Notre-Dame blaze: How bad is the damage to Paris’ iconic cathedral?

The blaze which swept through the famed Notre-Dame cathedral in central Paris on Monday left a trail of destruction. Here's what we know so far about the damage sustained by the monument.

Notre-Dame blaze: How bad is the damage to Paris' iconic cathedral?
On Tuesday junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez told the press that “some weaknesses” had been identified in the structure of Notre-Dame a day after the cathedral was ravaged by a colossal fire.
“Overall the structure is holding up well, but some weaknesses have been identified particularly in the vault and the gable of the northern transept, which have to be secured,” Nunez told reporters at the scene, adding that five neighbouring buildings had been evacuated.
The analysis was made by a group of experts, including the police and architects, who had been brought in to study the damage caused by the fire.
The tweet below takes a look at Notre-Dame before and during the fire. 
Here's a look at what we know about the damage so far. 

Photo: AFP

The spire

The collapse of Notre-Dame's famous spire shocked many during the fire. 

The flames spread until they completely engulfed the roof and then, slowly, the building's iconic spire toppled and collapsed.
The central lead-clad wooden spire, which rose 93 metres (300 feet) above the cathedral roof and weighed 250 tonnes, was in need of costly restoration because the lead, meant to protect the spire from the elements, was wearing thin.
It now needs to be rebuilt completely.




The roof completely collapsed during the fire, with charred debris from the collapsed roof found scattered on the ground on Tuesday morning.



On Tuesday morning France's minister of culture Franck Riester said three parts of the stone vault, pictured below, had collapsed.
The beautiful vaulting stonework forms the 'ceiling' of one of the main parts of the cathedral, and authorities are now worried about the intact pieces – given that there were huge amounts of water-filled charred wood from the collapsed roof laying on top of it.
“It's all very fragile,” said Riester.


Photo: AFP

Stained glass
The cathedral's three impressive stained glass circular rose windows were built in the 13th century and renovated several times. 
The one on the south appeared to be intact on Tuesday, as did another on the western facade which lies between the two stone towers which can be climbed by tourists on the front of the cathedral.
AFP was unable to verify the state of the northern window.
However the Archbishop of Paris told BFM TV on Tuesday that all three windows had been saved.
They show prophets, saints, angels, kings and scenes of the daily lives of holy figures. At the centre of each is an image of either the Virgin Mary, Christ as a baby or Christ as king reigning over heaven.

Bell towers
There was also relief that much of the stonework as well as the two massive square bell towers were largely unscathed.
Over the coming days more detailed inspections will be made as other sections of the building cool and are made safe.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Notre-Dame restoration work begins as Paris cathedral on track to reopen in 2024

France's Notre-Dame cathedral is finally ready to undergo restoration work more than two years after a blaze ravaged the heritage landmark, and remains on course to reopen in 2024, authorities said Saturday, following months of painstaking work to secure the building.

Notre-Dame restoration work begins as Paris cathedral on track to reopen in 2024

The great mediaeval edifice survived the inferno on April 15th, 2019, but the spire collapsed and much of the roof was destroyed.

The focus until now had been on making the cathedral safe before restoration work could begin, which included the strenuous task of removing 40,000 pieces of scaffolding that were damaged in the blaze.

“The cathedral stands solid on its pillars, its walls are solid, everything is holding together,” said Jean-Louis Georgelin, head of the public entity tasked with rebuilding the cathedral.

Scaffolding in the interior of the building as the restoration phase begins. Photo by Thomas SAMSON / POOL / AFP

“We are determined to win this battle of 2024, to reopen our cathedral in 2024. It will be France’s honour to do so and we will do so because we are all united on this goal.”

The aim is to celebrate the first full service in the cathedral on April 16th, 2024 – five years after the fire – despite delays caused by the pandemic and the lead that spread during the blaze.

The Notre-Dame spire, a later addition to the medieval building, was completely destroyed in the blaze. Photos by AFP

Authorities will now call for tenders to select the companies to carry out the restoration work.

The cathedral’s interior walls and floors will also undergo “a thorough cleaning process” later this month.

Notre-Dame’s famous Grand Organ is already being restored, with its 8,000 pipes dismantled and sent to organ builders all over France.

It is expected to be put together again in October 2023, said Georgelin, the former head of France’s armed forces who was appointed by President Emmanuel Macron to oversee rebuilding efforts.