France: Notre-Dame cathedral's spire fitted with a new cross

France: Notre-Dame cathedral's spire fitted with a new cross
Credit: Belga

The cross at the top of the spire of Paris’s Notre-Dame cathedral has been replaced four years after the 2019 fire that ravaged the iconic monument.

The new cross was hoisted into place by a crane on Wednesday afternoon, taking its place at the pinnacle of the spire, whose silhouette recently started to emerge from behind the scaffolding.

The restoration came two days before a scheduled visit by President Emmanuel Macron, organised on the anniversary of the cathedral’s planned reopening for public worship and for pilgrimages to the Gothic masterpiece built between the 12th and 14th centuries.

The recreated spire is identical to the former one designed by 19th-century architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, which collapsed during the fire. Over the past few days, it marked the progress of the restoration efforts.

The spire is an intricate wooden construction covered by a sheet of lead and topped with a crown, a rooster and a cross, resulting in a structure 96-metres high, the Élysée explained on Wednesday.

The rooster that typically crowns the structure is also to be replaced, according to the Elysée. It will be blessed in an upcoming Catholic ceremony to be held separately from Friday’s presidential visit.

The rooster that survived the fire is to be put on display in a future museum, the Elysée said.

Last week, reconstruction chief Philippe Jost, who succeeded General Jean-Louis Georgelin after his sudden death this summer, announced that once the spire reaches its full height of 96 meters, the lead encasing will be added.

After that the scaffolding, which currently obscures much of the spire, will be dismantled.

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