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Two years in review: Notre-Dame de Paris fire

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There are anniversaries that we do not always wish to celebrate. This is the case of the Notre-Dame de Paris fire. However, we cannot forget the exceptional mobilization of emergency services, nor the outpouring of international generosity that resulted in 833 million euros being raised for the restoration. Two years later, what stage has the investigation reached? How is the work progressing?

This week we are reflecting on the anniversary of the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris. Badly damaged by flames, pollution and water leaks, the building was able to resist by relying on the considerable weight of its cultural heritage. Whether it was an act of malice or a simple accident, the causes of the disaster have yet to be determined by the courts. Numerous elements are being examined before a formal conclusion can be reached.

Although the remarkable mobilization of emergency services made it possible to preserve a large part of the building and its secular contents, this tragedy raises the question of the evaluation and restoration of often irreplaceable heritage. This complex part of the insurance claims business was challenging. Working on a priceless object with sentimental value requires claims professionals to remain sensitive to the historical, spiritual or sentimental dimension of the object when assessing the value and communicating final recommendations.

Investigation status

Today, the building and its surroundings remain inaccessible to the public. Work is progressing, despite a slowdown caused by the health crisis. A safety phase — including the dismantling of the scaffolding that had partly melted over the monument — is essential before initiating its restoration. Two of the cathedral's 24 chapels have already been renovated. The original wooden framework will be rebuilt identically, as will the spire designed by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. The square, which is owned by the city, will also be developed in a new, more planted environment — focusing on the visibility of the site and better circulation for visitors.

Architects, craftsmen and more than 35 companies are at work to restore the historic emblem of the capital. Emmanuel Macron set a five-year timetable for this large-scale project in 2019. General Jean-Louis Georgelin, president of the public establishment in charge of the conservation and restoration of the cathedral, recently reaffirmed that this deadline will be respected. As such, the community looks forward to celebrating mass at the cathedral on 16 April 2024.

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