Construction crews are racing to meet the deadline of 2024 set by French President Emmanuel Macron. A jury headed by Anne Hidalgo, Paris Mayor, has announced the winner project for the redevelopment area around the cathedral.
Bas Smets (Belgian landscape architect) is leading the project. He has a team that includes GRAU, an architecture agency Neufville-Gayet, and a team of 52 million euros ($54 millions).
The plan is expected to be completed in 2027. It calls for a more welcoming and greener Notre-Dame.
Smets stated that there were three main points: first, it was to reveal the cathedral; second, to improve the connection to the Seine and thirdly to multiply the uses by this climatic approach." Smets spoke to ABC News.
Smets stated that a 400-meter-long park will be created along the Seine. It will allow people to picnic and play in the magnificent spot, which is located between the south facades of the cathedral, and the Seine. "Behind our cathedral, we'll make a large lawn of 17,000 m (4,2 acres), which is as big as the lawn behind the Luxembourg Gardens."
The cathedral's chestnut trees will be surrounded by 131 new trees. These include hackberries, maples, hornbeams, alders, and a few Oaks. This is a tribute to the cathedral’s oak-made frame, which was damaged in the 2019 fire.
Smets stated that the underground parking garage under the cathedral square will become a reception center called "le passage". It will accommodate nearly 1,000 people, and will include luggage storage, meeting rooms, and access to the cathedral’s archeological crypt.
Smets stated that along the Seine, they will open the walls at the quays to allow direct access to the Seine through the passage. This is a "critical place" in the undertaking.
Cousins Emma Quiquemelle (19 years old) and Amelie Vieites (20 years old), from Tours praised the redevelopment of the site while they were there on Saturday.
Vieites claimed that planting trees would be "really beneficial" in reducing pollution. Quiquemelle, however, stated to ABC News that there are not many green spaces in Paris so it could encourage young people to sit down.
Omar Miloudi (36), a tourist from Algiers, agreed. He noted that it was "a little too hot" for tourists to visit tourist sites in summer.
It's a brilliant idea! Brian Astl, 47, spoke out about the plans for new greenery. Astl visited Canada from Toronto with his family. He said that he was excited to return to the grounds for a picnic.
Officials hope that the improved Notre-Dame will attract 12,000,000 visitors annually and appeal to Parisians as well as tourists.
The cathedral grounds work is expected to start in the second half 2024.