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Officials Say Notre Dame Still in Danger, Only '50% Chance' It Can Be Saved

Notre Dame, the landmark cathedral in the heart of Paris, was nearly destroyed in a devastating fire last April. Flames engulfed the 850-year-old building, decimating the iconic structure's spire and stunning vaulted ceilings. And while work is still underway to salvage the building and ultimately rebuild it, France's Army General Jean-Louis Georgelin admitted Notre Dame remains in a "state of peril." 

"Notre Dame is not saved because... there is an extremely important step ahead, which is to remove the scaffolding that had been built around the spire," the General recently told CNews. According to the report, there is still concern that building's vaulted ceilings could collapse as a result. "To make sure, we need to inspect them, to remove the rubble that is still on them, it's very difficult work that we have started," he said. 

A rector of the church, Monsignor Patrick, told the Associated Press last month that Notre Dame has a 50% chance of survival. "Today it is not out of danger,” he said during a Christmas Eve midnight Mass, adding that the structure is still fragile. "It will be out of danger when we take out the remaining scaffolding.”

That test will come later this year. Travel & Leisure reports the scaffolding removal is planned for mid-2020, but should things go well, restoration work will resume in 2021 with hopes of a 2024 completion for the Olympic games.

The decision on how to rebuild the church's iconic spire and ceilings remains a question. In fact, there has been much debate over whether the spire should be rebuilt at all -- for context, it was added in 1859. A competition will be held for the redesign, and according to Georgelin, only after that will they rule on whether or not to move forward. 

h/tTravel & Leisure


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 Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her @MegSchaltegger.