Notre Dame Cathedral , Update Nov19!

Well here is another take on the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral. I guess from reading and hearing , it will be longer than told. Too many politics in the middle as often the case.

I have done at least two previous update on the disaster and the efforts to rebuilt and feels its about time for an update. Therefore, here it goes folks, Notre Dame Cathedral, Update Nov19 and this time direct from Paris!!!

The sequence did not go unnoticed. Invited to the commission of cultural affairs of the National Assembly,(house of representatives of France) yesterday Wednesday, November 13, the special representative of President Emmanuel Macron, General Jean-Louis Georgelin for the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris had words unfriendly with regard to the Chief Architect of Historical Monuments.  When asked about the reconstruction (identical or not) of the arrow, Jean-Louis Georgelin asked Philippe Villeneuve Chief Architect of Historical Monuments (who was not present in the room) to shut up!  The General (former Chief of Staff of the French Army)  said. “I have already explained to him several times (…), that he closes his mouth and that we advance in wisdom so that we can serenely make the best choice for Notre-Dame, for Paris, for the World!

The arrow of the discord: drawn by Viollet-le-Duc, it disappeared in the fire of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of April 2019. But must we rebuild it identically? For Philippe Villeneuve, Chief Architect of Historical Monuments and responsible for the restoration of the cathedral, there is no doubt. On the other hand, for General Jean-Louis Gorgelin, who is leading the work, it is a bit premature. He told the members of the Committee on Cultural Affairs. Time is running out: the cathedral must be rebuilt for 2024 !

Nearly seven months after the disaster, the Total Foundation  (part of the big French oil company total) concretized on Thursday, November 7th its pledge of 100 million euros for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral, by signing an agreement with the Heritage Foundation (FdP). Three foundations – FdP, Fondation Notre-Dame, Fondation de France – and the National Monuments Center (CMN) were responsible for raising funds as part of the national subscription launched for the reconstruction of this Gothic gem. Six months after the fire, some 922 million euros in donations and pledges have already been made to rebuild the cathedral, said last month the Minister of Culture Franck Riester.

Some new elements as to why the vast fire and the response is coming out !

Three different employers for three security guards !!! The organization of fire safety at Notre-Dame de Paris was divided between three actors. On the one hand, a private company, Elytis; one of its agents is responsible for monitoring the alarm management unit located at the security PC. In the event of an alarm, he alerts a second agent who is an employee of the diocese. But if the alarm is triggered in the towers of the forecourt, it is a third agent, an employee of the Ministry of Culture, who is then responsible for conducting a verification of doubt.  Not only these three people responsible for working together have three different employers but the contract signed from 2016 provides that there is more than one agent of the private company on site, against two before, as confirmed by this company. According to Elytis agents, well before the fire, the alarm management unit was often triggered for no reason !

It is in this context that a new agent of the company Elytis takes office just days before the fire broke out. When the alarm went off on Monday, April 15, 2019 at 18h16, he is stuck in the security PC. Unfamiliar with the scene, he reportedly said that the fire was in the attic of the sacristy. In fact, it started in the attics under the arrow: firefighters were called more than half an hour after the outbreak of the first alarm, while the fire had already spread widely !!!

The other problem, lead !

It was not until July 18th that the regional health agency (ARS) of Ile-de-France region finally made public the mapping of the presence of lead dust in the district of Notre-Dame. They discovered exceptionally high rates, especially on the forecourt: while the quantity does not generally exceed 5,000 micrograms (μg) of lead dust per square meter, the forecourt had between 540,000 and 1,300,000 μg / m² , according to the records.  The multiple cleanings have still not allowed to lower these rates to acceptable thresholds. That’s why the forecourt is always closed to the public.

Because of the lead, the Notre-Dame perimeter slump was noted. One of the balconies is breaking up, stones having split. To avoid collapse, the whole was strapped to hold until the consolidation works. Finally, traces of moisture persist in the left hole  by the arrow. With each new rain, the soil is tempered again, causing the joints and the structure to collapse, on the order of a few millimeters. It will be necessary to wait for the complete disassembly of the current scaffolding, welded under the effect of the heat, to be able to cover this hole by means of a huge tarpaulin called an umbrella. This operation requires first mounting another scaffold around the first. This is already up.

While the first project, much less important, was planned to last about 15 years, President Emmanuel Macron set a five-year course to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral. A delay that seems unrealistic to many experts. Just drying, securing and diagnosis should take almost two years. The building stakeholders are therefore skeptical about the feasibility of the operation. Nothing prevents the Ministry of Culture and the diocese from partially reopening the cathedral to the public, in order to officially hold this five-year period, without all being finished. In any case, this is the solution that seems to be emerging.

It seems to me the rebuilding will last more than 5 years, in the meantime temporary services will be held! I saw on French TV the chief architect take a tour of it and it is in rubbles all patch up and with columns holding arches with steel rods! It looks sad and when you start reading above you notice some negligence in its upkeep and fire security measures; its all a pity really. Hope for the best.

With the lead insecurity I know many visitors walking by it to take pictures but I would advice not to get near it, you can take pictures from across the Seine river. I will be again there this weekend but by Pl Saint Michel!

Stay tune, there is more always in my blog; thank you again for reading it. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


2 Comments to “Notre Dame Cathedral , Update Nov19!”

  1. Gosh, such enriching information some of which I am not at all surprised! I look forward to reading the next chapter… thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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