Scaffolding has been successfully removed from the roof of Paris’ Notre Dame more than a year after the historic cathedral caught fire, representing a critical step in its lengthy and arduous restoration process

By Alison Fox
November 30, 2020 10:45 AM
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MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images
| Credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Scaffolding has been successfully removed from the roof of Paris’ Notre Dame more than a year after the historic cathedral caught fire, representing a critical step in its lengthy and arduous restoration process.

Experts had worried the 200 tons of scaffolding may have melded to the cathedral during the fire, which broke out in April 2019, sparking fears it could potentially cause more damage to the structure when it was removed, The Associated Press Reported on Tuesday. The building had been under construction at the time of the fire.

Credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

While the scaffolding had not collapsed with the blaze, it was “deformed by the heat of the fire” the wire service reported, citing Notre Dame restoration officials.

On Tuesday, the cathedral celebrated, posting a photo taken from above the iconic building.

“Congratulations to the teams… who today completed the dismantling of the scaffolding,” Notre Dame wrote in the Instagram post.

The latest development marks a major step forward in the effort to restore and eventually reopen Notre Dame with completion of the project planned by 2024. It comes a few months after people were once again allowed to visit the public plaza in front of Notre Dame following the removal of toxic lead dust from the fire, as well as the reopening of the crypt below the building, which was not damaged in the blaze but also affected by the toxic dust.

Restoration work on the Parisian gothic cathedral continued despite the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the country into a lockdown amid a second wave of the contagious virus. The lockdown measures even forced Disneyland Paris to close through at least February 2021, according to the park.

On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron announced in a televised address that he would ease the lockdown starting Saturday, allowing businesses to reopen in time for the holiday shopping season and allowing people to travel up to 20 kilometers for outdoor exercise, The BBC reported. If the numbers allow it, that will be followed by the reopening of bars, theaters and museums on Dec. 15, and then restaurants on Jan. 20.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

This story originally appeared on travelandleisure.com