PARIS (AP) — Scaffolding that shrouded the top of Notre Dame cathedral following a devastating fire in April 2019 is being removed, marking a milestone in its reconstruction.
As the shell at the summit has been taken down in recent days, it has revealed the cathedral’s new spire for the first time, adorned with a golden rooster and cross, offering a glimpse of the building's expected appearance upon completion.
A resident near the cathedral, Frederico Benani, who witnessed the 2019 blaze, felt emotional Tuesday at seeing the spire once more.
“I can open the window in the morning. I see Notre Dame. I see the spire — it’s for me, beautiful and it’s much better (than) before," Benani said. "It gives us hope."
There has been anticipation among Paris residents as Notre Dame is on track to reopen Dec. 8. The cathedral will not be open to the public during the Paris Olympics in July and August, when the city will host millions for the Summer Games.
Much of the cathedral remains surrounded by scaffolding, which could take weeks if not months to remove. The spire alone, cathedral officials said, was protected by some 70,000 pieces of scaffolding, totaling a dizzying 600 tons.
In a symbol of resilience and renewal, a new golden rooster, reimagined as a phoenix with flaming feathers, was installed atop the spire in December, marking the cathedral’s rise from the ashes.
Other restoration efforts include the implementation of an anti-fire misting system beneath the cathedral’s roof and the recreation of the original cross.