PHOTOS: new spire is put in place at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

The name of the general given the role of overseeing the cathedral’s reconstruction but who died in a hiking accident in August will be engraved on it

The new spire is a copy of that fitted in 1859, designed by French architect Viollet-le-Duc
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The new spire has been fitted on Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and includes a special homage to General Georgelin who directed the reconstruction project until his death in a hiking accident this summer.

President Macron visited the cathedral on December 8 to oversee the historic reinstallation of the spire, which is an exact replica of the one destroyed by the fire of April 15, 2019.

The head of the Notre Dame reconstruction project, General Georgelin died in a hiking accident in August 2023.

Read more: General leading Notre-Dame restoration in Paris dies on mountain hike

Pic: David Bordes / Rebâtir Notre-Dame de Paris

Unveiling the new spire, Mr Macron paid homage to General Georgelin.

“The general’s name will be engraved into the wood of the spire to commemorate the decisive role that this great servant of the state played in managing the project,” he said.

The destroyed spire, fitted in 1859, was designed by French architect Viollet-le-Duc, and replaced the cathedral’s original 13th Century spire, which had been weakened by centuries of wind and decay.

However, the choice to recreate the 1859 spire has upset ecologists, with Greenpeace saying on X (formerly Twitter) that its use of 400 tonnes of lead is “an environmental scandal”.

Even in small doses, lead is extremely toxic, and represents a danger for children and pregnant women in particular.

Read also: Notre-Dame fire: What is France doing to protect its other cathedrals?

General Georgelin defended the use of lead in the cathedral’s reconstruction to the Senate in January 2023.

“We will never see a child wandering around on the roof,” he said. “We will never have a child licking the lead chains of the spire. In other words, the risk is precisely zero.”

The general, who spoke to The Connexion in July was adamant that the €846million reconstruction would be complete by the target date of December 2024.

“It is a challenge that France will win, and it is to France’s credit that it has taken it up and succeeded,” he said.

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