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Notre-Dame spire 'will rise again in time for Paris Olympics'

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Notre-Dame spire 'will rise again in time for Paris Olympics'
The spire of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris collapsed during the fire in 2019. Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

The spire of Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral, which toppled in a devastating 2019 fire, will rise again before next summer's Olympics in the French capital, the new chief of the mammoth reconstruction project said on Thursday.

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Notre-Dame's world-famous "silhouette has completely changed since the fire. I hope that by the Olympic Games we will have the great roof of the cathedral and the spire above it back," said Philippe Jost, who took over from General Jean-Louis Georgelin after his death in an accident last month.

The opening ceremony of the Paris games is set to take place on the waters of the River Seine, which flows through the city centre and around the Ile-de-la-Cite, the island site of Notre-Dame.

"At that moment, everyone will see that we're really very close to the reopening a few months later," added Jost, who was formerly Georgelin's right-hand man on the rebuild.

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He told broadcaster Franceinfo that the general's death in a mountain hiking accident "could have" slowed work but "in fact we're really determined to keep up his efforts. We owe it to many people, but we also owe it to him".

Towering 100 metres above ground level, the wooden spire will already be visible from the end of this year, Jost said, gradually emerging from scaffolding as its roofing is attached.

Inside the cathedral "there's still scaffolding but you are struck by its brilliance when you enter," he added, saying that restoration and cleaning work were "pretty much completed by now".

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