Paris’s Gothic cathedral was devastated by a huge fire in April 2019, leaving it badly damaged and causing the 19th-century spire to collapse.
In May 2019 president Emmanuel Macron confirmed that the spire would be rebuilt exactly as it had been before the fire.
Debate reignites about revamping the damaged interior
However, the debate over the most appropriate way to renovate Notre-Dame was reignited last week when reports emerged about the planned revamp of the cathedral’s interiors.
Maurice Culot, a Paris-based architect and critic, told the Daily Telegraph it was “as if Disney were entering Notre-Dame”.
“What they are proposing to do to Notre-Dame would never be done to Westminster Abbey or Saint Peter’s in Rome,” he said. “It’s a kind of theme park and very childish and trivial given the grandeur of the place.”
So, what are the proposals? The modifications relate to parts of the cathedral that were left comparatively unaffected by the fire.
We only want to make it accessible
Church officials involved in planning the renovation say that the changes will help explain Christianity to the cathedral’s millions of annual visitors in a more accessible way.
Visitors would be led on a ‘discovery trail‘ through themed chapels, including one with a strong environmental focus and quotes from the Bible would be projected onto chapel walls.
What’s the point?
As a Christian I welcome the plans to make Christianity relevant and understandable to visitors. After all that is the whole point of the cathedral’s purpose, however much of an icon it is.
I also recognise the value of good branding and look forward to the right compromise being reached.
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