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Golden rooster fitted to spire of Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral

Notre Dame's new golden rooster was designed by architect Philippe Villeneuve
Notre Dame's new golden rooster was designed by architect Philippe Villeneuve - Copyright AFP Ed JONES
Notre Dame's new golden rooster was designed by architect Philippe Villeneuve - Copyright AFP Ed JONES
Philippe GRELARD

Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral got a new golden rooster on Saturday, part of its renaissance from the ashes of the 2019 fire that severely damaged it, and ahead of its reopening next year.

The artefact was blessed by the archbishop of Paris Laurent Ulrich before being lifted into place on the cathedral spire 96 metres (104 yards) high, in blue skies and winter sunshine.

The new rooster, designed by Philippe Villeneuve, one of the architects leading the restoration of the cathedral, replaces the original, which was too damaged by the fire to be saved. 

Villeneuve said the new rooster’s “wings of fire” were a reminder that “the cathedral can be reborn from the ashes, like a phoenix”.

In the Christian faith, the rooster symbolises the return of light after night-time. It is also one of the symbols of France, found on the strips of the national football and rugby teams, among others.

The new rooster also contains relics saved from the April 15, 2019 cathedral fire, and a sealed document with the names of those who worked on its reconstruction.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the cathedral on December 8, a year to the day before its planned reopening, to which he intends to invite Pope Francis.

Macron had initially promised to have Notre Dame restored within five years, in time for the Paris Olympics next summer.

But after early setbacks in the rebuilding effort, he set a new deadline.

Restoration of the UNESCO-listed building, which had 12 million visitors a year, has hit several snags since people around the world watched aghast as its steeple crashed down in the blaze on April 15, 2019.

Since then, more than 848 million euros has been raised from donations towards its restoration.

The plan is that, once reopened, the cathedral will be able to receive 14 million visitors a year.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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