Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris will collapse unless $110 million can be raised to pay for urgent repairs, conservationists have warned.
The Gothic masterpiece, which dates from 1345, needs extensive work done on most areas including its spire, stained glass windows and stonework after centuries of pollution and northern European weather.
The Catholic cathedral was last restored in 1845. Recently, large cracks have appeared across its façade near the main western entrance. It’s even been speculated that he supporting structure holding up the windows could collapse in the event of a storm.
Michel Picaud, of the Friends of Notre Dame de Paris foundation, said the work needs to be carried out within six to 10 years.
“There is no part of the building untouched by the irreparable loss of sculptural and decorative elements, let alone the alarming deterioration of structural elements,” warned the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris foundation on its website.
One of the main concerns of conservationists are the cathedral’s flying buttresses. “Should even one of these structural pylons fail because of the damaged stonework, the consequences would be disastrous,” according to a further warning on the website.
Notre-Dame attracts 14 million visitors each year, making it one of France’s premier tourist attractions.