Huge wooden trusses hoisted on to roof of Notre Dame in Paris

Operation to rebuild much-loved monument hits new milestone

A crane lifts a huge oak frame at Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, Tuesday, July 11, 2023 in Paris.  The panels are due to be reassembled on the top of Notre Dame to replace the roof that flames turned into ashes in 2019.  (AP Photo / Christophe Ena)
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In a spectacular operation to rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral, massive oak trusses were hoisted from a barge on to the Paris monument on Tuesday.

Huge crowds gathered along a bridge over the Seine River and on its banks to watch trusses weighing 7 to 7.5 tonnes moved into place in the delicate operation.

“I think it’s a magical moment for a lot of Parisians this morning,” said Transport Minister Clement Beaune, noting that the Seine will be at the centre of the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.

Gen Jean-Louis Georgelin, appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron to oversee the Notre Dame’s reconstruction, said that even the heavy traffic expected during the summer games will not stop work on the world-renowned cathedral.

“We will work for the cathedral during the Olympics in order to be ready in December 2024,” he said. “This is our goal.”

Notre Dame, which oversees old Paris from an island on the Seine, was consumed by flames in 2019, and it was decided to rebuild the monument using methods of yore.

Notre Dame cathedral reconstruction - in pictures

Expert carpenters used medieval methods to construct the trusses – measuring 14 to 16 metres wide and 12 to 13 metres high.

Guided by ropes, they were being placed on the roof around the area of the spire, which crumbled to ashes during the fire, and the two arms of the transept, the wooden skeleton of Notre Dame.

A statement said the silhouette of Notre Dame, now enmeshed in scaffolding, should emerge on the skyline as work advances.

Updated: July 11, 2023, 10:11 PM