Watch CBS News

Cross restored to Notre Dame cathedral more than 5 years after fire

Cross restored to roof of Notre Dame cathedral
Cross restored to roof of Notre Dame cathedral over 5 years after fire 02:37

The cross at the apse of Notre-Dame de Paris, which survived the devastating 2019 fire, was reinstalled atop the cathedral's framework Friday after a meticulous restoration by artistic ironworkers from Normandy.

The imposing cross, spanning 40 feet and weighing about 3,300 pounds, is the only element of the choir roof that resisted the flames.

"The cross fell really early in the fire," Vincent Combe, project manager for Metal Roofing Renovation, told CBS News. "So we were really lucky because the cross didn't burn a lot, she just fell just…it's a miracle."

Notre Dame cross restored
Workers put back in place the cross of the apse of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, in Paris on May 24, 2024. JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

The cross was taken to an ironworks in Normandy for complex and delicate repairs. Architect Axelle Ponsonnet was involved in checking it could be repaired to the original 19th century design by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

"We were really happy to discover that we would be able to use it, and forge it again, and work with the metal that was here, because the cross was designed by Viollet-le-Duc, so it's a very important piece of Notre Dame," Ponsonnet told CBS News.

Approximately 250 companies and hundreds of craftsmen, architects, and professionals have contributed to the ongoing restoration project, aiming for the cathedral's reopening on Dec. 8, 2024.

The fire, which occurred on April 15, 2019, caused the collapse of Notre-Dame's spire and part of its roof. Five years later, the restoration has made significant progress, including the reinstallation of the spire's lead-covered needle.

The 2019 fire was a significant blow to the cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site and a symbol of Christianity that welcomed 12 million visitors each year.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.