More than 1,000 international architectural experts have urged President Emmanuel Macron to drop his “unrealistic” insistence on rebuilding Notre-Dame within five years after a huge fire destroyed its roof and spire.
Some 1,170 leading academics and architects from France, Britain, the United States and other countries signed an open letter in Le Figaro newspaper on Monday pleading for the French government to allow time to decide how to tackle the restoration.
Rushing ahead with a plan that could prove ill-conceived would be disastrous, they warned.
“We know that the political calendar requires quick action, we know how much a disfigured Notre-Dame affects the image of France,” the letter says. “[But] the challenge of these works goes far beyond political terms of office, beyond generations, and we will be judged by how we respond.”
The letter emphasises the enormous cultural importance of the cathedral in the heart of Paris, not just to France but across the globe. “The whole world watched as Notre-Dame was engulfed by flames,” it points out.