Reconstruction of Notre-Dame - design debate
In the debate over the reconstruction of Notre Dame, French President Macron has sided with the advisory committee, which is in favour of restoring the cathedral's spire to its nineteenth century design. Shortly after the fire in April 2019 Macron had argued in favour of replacing it with a contemporary design. But according to surveys a majority of the French want the cathedral rebuilt as it was before the fire. Opinions are still divided on the topic.
The return of a unifying symbol
Le Parisien is relieved at Macron's change of heart:
“This is a wise decision because it will probably accelerate the reconstruction of this Gothic masterpiece, this great symbol of France. The collapse of its tower, devoured by flames on April 15, 2019, was experienced by many as a trauma heralding great misfortunes. In these troubled times when history is too often used as a pretext for division, this is a monument that unites and appeases. Whether you are a believer or not, whether you live in the capital or outside it, whether you are French or foreign, Notre-Dame has withstood storms, revolutions, vandals and invasions. Here's wishing it were already 2024 and the cathedral had already been restored to its full splendour and eternal magic!”
Keep the memory of the fire alive
La Croix is disappointed that the fire won't find any expression in the architecture of the restored cathedral:
“Identical reconstruction is a new idea in the history of monuments. The principle of 'restoring historic buildings to their last known state' is laid down in the Venice Charter of 1964. ... However, the identical should not be seen as an absolute value. With the fire, the cathedral of Paris experienced an event that will forever mark its history. It should be kept alive in our memories through a simple, pathos-free architectural feature. ... This could be done with a glass wall at the foot of the Viollet-le-Duc spire, allowing light to penetrate down into the transept, as a reminder of the Dantesque night when the roof structure collapsed.”