Notre Dame Cathedral is finally stable and secure enough for the start of work to rebuild it, more than two years after fire tore through its roof, knocked down its spire and threatened to bring the rest of the medieval monument down.
The French government agency overseeing the reconstruction announced in a statement on Saturday that work to secure the famous Paris structure – which began the day after the fire on April 15, 2019 – is at last complete.
Carpenters, scaffolding experts, professional climbers, organ mechanics and others took part in the effort, which included special temporary structures to secure the towers, vaults and walls of the huge roofless structure, and a special “umbrella” to protect it from the weather.
Negotiations will now begin with companies bidding to take part in the mammoth reconstruction effort, the statement said.
It will include some 100 tenders for various projects. Work to restore the organ will begin in the autumn, with other works expected to begin in the winter.
The agency is maintaining President Emmanuel Macron’s goal of allowing visitors back inside in 2024, the year Paris hosts the Olympics.
The announcement was made on a weekend that France and countries across Europe celebrate Heritage Days, when historical landmarks, government buildings and other sites are opened to the public.