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Think Tank:

The  Culture, World Historical Heritage & Art of Stone and Wood Commission  is a Think Tank  : an open and multidisciplinary space for reflection for a real “restoration-reconstruction” of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, which respects World Heritage of UNESCO. 


This Think Tank calls for a collective and broad reflection in order to objectively approach both tangible and intangible dimensions of this doubly global heritage due to its classification by UNESCO, but also because of its literary globality and its unrivaled popularity without that make the "Cathedral of Victor Hugo", sublimated by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the most visited monuments in the world. 


Around this masterpiece of a primitive and radiant Gothic, where medieval and medievalism are based, and where the art of marrying stone and wood is expressed with genius, we need to create a space for thoughts , where everyone can express themselves freely, in a spirit of partnership with the authorities and national institutions in charge of restoration, and with a desire to consult with the international institutions in charge of looking after World Heritage. 


Historians, intellectuals, men of letters, philosophers, scientists, architects, engineers, curators, experts and chief architects of historic monuments, trades people, companions, artists and all bearers of useful knowledge are warmly invited to listen, learn, reflect, imagine but also explain, argue, defend, and contribute together to "rebuild" this exceptional cathedral that fascinates the whole world.


The commission is open to foreign contributors, you can express yourself in any language (preferably in French, English and Spanish). Participants can freely choose their “contribution space” defined below and express themselves on several “spaces” at the same time if they wish. "Contribute without hindrance!" is the spirit of this commission.


International network:

An international network  strengthens this Think Tank ; it takes the form of a dedicated Group which has been created on the LinkedIn professional network    : " Restaurons Notre-Dame (rND): Culture, World Historical Heritage & Stone and Wood Art Commission ". It facilitates exchanges, enriches this Commission and opens it up to the world. To join this international network, you must have a personal LinkedIn profile and, from this network, apply to be part of this group.


The commission is also intended to be an observatory of current events, the evolution of thoughts and decision-making during the consolidation, restoration and reconstruction processes of Notre-Dame de Paris. 



The Culture, World Historical Heritage & Art of Stone and Wood commission of the Restaurons-Notre-Dame (rND) association can also play a mobilizing role with the media, national and international public opinion, competent institutions, and decision-makers for a real restoration-reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris according to the rules of the art and in accordance with the charters and recommendations concerning the UNESCO World Heritage.



The commission intends to create, collect and assemble documents that prove useful (directories of actors involved, charters, basic texts, declarations, press releases, petitions, etc.) in order to have them at hand and make them available for consultation by all. 


Nine spaces in charge of a Chairperson:


Space I. World Heritage 


Notre-Dame de Paris: respect for a world cultural heritage, tangible and intangible,

Reflection on the concept of authenticity and the concept of identical; the intrusion of the modern into the old; of the concept of architectural gesture during a restoration process and in a context of conservation.

Reflection on the concepts of safeguarding, preservation, conservation, restoration, repair, reconstruction, recovery, renovation, reconstruction, restitution, restoration…​

Reflection on the concept of “living” heritage in its material and intangible dimensions. 

Chairman: Alain Hays , international consultant (Green Building-Building Heritage - GBBH), graduate architect. 


Space II. World Heritage legislation 

World Heritage and Historical Monuments legislation, legal conditions for conservation and restoration (international charters and documents, standards, codes, obligations, approvals, etc.)


Space III. Notre-Dame of Hugo 

The pen and the square  - "Notre-Dame de Paris": a  world literary heritage  sublimated in stone and wood by Viollet-le-Duc. “ Notre-Dame of Hugo” worldwide . 

Notre-Dame de Paris - Cathedral of the Republic, the cathedral that has just burned before our eyes is the Hugo Cathedral by its contribution from the 19th century, in particular its  iconic spire of Viollet-le-Duc.

Valorization and recognition of a 19th century world heritage to be reconstructed - medievalism of Victor Hugo and Viollet-le Duc.​

Attachment of French and foreigners to Notre-Dame de Victor Hugo:

  • III.1. Implication of Victor Hugo in the restoration-reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris

  • III.2. Notre-Dame de Paris, a 19th Century World Heritage

  • III.3. Literary heritage [1]   still relevant today: from medieval to medievalism.

