• After a fire in April 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral has been gradually rebuilt over the past five years.
  • Challenges included delays during the pandemic and the loss of the project manager.
  • The restoration of the Paris monument is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a tragic fire in April 2019 is a story of commitment and recovery.

The iconic medieval monument, immortalized in history, film and literature, has been gradually rebuilt over the past five years, despite challenges that included delays during the pandemic and the loss of the project leader.

Completion is scheduled for the end of 2024.


Here is a timeline of events during the restoration.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral is seen at sunrise in Paris, France. After a fire in April 2019, the cathedral has been gradually rebuilt over the past five years. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

April 2019 – A fire ravages Notre Dame, collapsing the roof and tower and destroying the interior, sparking a global wave of solidarity. A massive effort to restore the cathedral’s splendor is underway, with French President Emmanuel Macron promising to complete it within five years.

June 2020 – The pandemic is delaying work on the cathedral, but the removal of the charred scaffolding that had enveloped the tower during previous restoration work was a significant step.

August 2020 – Efforts begin to restore the organ that once thundered through the cathedral – France’s largest musical instrument. The 8,000-pipe organ survived the fire, but was covered in toxic lead dust. Disassembly, cleaning and reassembly are expected to be completed later this year.

March 2021 – The first of an expected 1,000 historic French oaks destined for the tower’s reconstruction are selected in the Bercé Forest in France’s Loire region.

September 2021 – Work to secure the structure is finally complete after carpenters, scaffolding experts, climbers and others helped build temporary structures and a special giant “umbrella” to protect the roofless building’s towers, vaults and walls. Tendering for the remainder of the renovation begins.

Spring 2022 – Workshops of master glassmakers and locksmiths from across France begin the laborious process of cleaning and restoring the cathedral’s famous stained glass windows. Help is also coming from abroad: Cologne Cathedral is restoring four windows.


July 2023 – Solid oak trusses are raised atop Notre Dame, luring Parisians to witness a so-called magical moment tied to preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

August 2023 – France mourns the sudden death of General Jean-Louis Georgelin, the French army general who was tasked with overseeing the restoration. President Macron praises him as the “greatest soldier” who is committed to restoring Notre Dame “stone by stone.”

December 2023 – A golden rooster, reinterpreted as a phoenix, is placed back on top of the cathedral’s tower, symbolizing the rebirth of Notre Dame. Religious relics, including parts of Jesus Christ’s alleged crown of thorns, are housed in a time capsule inside the golden bird.

February 2024 – Scaffolding is removed to reveal the cathedral’s new tower, decorated with the golden rooster and a cross. It offers a glimpse into the future as Notre Dame approaches its grand reopening.

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