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Bell towers and organ saved from Notre Dame fire

As the medieval roof and spire collapsed, a 100-meter crane took 16 copper statues depicting apostles and evangelists from the roof.

The two medieval bell towers immortalized in Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the three exquisite rose windows and the vast organ were also saved.

Donations are pouring in from France and other countries for the restoration project, which the specialists expect to take decades, after dismissing President Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to restore the cathedral to its former beauty in five years.

Asked how long the restoration could take, Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral, which recently underwent a three-year face-lift, said:

I’d say decades.

“The damage will be significant. But we are lucky in France to still have a network of excellent heritage restoration companies, whether small-time artisans or bigger groups,” he told AFP

Fischer said the ability to rebuild the colossal cathedral in a manner that respects its original form and character would depend on the plans, diagrams and other materials available to the architects.

They would need “a maximum of historical data or more recent data gathered with modern technology such as 3D scans” of the kind used in the restoration of the Strasbourg cathedral, he said.

– ‘Not in my lifetime’ –

“You know what hurts me the most? It’s the idea that I will not see it again in my lifetime.”

“It will be rebuilt for future generations.”

– ‘Decade a joke’ –

“Since yesterday I’ve been hearing that it will take a decade. That’s a joke,” an indignant Jack Lang, who served as a hugely prominent culture minister under the presidency of Francois Mitterrand told AFP outside the cathedral on Tuesday.