Notre- Dame’s crum­bling gar­goyles need help

Global Times - - Mosaic -

The Arch­bishop of Paris is on a 100 mil­lion euro ($ 120 mil­lion) fundrais­ing drive to save the crum­bling gar­goyles and gothic arches of the sto­ried Notre- Dame cathe­dral.

Ev­ery year 12- 14 mil­lion peo­ple visit the 12th cen­tury Parisian land­mark on an is­land in the Seine River. Build­ing be­gan around 850 years ago, but pol­lu­tion and the pass­ing of time have chipped off large chunks of stone.

“If we don’t do these restora­tion works, we’ll risk see­ing parts of the ex­te­rior struc­ture be­gin to fall. This is a very se­ri­ous risk,” said Michel Pi­caud, president of the Friends of Notre- Dame char­ity set up by the arch­bishop.

Church offi cials, who have cre­ated what they are calling a “stone ceme­tery” from fallen ma­sonry, say the cathe­dral re­mains safe to visit.

En­try to the cathe­dral is free and the French state, which owns the build­ing, de­votes 2 mil­lion euros a year to re­pairs. But that is not enough to em­bark on ma­jor restora­tion works, the last of which were car­ried out dur­ing the 1800s, offi cials at the cathe­dral and char­ity said.

Notre- Dame has long drawn tourists from around the world. It is most fa­mous in pop­u­lar cul­ture as the lo­cale for 19th cen­tury au­thor Victor Hugo’s “The Hunch­back of Notre- Dame”, and fi lms of the same name in­clud­ing the 1939 clas­sic with Charles Laughton and the 1996 Dis­ney mu­si­cal an­i­ma­tion.

The lat­ter in par­tic­u­lar raised the cathe­dral’s profi le for mod­ern- day tourists from China to the US.

Church au­thor­i­ties hope the cathe­dral’s world­wide fame will at­tract donors, par­tic­u­larly from the US.

“Gar­goyles are what peo­ple want to see when they come to Paris. If there are no more gar­goyles, what will they see?” Notre- Dame com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief An­dre Finot said.

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