On the morning of April 16, the Parisians looked in silence and blackened on soot-blackened stones, on a cathedral, which had no roof. The striking pinnacle of the architect Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc was missing. He had crashed the night before at just before 20 clock under the horrified screams of those around in the depths.
Six months after the burning of the cathedral, Parisian conservationists and architects are still working exclusively on consolidation and security work. This will still be the case until the end of 2020, the minister responsible for culture said at a press conference.
For hours, the church was in flames on the Ile de la Cité in the heart of Paris; For a while it looked as if the two towers of the main facade would not survive the fire. It was not until 11 pm that the management of the Paris fire department gave the all-clear that at least this danger was averted.
The dismantling of the metal framework alone can take months
Six months after the catastrophe that shook France and the world, France's Minister of Culture Franck Riester gave a comprehensive overview of the construction site on Tuesday for the first time. The first disturbing message he announced was, "Notre-Dame is still at risk."
Two crucial moments will be on the construction site in the coming months. First, the dismantling of the large metal scaffolding erected for the refurbishment work around the central nave of the cathedral.
"A very delicate operation that will last for at least four to six months," says Riester. Because the scaffolding had been attacked by the fire, constantly with various sensors, the condition is checked. By all means must be prevented that the dismantling of the scaffolding endanger the damaged by the fire parts of the building and it comes to collapse.
In the video - Notre-Dame: "2020 will start the reconstruction"
Philippe Lopez / REUTERS
In addition, it is still unclear how much the high temperatures have attacked individual stones of the vault. Only when the last debris from the falling roof parts, which is still in the cathedral, cleared away, one will be able to examine the stones scientifically.
In any case, according to the Minister, the security and consolidation work would still take up much of the year 2020. For this work alone he estimated 85 million euros; So far, 37 million have been spent. The promised donations Riester estimated at 922 million euros. 104 million of them had already been transferred. "We will call up the remainder according to the needs and status of the work, which incidentally is a perfectly normal process and not unusual", said Riester.
The Minister spoke cautiously about the timetable that President Emmanuel Macron announced on the day after the fire: In five years, Macron said, the restoration of the cathedral should be completed. It was right to set an ambitious goal, said Minister of Culture, Culture Minister Franck Riester. "But our first priority must be to provide high quality, first class restoration work." It did not sound like it still considered the five-year goal realistic.
10 picturesNotre-Dame: Laborious construction
Even the announced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe international architectural competition for the reconstruction of the roof seems to be no longer so urgent. He still has not been called out, maybe there will only be a "ideas contest", the date said. Either way, a competition will not be limited to the reconstruction of the roof including the top tower of Viollet-Le Duc, but also include the environment Notre-Dames.
The debate over whether the neo-Gothic pinnacle on the roof should be faithfully reconstructed or resurrected as a contemporary architectural design had split France into two camps last summer.
And who will ultimately decide on this question and possible competition designs?
"The owner of the cathedral, the state, will do that, of course after extensive consultations with all the other participants, the diocese and the city of Paris," Riester replied. Hierarchically, the decision-making is also clear, the state has a boss, the president. Emmanuel Macron will have the last word on this question.