Paris’ Catholic diocese launches €6 million Notre-Dame fundraiser

Paris' Catholic diocese launches €6 million Notre-Dame fundraiser
Restoration work is ongoing at the fire-damaged Notre-Dame cathedral. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP
The Catholic diocese of Paris said on Monday it was seeking up to €6 million to restore and modernise the interior of Notre-Dame cathedral, nearly destroyed by a massive fire two years ago.

The diocese launched a fundraising drive looking for €5-€6 million to complete the work.

President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to complete the monument’s restoration for 2024, and more than €800 million has already been received or pledged from private and corporate donors for the painstaking rebuild of the 13th-century gothic masterpiece.

While the spire collapsed and much of the roof was destroyed on the evening of April 15th, 2019, the efforts of firefighters ensured that the medieval edifice survived the night.

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Fire ripped through the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral on April 15th, 2019. Photo: Fabien Barrau / AFP

But a law passed shortly after the blaze stipulated that funds raised via the public subscription covered only the structural restoration and conservation of the historic landmark, which technically is owned by the French state.

Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit said in a statement that the goal was “to bring the cathedral into the 21st century, while ensuring the preservation of its identity in the spirit of the Christian tradition”.

The funds would be used to update the tour layout for the six million visitors each year as well as new furniture and lighting and sound systems.

Several artists have already said they will donate their time and expertise for new artworks, and sponsors are being sought via the Notre-Dame Foundation as well as the American nonprofit Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris.

Following several months of works focussed on consolidating the cathedral’s structure, actual restoration work is set to begin in late 2021.

Notre-Dame is to reopen for worship in April 2024, in time for the Paris-hosted Summer Olympics.

But restoration work will continue beyond that date, according to Jean-Louis Georgelin, the former general hand-picked by Macron to lead the project.


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