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One Year After Notre Dame Fire, Church Restoration On Pause

Last year, the iconic Parisian church caught fire, but the pandemic has left Notre Dame with little attention for the grim one year anniversary.
Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 15, 2020

On the one-year anniversary of Notre Dame Cathedral catching fire, restoration has stopped as France deals with the coronavirus epidemic.

Last year, officials said the 850-year-old Parisian church caught fire due to either a cigarette or an electrical malfunction. Its spire toppled and part of the building's interior was destroyed as the public watched in horror.

The cathedral's repairs were halted on March 16th as France became one of the hardest hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Notre Dame with little attention for the grim one-year anniversary

Additionally, a representative for the church's reconstruction testified to the French Senate in January that the full damage isn't known even a year later. The official said several tasks need to be completed to determine the building's structural integrity and whether it's salvageable, including removing scaffolding which had surrounded the building prior to the blaze and was partially melted.

Still, another official told Science Magazine last month "the heart of Notre Dame had been saved," explaining "its artwork, stone and stained glass will be cleaned" and predicting "it will be more luminous and beautiful than before."

While French President Emmanuel Macron said last year he hoped to have the church returned to normal by 2024, it is unknown whether the work stoppage will push that deadline back further. The restoration had been stopped over the summer because of lead contamination and high winds last fall.

Macron also announced Monday he would be extending France's shutdown another month, potentially halting the restoration process further.