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Restoration of France's fire-damaged Nantes cathedral to take at least 3 years

Firefighters climb to inspect the damage to Nantes Cathedral in western France, July 18, 2020.
Firefighters climb to inspect the damage to Nantes Cathedral in western France, July 18, 2020. © Sebastien Salom-Gomis, AFP
2 min

Restoration of the 15th century cathedral in the French city of Nantes that was hit by fire last week will take at least 3 years, chief architect Pascal Prunet told a press conference on Wednesday.

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The fire engulfed the inside of the Gothic structure in flames on Saturday. Authorities said they suspected arson and are continuing to investigate the incident.

Experts are in the middle of carrying out a study of the exact damage that has been done. Local authorities said it was too early to say how much the restoration would cost.

An organ dating from 1621 – which had survived both the anti-Catholic violence of the French Revolution and bombardment  during the Second World War – was destroyed in the blaze.

Also lost were priceless artefacts and paintings, including a work by 19th century artist Hippolyte Flandrin and stained glass windows which contained remnants of 16th century glass.

 About 100 firefighters managed to save the main structure of the cathedral, which took more than 450 years to build – starting in 1434.

On Monday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire assured the country that the French state is ready to finance work to repair the cathedral.

"The state is ready to respond financially," Le Maire told French media network BTM.

The fire came just over a year after a massive fire at the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, which destroyed its roof and iconic Gothic spire – provoking an outpouring of grief across the world.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

 

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