Immediate impacts

Chapter 1  Political Decisions

Jean-François Lagneau

In the late evening of 15 April, President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo were present at the scene. In a short speech, the President underscored the symbolic importance of the cathedral in the history of France before announcing that it would be rebuilt. To emphasize the fact that the rebuilding would be a collective work, he planned a national and international fundraising calling on the greatest talents.

In another speech delivered the next day, President Macron declared that the cathedral would be rebuilt to be "even more beautiful" This, he said, would be achieved in five years and he insisted on the unifying power that this operation would have for the nation.

On 17 April, the Prime Minister went into detail about the bill that would be proposed to the French Parliament.

Two important points emerged: the creation of a specific public administrative body to manage the work and the launch of an international architectural competition for the reconstruction of the spire.

Three options emerged:

  • Should the spire be rebuilt?
  • If so, should it replicate Viollet-le-Duc’s spire?
  • Or, alternatively, should a new spire be created that represents our present era, and that is sympathetic to the evolution and heritage of the cathedral?

Even before the international architectural competition was launched, and after several architects made outlandish proposals, a general consensus was reached among both architects and the population. Following consultation with the National Commission of Historic Monuments, the Minister of Culture, Roseline Bachelot, officially announced in July 2020 that the spire would in fact be rebuilt according to Viollet-le-Duc’s design.

Chapter 2  Profusion of Architectural Projects

Benjamin Mouton, Jean-François Lagneau

The day after the fire, the President of the Republic declared that the reconstruction work and the refitting of the surroundings would be the topic of an international architectural competition.

Without waiting, the "moderns" launched the battle against the "ancients"; innumerable proposals, often from architects, sprang up: fanciful or zany projects, often unrealistic, and which unfortunately most often turned their backs on the cathedral, whose architecture and structure they did not understand.