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Notre Dame: The tower of the cathedral is being restored in the design of the 19th century

Notre Dame tower burns in April 2019

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Getty Images

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The cathedral caught fire in April 201


The tower of Notre Dame cathedral, which was destroyed in a fire last April, is being restored in the original Gothic style.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision, ending speculation that the tower would be rebuilt in a modern style.

Mr. Macron had previously indicated that he was in favor of a “contemporary gesture”.

However, he has announced that the restoration will be completed by 2024 when the Paris Olympics take place.

The Elysée said Mr. Macron’s main concern was “not to delay and complicate the reconstruction – things need to be resolved quickly”.

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The design of a modern tower with an international competition for architects could have caused unnecessary delays.

“The president trusts the experts and endorses the main outline of the project presented by the chief architect, which plans the identical reconstruction of the tower,” said the Elysée.

The announcement came after a meeting of the French Commission for Cultural Heritage and Architecture (CNPA).

When the roof of the 13th-century Paris Cathedral caught fire during the restoration work in April 2019, it triggered a great deal of emotion and donations from around the world.

Around EUR 900 million was spent on the restoration of the cathedral within two days.

The first tower of the cathedral was built in the 13th century, but was removed due to extensive damage in the late 18th century. The replacement, designed by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was built in the mid-19th century.

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Ulf Mejergren Architects

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An architectural firm drafted plans for a pool on the roof of the cathedral

Since the fire last year, discussions about restoring the tower have been tense.

Jean-Louis Georgelin, the general of the army responsible for reconstruction, wanted a modern alternative. This idea seemed briefly supported by President Macron when he said he was in favor of a “contemporary gesture”.

This sparked a wave of unconventional proposals from architects around the world – including one with a rooftop pool and another with a huge park and greenhouse on the roof.

However, the chief architect of the cathedral, Philippe Villeneuve, strongly advocated a faithful restoration of the earlier design of the 19th century.

In a particularly heated exchange last November, Gen Georgelin asked Mr. Villeneuve to “shut up” – which led to audible wheezing at a meeting of the National Assembly’s Culture Committee.

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