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Notre-Dame rebuild ‘meeting deadline and budget’

Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral, which was destroyed by a fire in 2019, is on track to reopen on time on 8 December, the head of the reconstruction has said.

“We are meeting deadlines and budget,” Philippe Jost, who heads the public body overseeing the project, told a French Senate committee.

The fire at the UNESCO-listed cathedral, which welcomed 12 million visitors a year, shocked the world on 15 April 2019.

Mr Jost praised the work of the 250 companies and artist groups involved in the reconstruction, which began in spring 2022 after rubble had been cleared and the foundations secured at a cost of €150 million.

He said the budget for the reconstruction phase was expected to stay below the foreseen €550m, leaving another €150 million unspent from the huge pot of donations that poured in after the fire.

The surplus will go towards “urgent” restoration of the cathedral’s stone exterior to be carried out from 2025, Mr Jost said.

The spire, which dramatically collapsed five years ago, is once again visible on the Paris skyline following the recent removal of its scaffolding.

The installation of the lead roof is ongoing on its solid oak frame, rebuilt with doweled wood and no metal bolts according to techniques dating back hundreds of years.

“The restoration will last for at least 860 years,” said Mr Jost, referring to how long the cathedral had survived from its initial completion in 1163.

In addition to sprinkler systems, each section of the wooden frame has been “compartmentalised” to prevent any future fire from spreading, Mr Jost said.

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