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International architects to compete for Notre-Dame restoration

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe made the announcement following a cabinet meeting

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe gave a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting, dominated by the aftermath of the Notre-Dame cathedral fire. AFP
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe gave a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting, dominated by the aftermath of the Notre-Dame cathedral fire. AFP

Architects from around the world will be given the opportunity to compete to design the restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral, the French prime minister has announced.

The cathedral was gutted by a fire on Monday evening, sparking an outpouring of grief for the 12th-century landmark. Firefighters are still examining damage and shoring up the structure after the blaze collapsed the cathedral's spire and destroyed the roof.

The brief is for experts to decide if the 295-foot tall spire should be restored identically, or "give Notre-Dame a new spire that is adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era," Mr Philippe told a press conference in Paris Wednesday.

Mr Philippe's announcement comes as President Emmanuel Macron promised the 850-year-old building would be rebuilt "even more beautifully" within five years.

Donors have so far pledged more than 800 million euros for the effort with prominent business people and ordinary citizens alike parting with their cash. The cost of any renovation is not yet known, said Mr Philippe

Later on Wednesday, Mr Philippe tweeted on the "historical responsibility" his government bears to ensure the restoration is done correctly.

"The President of the Republic has expressed an ambition. That of rebuilding Notre-Dame de Paris in 5 years. This is obviously a huge challenge. A historical responsibility. The construction of our generation for the generations that will succeed us," he posted.

Updated: April 17, 2019 03:58 PM

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