On 15 April 2019, a fire ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, destroying its spire and roof and causing part of the vault to collapse. Since then, hundreds of workers have been working daily on the cathedral, with the aim of reopening Notre-Dame on 8 December 2024.
So what’s going on behind the palisades that hide the building site? And what trades are working on the cathedral? The site is of course closed to the public, but there are several ways of keeping up to date with the progress of the work.
At the heart of the Notre-Dame construction site
Opposite the cathedral, under the forecourt, a free exhibition will take you on a tour of the major stages in the building work. Thanks to a number of models, portraits of tradespeople, works of art and even relics pulled from the rubble, you’ll be able to understand the skills required to “look after” Notre-Dame.
It’s a fascinating, well-designed space that allows you to understand everything that’s at stake on the building site, its complexity, and also to discover all the different trades involved in building the cathedral.
Espace Notre-Dame, under the cathedral forecourt
Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm
Free access without reservation
Key figures for the Notre-Dame project
340,000 donors have given their support to finance the project. They come from 150 different countries
The cathedral’s organ is made up of 8,000 pipes. They all had to be dismantled and cleaned
2,000 oak trees were used to rebuild the framework identically: around 1,000 for the framework of the choir and nave + 1,000 for the spire and the two arms of the transept.
1,300 m3 of stone are needed to restore the masonry
0 is the number of works of art that were lost! They were all saved.
The exhibition on the palisades
Another exhibition covers the site’s palisades. It retraces the high points of this adventure with numerous photographs taken on site.
You will also see the photographs of Tomas van Houtryve, who has taken some magnificent black-and-white shots at the heart of the construction site, and the computer graphics of Fernando G. Baptista to help you understand the cathedral’s architecture.
A website to keep track of the works
If you can’t make it to Paris, Rebuilding Notre-Dame, the public body in charge of restoring the cathedral, regularly posts content on its website and social networks to keep you up to date with the progress of the work.
I’d also encourage you to check out their YouTube channel, which is packed with videos that take us behind the scenes of the building site and profiles of the craftsmen.
At the Louvre: the Treasure of Notre-Dame de Paris
Pending the return of the “treasure” to the cathedral, more than 120 works are on display at the Musée du Louvre in an exhibition that provides an insight into their history.
Musée du Louvre, Richelieu Gallery
Until 29 January 2024
Open daily except Tuesdays, from 9 am to 6 pm
Nocturne on Fridays until 9.45pm
15 €, free for under-26s
At the Cité de l’Architecture: Notre-Dame de Paris, from builders to restorers
As part of the permanent exhibition at the Cité de l’Architecture, this exhibition invites you to rediscover the history of Notre-Dame, from its construction to today’s restoration work.
Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
Until 2 June 2024
Open daily except Tuesdays, from 11am to 7pm
Nocturne on Thursdays until 9pm
Full price €9, concessions €6, free for under-26s
See you on 8 December 2024!
The cathedral will reopen on 8 December 2024, after 5 years in the making! Given the worldwide repercussions of the fire, 14 million visitors are expected in the year of the reopening – Notre Dame welcomed 12 million a year before the fire.