  • III.4. World tourism superstar heritage - "Notre-Dame of Hugo" effect: 12,000,000 visitors per year, twice the number of visitors to the Louvre.


  • III.5. Testimonies of attachment to Notre-Dame of Hugo

Space IV. Great intangible heritages 

Discovering the great intangible heritage of Notre-Dame de Paris: 

  • IV.1 Heritage of the layman and the sacred: spaces, time (the lost large clock), geometry, symbolism, light, music, etc.

  • IV.2 World cultural heritage: literary, pictorial, photographic and cinematographic.

  • IV.3 Heritage of knowledge of Cathedral Builders in medieval times, in the 19th century and in our time (restorers and re-builders).

Space V. Art of Stone and Wood 

Two natural and inseparable materials to restore-reconstruct Notre-Dame de Paris. 

Without wood, the great bell could not ring the stone of Notre-Dame de Paris ..."

  • Meeting of the knowledges of the Cathedral Builders around a medieval and medievalist heritage (19th century)​

  • From Compagnonnage and tradespeople, stonecutters and carpenters to curators and restorers of historic monuments.


Space VI. Great living art of Cathedral builders  

From the medieval Cathedral to the Cathedral of the Republic . From corporations to Compagnonnage. The living continuity of knowledge.

Space VII. Operational knowledge union

Operational tradition and modernity: Let's combine the knowledge of stone with that of wood!

The Union of Stone and Wood is the strength of Notre-Dame de Paris.

Establishment of strategic bridges between the proponents of stone and wood knowledge Concertation of journeymen and professionals in the wood industry with Compagnons and professionals in stone construction.


Space VIII. Guide to the Belle Ouvrage  

Gathering of Compagnons knowledge, trades and professionals. Promotion (without a chapel spirit…) and mobilization of experiences and of all the Compagnons institutions, trades, professionals likely to be concerned by the restoration-reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris.

Identification and creation of an operational directory "Guide rND" with two components: 

Part I.  Compagnons of stone, wood and roofs, from all federations, associations, and societies of Compagnons (mentioning for each their contemporary experiences in conservation and monumental restoration)

Part II.  Trades and professionals,  in particular stone, wood (from foresters to carpenters and joiners) and roofs, interested in the restoration-reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris. 

This “ rND Guide” could become a reference for all national and international actors involved in the restoration-reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris (Ministry of Culture, ICOMOS, UNESCO etc.) and subsequently useful for safeguarding heritage in general. 

Space IX. rND Observatory

Collection of national and international information about the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris, analyzes and strategies to adopt, suggestions, guidelines (observatory in conjunction with the Communication Commission).


Alain HAYS

President of the Commission:  Culture, World Historical Heritage & Art of Stone and Wood

Contact the Commission



[1]  From Ruteboeuf (1230 to 1285) - Notre-Dame de Paris was built from 1163 to 1345 - Rutebeuf was nine years old when Notre-Dame welcomed the Holy Crown in 1239 - to Walter Scott (1771-1832), leader the historical novel; d'Hugo (1802-1885 / Hugo was two years old when Napoleon was made sacred to Notre-Dame in 1804), leader of French romanticism, to Tolkien (1892-1973) leader of "fantasy" source culture and digital games on a planetary scale (Current exhibition at the BnF)




Culture, World Historical Heritage

& Art of Stone and Wood


Président: Alain HAYS

The "  Culture, World Historical Heritage & Art of Stone and Wood  " commission comes to give shape, from an operational perspective, to the manifesto "Give us back Notre-Dame de Paris" as “she” was yesterday !  which highlights three imperatives for restoration-reconstruction of the cathedral after the disastrous fire of April 15, 2019.

      1. Respect “Notre-Dame de Paris” as a World Heritage Site classified by UNESCO

      2. Respect the internationally recognized work of Victor Hugo and Viollet-le-Duc. 

      3. Respect the Medieval Art of Stone and Wood. 


This commission wishes to address, around these three imperatives, two main themes: that of World Heritage and that of the Art of Stone and Wood that encompasses the notion of "Culture" in all its tangible and intangible heritage dimensions. To keep them in mind, we have represented them by the following conceptual diagram:

DIAGRAM Culture World Heritage Art Stone
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