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French PM announces global design competition to restore Notre Dame

by Andrew Manns | 18 Apr 2019
It will be even more beautiful.
– Emmanuel Macron, president of France

Following the tragic destruction of Notre Dame's 19th-century spire, the French prime minister, Édouard Philippe, has invited architects to put forward ideas for its restoration.

"The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by Viollet-le-Duc," Philippe said of the project.

"This is obviously a huge challenge, a historic responsibility," he added.

Viollet-le-Duc, who counted Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame as his primary influence, carried out the cathedral's overhaul in the 1840s.

The prime minister's remarks came after Emmanuel Macron's initial declaration – communicated via a televised address on Monday – that the Gothic monument would be completed within five years, in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

"It will be even more beautiful," the president promised.

Since Monday's as-yet-unexplained blaze, nearly US$1bn (€900m, £789m) has been raised for the Cathedral's refurbishment by a range of the world's wealthiest companies, including Disney, LVMH, and Apple.

Notre Dame  Paris  competition  
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16 Apr 2019

Huge blaze badly damages historic Notre-Dame Cathedral

Following the tragic destruction of Notre Dame's 19th-century spire, the French prime minister, Édouard Philippe, has invited architects to put forward ideas for its restoration. "The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by Viollet-le-Duc," Philippe said of the project. "This is obviously a huge challenge, a historic responsibility," he added. Viollet-le-Duc, who counted Victor Hugo's
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The French government aims to restore the 850-year-old Gothic building by 2024. / Photo by Fabien Barrau/AFP/Getty Images
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