Notre Dame’s renaissance

12 July 2023
HebTroCo: British clothing from West Yorkshire
11 July 2023
Destinations: England, the Lake District, Gilpin Hotel
12 July 2023

Return of our lady

M iddle Ages craftsmanship is helping bring Paris’s iconic cathedral back to life. Notre Dame Cathedral is being restored using mediaeval-era techniques to ensure its roof is restored as close to its original shape as possible.

The iconic Paris landmark was badly damaged by fire in April 2019 and extensive restoration work is currently underway, in the hope the building will be ready for the 2024 Olympics in the city.

Carpenters are currently using hand axes to shape hundreds of tons of oak beams for the roof’s framework in a process that the Associated Press (AP) has referred to as ‘rewinding time’.

While it may be time-consuming, the mediaeval approach will also pay homage to the craftsmen of the era and bring remarkable authenticity to the rebuilding work.

Speaking to the AP, Jean-Louis Georgelin, the retired army general who is leading the project, stressed that restoring the cathedral ‘as it was built in the Middle Ages’ was vital to his mission and its goals.

‘It is a way to be faithful to the [handiwork] of all the people who built all the extraordinary monuments in France,’ he added.

Most of the roof’s timber frame has now been assembled off site and it will soon be put in place atop the structure. As architect Remi Fromont describes it, thanks to using authentic methods and materials, the roof will soon ‘return to its same place’.

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