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French Senate Says Notre-Dame Must Be Restored to Previous State, Halting Plans for Creative Redesigns

A new bill suggests that the landmark should be returned to the state it was in before the tragic fire.


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Don’t get too excited about the new proposal ideas and pitches for rebuilding Notre-Dame—if the French Senate has anything to do with it, the iconic monument will be reconstructed as it was last known before falling to a tragic fire.

Since the fire in early April, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has put out a call asking designers around the world to start thinking of how they would rebuild the cathedral. The designs have ranged everywhere from downright outlandish (think: turning the cathedral into a McDonald’s) to inspiring (a greenhouse encouraging people to sit back and rest a little bit). In contradiction, the French Senate has just proposed a bill that would call for Notre-Dame to be rebuilt as it was before the fire, according to French newspaper Le Monde. That would put an end to the creative ideas for the roof and spire coming from designers around the world.

There is a small bit of wiggle room. The bill states that any use of new materials—in other words, materials not originally included in the previous design—will need to be justified. There’s no word on the hoops they'll have to jump through to justify said materials, but it sounds like they’re open-minded.

Related: New Potential Design for the Notre-Dame Cathedral Marries Living Forest With Glass Ceiling

There’s a bit of work that needs to be done before this is written into law. Two more groups—the Députés of the National Assembly and the senators—will need to collaborate and agree on the bill text before it can be presented to both houses. From there, it all comes down to how the houses vote on the legislature. Should the bill pass, the project would be overseen by the Ministry of Culture and would need to follow all standards and regulations other building projects adhere to. Given Emmanuel Macron’s statement that the new Notre-Dame will be ready before the 2024 Olympics, it seems that this bill would put a huge wrench in that timeline.


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