Notre Dame Cathedral: Spire to be rebuilt exactly as it was, Macron decide


The spire of Notre Dame Cathedral which collapsed during a devastating blaze in April 2019 is to be rebuilt exactly as it was, French President Emmanuel Macron has decided.

Macron made the decision on Thursday after being presented with a 3,000-page report from the lead architect in charge of the reconstruction project, Philippe Villeneuve, on the methods he recommends to restore the framework, the roof and the spire of the cathedral.

Contrary to the French president, who indicated shortly after the disaster that “a contemporary architectural gesture” should be envisaged to replace the spire, Villeneuve had always pleaded loyalty to the original design.

The Gothic-style spire was added to the edifice during renovations in the 19th century. The designs by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc are still kept.

Workers began to dismantle the 40,000 pieces of scaffolding that were fused together when the fire ripped through the monument last month. The delicate task, expected to take several months, was meant to start earlier but was delayed because of lockdown measures introduced to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fire on April 15, 2019 and the collapse of the iconic spire, watched live by millions around the world, prompted an outpouring of grief and donations.

More than a billion euros were pledged to the reconstruction.

Today's Vocabulary

1. spire (n)
a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, typically a church tower

2. pleaded (v)
present and argue for (a position), especially in court or in another public context.

3. blaze (n)
a very large or fiercely burning fire.

4. pledged (v)
ommit (a person or organization) by a solemn promise.

5. envisaged (v)
contemplate or conceive of as a possibility or a desirable future event.

6. scaffolding (n)
a temporary structure on the outside of a building, made usually of wooden planks and metal poles, used by workers while building, repairing, or cleaning the building.

7. dismantle (v)
take (a machine or structure) to pieces.

8. edifice  (n)
a building, especially a large, imposing one.

  1. What causes the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral to collapse?

  2. What does France’s president want to restore Notre Dame to?

  3. Who is Philippe Villeneuve?

  4. How long did architects say it would take to rebuild Notre Dame?

  5. How many pages of report does Philippe Villeneuve present?
  1. What did you think when you read the headline?

  2. Have you ever been to Notre Dame? If not, would you like to go?

  3. What is a cathedral?

  4. Do you think your country would choose to rebuild a famous landmark if it was destroyed?

  5.  Do you think the rebuilt cathedral should be designed exactly the same?