet brothers on TMC
Barely eight days after the cathedral fire, Régis Deltour, stonemason and manager of the Mollard-Deltour company in Savoy, received a call.
Overnight, I was asked to set up a team of ten stonemasons for the Notre-Dame site,
” he says.
In haste, and not without difficulties because the profession is under tension, the business manager then brings together around ten experienced craftsmen.
team of mercenaries
”, as they like to call themselves, is made up of tailors from all over France to work on “
the site of the century
During their first visit to the cathedral, Régis Deltour and his team suggest to the architect specializing in historical monuments Philippe Villeneuve to build structural works under the flying buttresses to avoid the worst in the event of additional collapses.
placing on a hanger
" of the buttresses will consolidate the whole.
The carpenters then take care of building these large wooden frames and the stonemasons build reinforcements - in the jargon, “
” - to accommodate them.
For two years, the team is then called upon to reinforce the vaults, clean up the lead-clogged gargoyles, and for other consolidation and security work, essential before the reconstruction phase.
Traditional technique and work "
These two years have been particularly busy for this team of stonemasons.
For the reinforcement of the vaults perforated by the arrow, the craftsmen, for example, opted for a traditional technique based on tow plaster, a mixture of plaster and hemp fibers.
In addition to mastering this unique technique, some stonemasons had to be trained in rope work: "
safety standards on the site prohibit walking on arches and under arches, so everything had to be done in suspension
" explains Flavien Bagot, one of the team members.
But this complication did not affect the motivation of the tailors.
There was a playful side, we were a bunch of friends doing tree climbing on the vaults of Notre Dame!
»Says Vincent Touche, another member.
However, some jobs are perilous.
The masonry of the between-towers, in particular, was particularly dangerous: “
we had not noticed that the west gable was badly damaged by the fire, a whole pile of moldings, projections, ornaments, could have fallen in the when we were doing the work,
”continues one of the tailors.
At the start of the work, the security alarms often sound to alert any movement of the structure, but the stonemasons, who for certain tasks work under trap doors, take "
more than half an hour
" to evacuate their place of residence. job.
At the end of the day we said to ourselves 'too bad, the friends will just have to engrave our names!'
»Laughs -yellow- a tailor.
A unique project for these craftsmen
After two years of work, the stonemasons are struggling to realize that they could have worked in such a place.
It's once every 800 years and it's fallen on us!
»Declares Thierry Chadouin, another member of the team.
All of them consider themselves "
Because for these craftsmen, this site is unique in several respects.
It was impressive to come from our small countryside and arrive at Notre Dame, just after this disaster.
We'll never see that anywhere else.
We had the impression of meeting up after a bombardment like in 39-40
”shares Julien Debraux, remembering the first time he entered the building after the fire.
Beyond the location, the spirit that reigns on the site is also unique, “
despite the dramatic side
There was enthusiasm for saving and securing the cathedral with everyone working there.
We rediscovered a spirit of cohesion and a desire to be unique, an 'Notre Dame effect'
”testifies one of the stonemasons.
The end of the adventure
Since the beginning of January, this team of stonemasons is no longer on the site, another company has taken over. While waiting to be able to return there for the reconstruction phase, everyone still dreams of the vaults, florets and gargoyles of the Gothic building. With nostalgia Vincent Touche remembers in particular the working hours, at night: “
We found ourselves in the absolute calm of the cathedral, in addition in full confinement. It is a very strong and relaxing place