Inside Notre Dame Cathedral restoration ahead of summer Olympic games in Paris

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Monday, July 8, 2024
A look inside Notre Dame restoration progress ahead of Paris Olympics
We are getting a look inside the ongoing restoration effort at Notre Dame Cathedral as workers are trying to make significant progress before the start of the Paris Olympics.

PARIS -- With the summer Olympic games just days away, the millions of people expected to visit Paris will see Notre Dame Cathedral begin to emerge at last, following five painstaking years of restoration.

The refurbishment of the 800-year-old symbol of French history and culture of now nearly 90% complete, showing off gleaming new stone, freshly laid tiles and revamped paintwork.

And the roof and spire, which millions around the world watched crash to the ground in the 2019 fire, are now almost finished.

ABC's Foreign Correspondent James Longman first stood on the roof in 2021 and saw up close the gaping hole still open to the elements. When he went back in December 2023, the pieces were coming together.

ABC News' James Longman revisited Notre Dame and has a look at the newly erected spire ahead of the planned reopening in December of 2024.

But now, the scaffolding from the spire is nearly gone and tiles cover the timber, a sign of hope and progress.

"We have finished the work of the wood to build this spire, and now we work on the roof," said Philip Jost, head of restoration.

It's a colossal project with a massive undertaking. Two thousand workers, from carpenters to artists to metalworkers, are making these changes to meet the December 2024 deadline for reopening and it's no easy feat.

Jost says the cost so far is 700 million euros, with the team in the final stretch.

"People will come to the games and they will see the spire and the roof, the opening of the cathedral," said Jost.

Notre Dame will only be a spectator to the opening ceremony of the summer Olympic games in Paris, which will run just outside of the cathedral along the river Seine, but it's own unveiling in December promises to be just as spectacular.