Be informed. Be challenged. Be inspired.

Notre Dame Cathedral’s restoration has been a five year journey of dedication and recovery

Paris, France

The restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a tragic blaze in April, 2019, is a story of dedication and recovery.

The iconic medieval monument immortalised in history, film and literature has been gradually rebuilt over the past five years, through challenges that have included delays during the pandemic and the loss of the project’s leader.

This combination photo shows, from top left, clockwise, the scaffolding around the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral spire being removed from 24th January, 2024 to 6th March, 2024. Scaffolding has enshrouded Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris since a 2019 fire destroyed its spire and roof and threatened to collapse the whole medieval structure. After an unprecedented international reconstruction effort, the scaffolding is at last starting to peel away. PICTURE: AP Photos captured from La Tour d’Argent restaurant/Alexander Turnbull.

It’s slated for completion by the end of 2024. Here is a timeline of events in the restoration:

April, 2019 – A fire ravages Notre Dame, collapsing its roof and spire and destroying its interior, unleashing a global wave of solidarity. A monumental effort to restore the cathedral’s grandeur is launched, and French President Emmanuel Macron pledges to complete it within five years.

June, 2020 – The pandemic delays work at the cathedral, but removing charred scaffolding that had encased the spire amid previous restoration works marked a significant step.

August, 2020 – Efforts begin to restore the organ that once thundered through the cathedral – France’s largest musical instrument. The 8,000-pipe organ survived the fire, but was coated in toxic lead dust. Dismantling, cleaning and reassembling it is expected to finish this year.

March, 2021 – The first of an expected 1,000 historic French oak trees destined to rebuild the spire are selected from the Bercé forest in the French Loire region.

September, 2021 – Work to secure the structure is finally completed, after carpenters, scaffolding experts, climbers and others help build temporary structures and a special enormous ‘’umbrella” to protect the towers, vaults and walls of the roofless building. Bidding starts on the rest of the reconstruction.

Spring, 2022 – Workshops of master glassmakers and locksmiths from across France begin the laborious process of cleaning and restoring the cathedral’s famed stained glass windows. Help also comes from abroad: Germany’s Cologne Cathedral restores four windows.

We rely on our readers to fund Sight's work - become a financial supporter today!

For more information, head to our Subscriber's page.

July, 2023 – Massive oak trusses are hoisted onto Notre Dame, drawing Parisians to witness what is described as a magical moment, intertwined with preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

August, 2023 – France mourns the sudden death of General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the French army general who had been appointed to oversee the restoration. President Macron hails him as the “greatest soldier” dedicated to restoring Notre Dame “stone by stone.”

The cross and the rooster atop the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral spire, on Thursday, 14th March, 2024 in Paris. PICTURE: AP Photo/Michel Euler.

December, 2023 – A golden rooster, reimagined as a phoenix, is returned to the top of the cathedral’s spire, symbolising Notre Dame’s rebirth. Religious relics, including pieces of what is said to be Jesus Christ’s Crown of Thorns, are placed in a time capsule inside the golden bird.

February, 2024 – Scaffolding is removed to unveil the cathedral’s new spire, adorned with the golden rooster and a cross. It offers a glimpse into the future as Notre Dame nears its grand reopening.


sight plus logo

Sight+ is a new benefits program we’ve launched to reward people who have supported us with annual donations of $26 or more. To find out more about Sight+ and how you can support the work of Sight, head to our Sight+ page.



We’re interested to find out more about you, our readers, as we improve and expand our coverage and so we’re asking all of our readers to take this survey (it’ll only take a couple of minutes).

To take part in the survey, simply follow this link…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.