While the projected reopening date has been pushed back, restoration organizers are confident it will be open by the end of 2024.
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After years of predicting that Notre Dame de Paris would be reopened in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, organizers of the ongoing restoration effort have announced that they will not meet this deadline. While the later reopening will be a disappointment to those who visit Paris for the Olympics, the faithful have reason to be excited as the new projected reopening date could see Christmas Mass celebrated in the French monument cathedral next year.
The projected reopening by the end of 2024 still falls within the five year time frame that was predicted when the reconstruction began. In January, Aleteia reported that the collapsed stone vault on the North transept was reconstructed, which allowed crews to begin recreating the iconic spire originally designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century. The spire is still on track to be completed in 2023, which will restore the Parisian skyline.
According to France 24, French Army Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin confirmed that Notre Dame would not be opened in time for the Olympic games. Still, he was confident that the site would be open to tourists again by the end of 2024. He said:
“The return of the spire in Paris’ sky will in my opinion be the symbol that we are winning the battle of Notre Dame.” He added, “My job is to be ready to open this cathedral in 2024. And we will do it. We are fighting every day for that and we are on a good path.”
While Notre Dame won’t be open for the Olympics, it is expected to look like it did before the blaze, at least from the outside, by summer of 2024. Visitors and tourists may not be able to attend Mass in the storied French monument church, but they will be able to explore a new exhibition that has opened near the cathedral.
The exhibition, according to France 24, will provide visitors with a new experience of visiting Notre Dame. They will learn about the history behind the French church, as well as the efforts that have been made to restore the church since the 2019 fire. The exhibition includes a virtual reality show that allows visitors to explore a digital replica of Notre Dame, and is free to attend.
The pushed back date of reopening is disappointing, but it did not come from lack of trying. According to Catholic World Report, the dedicated crews working at Notre Dame consist of some 1,000 people working daily to repair the damage. It is estimated that the current repairs and restorations will come at a price of around 700 million euros, which will be covered by the 800 million euros that have been donated by some 300 million donors from around the world.
Still, there will be more work to be done and more funding needed to do it. Repairs to the North and South facades, which are not included in the current round of repairs, may cost as much as 1.5 billion euros.