Notre Dame Cathedral Paris Fire, Parisian Religious Building, Ile de la Cité Architecture

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

Famous Parisian building on the Ile de la Cité, River Seine, France

post updated 30 July 2022

Notre-Dame Cathedral on track to reopen in 2024

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Photographs © Adrian Welch

Notre Dame Cathedral Building Reopening

The Notre-Dame Cathedral is on track to open its doors to worshippers and the public in 2024, says France’s culture minister.

The 13th Century Paris monument caught fire in April 2019, sparking a vast outpouring of emotion.

Since then, a huge restoration project has been carried out aiming to restore it to its previous design.

Notre Dame Cathedral Building Reopening news on the BBC

10 July 2020

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris spire will be restored to 19th Century design

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris France

Notre Dame Cathedral Restoration

The spire of Notre Dame cathedral – destroyed in a fire in April 2019 – is to be restored according to the original Gothic design.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision, putting an end to speculation that the spire would be rebuilt in a modern style.

Emmanuel Macron had previously suggested he was in favour of a contemporary gesture.

However he has said he wants the restoration to be completed by 2024, when Paris is hosting the Olympics.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris building facade

The Elysée said the President’s main concern was “not delaying the reconstruction and making it complicated – things had to be cleared up quickly”.

Emmanuel Macron made the final decision Thursday after a meeting with the chief architect of the country’s historic monuments and the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture (CNPA) – Commission régionale du patrimoine et de l’architecture.

He trusted the expertise of the CNPA to guide the restoration choices for the spire, the wooden frame and the cathedral roof.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris building

The spire was only added in the mid-1800s during a restoration of the 13th-century Gothic buiding carried out by French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

Monument historique is a designation given to some national heritage sites in France.

Notre Dame Cathedral Revit Model

Here is a useful explanatory video of the cathedral modelled in Revit by a former colleague of mine, Andy Millburn of GAJ, Dubai:

Film on YouTube

Project Notre Dame arose as the spontaneous response of a group of BIM (Building Information Modeling) enthusiasts with a fascination for old buildings.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris River Seine

A global team of volunteers has worked collaboratively on a Revit model of the cathedral, following the fire.

4 Nov 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral Concept

Renewal Concept for Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

“When the cathedrals were white”

Location: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Ile de la Cité, Paris, France

Notre Dame Cathedral Renewal Concept design

Le Corbusier described Notre dame as a ‘pure creation of spirit”. The new extension roof is white, recalling the title of a Le Corbusier book: “When the cathedrals were white”. The colour also addresses the original aim of the cathedral builders when used marble for creating a white construction.

Notre Dame Cathedral Concept

20 + 19 Apr 2019
Notre-Dame Spire Renewal Controversy

French opposition politicians express outrage at the idea of repairs to the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris that do not faithfully reflect the largely medieval original. They attacked President Emmanuel Macron’s government for suggesting the possibility of using modern designs or materials:

Notre-Dame Spire Renewal Controversy article in the FT

France will launch an international architectural competition.

There are plans to build a temporary wooden cathedral in front of the Notre-Dame de Paris, echoing the cardboard cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, by architect Shigeru Ban.

18 Apr 2019
Notre-Dame Restoration News
Notre Dame’s rector said he expected the building to remain closed to the public for five to six years.

The €150m restoration programme is widely believed to be linked to the fire.

The artisans’ organisation the Compagnons du Devoir said 100 masons, 150 woodworkers and 200 roofers would need to be recruited.

17 Apr 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

Architects Call for Notre-Dame Spire Replacement

International call for architects to design new spire, reports the BBC.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris building facade

France is to invite architects from around the world to submit their designs for a new spire to sit atop a renovated Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told reporters they hoped for “a new spire that is adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era”.

President Emmanuel Macron vowed the spire by French architect Viollet-le-Duc will be rebuilt “even more beautifully”, adding that he wants the work done within five years – although experts warn its reconstruction could take decades.

But the Prime Minister posed the question of “whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by Viollet-le-Duc…or if, as is often the case in the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre-Dame with a new spire”.

A combined €800m ($902m; £692m) has already been pledged by a number of companies and business tycoons to help rebuild the Unesco World Heritage site.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris France

Should the spire be replaced as it was?

Or should we have a new one?

Could it be radically different, like the Pyarmid at the Louvre?

Comments welcome to info(at)

Architects for Notre-Dame Spire on the BBC

22 Oct 2011

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Photographs, taken in October 2011

Notre Dame Cathedral

Location: Ile de la Cité 6, Place du Parvis, Paris IVe

Set on an island in the River Seine, south of Bastille and east of the Louvre.

The west facade is majestic, a beautiful, symmetrical tour de force.

Notre Dame Cathedral Architecture

Architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral in more detail

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris building

The western façade
This façade was begun under the episcopate of Eudes of Sully from 1200 by the third architect and continued under his successors, including Guillaume D’AUVERGNE, after 1220 by the fourth. The North Tower was completed in 1240 and the South in 1250. It presents itself as a mass imposing, simple and harmonious with the force and sober grandeur based on one set of vertical and horizontal lines.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris building facade

The arrow
A first arrow was built above the crossroads of the transept around 1250. It was a bell tower which featured in the seventeenth century up to five bells. It was dismantled in 1786 to 1792.

The framing of Notre Dame de Paris is certainly one of the oldest structures we have in Paris with that of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre (1147).

The portal of the judgment
The portal of the judgment is the central portal of the western façade installed in the years 1220-1230, shortly after the other two portals of the façade. It represents the last judgment as it is written in the Gospel of St. Matthew.

The Sainte-Anne Portal
Portal Sainte-Anne is the portal of the western façade to the right. It was installed around 1200 before the other two portals of the façade. His eardrum * is the reinvestment of a previous tympanum made 50 years earlier for the previous Cathedral (the former St. Stephen’s Cathedral).

The portal of the Virgin
The portal of the Virgin is the portal of the western façade to the left. It was installed in the years 1210-1220, so after the St. Anne gate, but the portal of the last judgement is slightly posterior to him. It traces, in the tradition of the Church, the death of Mary, his ascent to heaven and her Coronation as Queen of heaven.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris building facade


Location: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Paris, France

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