Tue, 11 May 2021

PARIS, France: French President Emmanuel Macron visited the site of the fire that devastated Notre Dame cathedral two years ago.

"We're seeing here how, in two years, a huge job has been accomplished," Macron said.

He recalled the feelings in France when fire struck Notre Dame on April 15, 2019. "We also see what remains to be done."

Macron was escorted by ministers, architects and the retired French army general who is supervising the rebuilding of the 12th-century cathedral. Macron pledged that Notre Dame would be rebuilt by 2024, though he acknowledges that all work will not be completed by then.

Macron also directed his words to those workers at the cathedral, offering a "huge thank you".

"We will need to meet our goals" set for three years from now, Macron said.

Some have speculated that the cathedral could take 20 to 30 years to be completed.

At the same time, officials have said part of the cathedral will be open for prayer and a "return to worship" in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which Paris is hosting.

"The objective...is to return Notre Dame to worshippers and to visits in 2024. That means that in 2024, mass will be able to be organized in the cathedral," Jeremie Patrier-Leitus, a spokesperson for the restoration, told The Associated Press.

"Notre Dame is holding up. It is still there. We are all gathered and mobilized to restore the cathedral and give this jewel of French Gothic architecture back to the world," said Patrier-Leitus.

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