The images were horrific and heartbreaking.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, one of Paris’ most popular tourist attractions and one of the holiest sites among Catholics in the world, caught on fire two years ago. The blaze was so bad that it was doubtful whether the structure would survive long enough to be rebuilt and renovated.
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So call it a miracle, if you must, but it appears Notre Dame will be saved.
The government agency overseeing the reconstruction announced in a statement Saturday that the works to secure the structure — which began the day after the April 15, 2019 fire — are at last complete and the cathedral is stabilized, according to the Associated Press.
Carpenters, scaffolding experts, professional climbers, organ mechanics and others took part in the effort, which included special temporary structures to secure the iconic 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 different tenders for various projects. Work to restore the organ will begin in the fall, with other works expected to begin in the winter.
France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, has said he would like to be able to allow visitors back into the cathedral by 2024, the year Paris hosts the Olympics.