FRANCE’S President Macron has made a pledge to reconstruct the severe fire damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral, 48 hours after the blaze that threatened to completely destroy one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. The ambitious target means that, if achieved, it will be rebuilt in time for 2024 when Paris hosts the Summer Olympics and the eyes of the world will be on the city. Standing in front of the charred cathedral Mr Macron said: “We’ll rebuild Notre-Dame even more beautiful and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it”.
Nonetheless, experts in the field doubted the reality of the five-year plan. Eric Fischer, who is heading up the restoration of the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg Cathedral, said the project could take decades while Frederic Letoffe, who leads the Restoration of Historic Monuments Association, said 10 to 15 years was a more realistic time-scale. After starting on Monday evening the fire soon took hold and it was 15 hours before it was extinguished, destroying most of the wooden roof and, most famously, it’s spire which is no longer dominating the local skyline. However, it is still too early to gauge the full extent of the damage, leading many to query President Macron’s promises while not armed with the full facts.
The focus has now turned to the cause of the blaze with “theories” (or conspiracy theories) running from Islamic terrorists – something there is no evidence to support – to a spark from the renovation works that were taking place before the fire started. All current evidence points to it being an accident, albeit it one that has struck at the heart of many French men and women, Parisians in particular.