The cathedral is hoped to be rebuilt within five years.
Devout Catholics will be welcomed by a wooden “ephemeral cathedral” when they visit the fire-ravaged Notre Dame in Paris. The temporary structure is to be built on the esplanade, an open area in the front of Notre Dame, and it would remain in place until the medieval Cathedral reopens to the public. The idea to build a temporary structure was proposed by Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, the chief priest of Notre Dame and his recommendation was quickly accepted by Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris. He wanted to provide the Catholic faithful a place where they can congregate until Notre Dame is fully restored to its former glory. Chauvet did not want the place to be shut for five years. Mayor Hidalgo has consented to give a slice of the esplanade for the wooden structure to be built. The French Government owns both Notre Dame and the adjacent esplanade. Other than the faithful, tourists are also expected to be visitors to the temporary one. Approximately 13 million visitors queue up every year to see the Notre Dame Cathedral.
The esplanade is located to the front of Notre Dame’s signature twin towers. It is over a known crypt containing ancient artifacts. President Emmanuel Macron of France said the government would rebuild the 850-year-old Notre Dame within five years. According to the government, it would initiate a global architecture contest. The winning company will replace the age-old steeple which burned down during the blazing fire. The inferno of April 15 brought the noted architectural piece down, along with a significant portion of the roof. Chauvet assured everyone that the temporary cathedral will be quickly installed. Work on this will start soon after the esplanade re-opens and work done to stabilize the cathedral gets completed.
The Paris police announced on April 18 that their investigation has unearthed an electrical short circuit as to the cause of the fire. Although the blaze led to the complete destruction of the spire, volunteers were able to take away the world famous rose windows and bell towers, and other artifacts including the beautiful organ. Until the time the temporary structure will be built, visitors cannot enter the area. Chauvet wants the temporary structure to be attractive, beautiful, and symbolic. It is believed the fire was accidentally initiated by restoration work which was previously done on the now broken steeple.