April 15, 2019, a world heritage of humanity catches fire. Notre-Dame de Paris sees the beautiful "forest" of its Middle Ages and the sublime spire of its renaissance burn down before the eyes of the whole world: two masterpieces of wood that we absolutely must retrieve.
RESTAURONS NOTRE-DAME (rND) was thought and created from major French players in the timber industry and highly skilled carpenters. Its members come from all construction sectors. There are professionals in the conservation and restoration of historic monuments; specialists in forest resources, frames, wooden structures and roofs. There are curators, architects, heritage experts, scientists, engineers, academics, researchers, foresters, entrepreneurs and of course Compagnons.
Restaurons Notre-Dame also has, among its members, associations, institutions representing the forest-wood sector, vocational schools, Grandes Ecoles, universities, research centers and companies belonging to the worlds of construction, restoration, engineering, 3D digital modeling and Building Information Modeling (BIM).
The association welcomes and is open to all people, natural or legal, wishing to support its actions for a real restoration and reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris.
Restaurons Notre-Dame is both watchman, observer and informant.
Notre-Dame de Paris is our country’s cathedral but also of all peoples: a doubly global heritage due to its classification by UNESCO, but also by its literary globality unprecedented in the secular or sacred monuments’ history. We seek to defend it from initiatives which could prove to be unfortunate; it would unfortunately not be the first time in its long lasting History…
“If we had leisure to examine with the reader, one by one, the diverse traces of destruction imprinted upon the old church, time’s share would be the least, the share of men the most, especially the men of art…” (Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame - translated by Isabel F. Hapgood, Third book).
We keep a close eye out on the news and publications that the general public and professionals need to be educated about. We publish them as we go along, in a spirit of transparency, objectivity and sharing.
We are gradually building up an international network which facilitates exchanges, wherever they come from, to reflect together and then propose better. This is the essence of our Culture, World Historical Heritage & Art of Stone and Wood commission, with its "spaces" where we would come to listen to both the historian, the philosopher and the writer, both the scientist, the expert, the architect or contractor as the carpenter or the stonemason Compagnon, and so many other bearers of valuable knowledge…
We must rediscover the essential Gothic spirit of the extraordinary conception of Notre-Dame, when the obvious is crystal clear: Notre-Dame de Paris is the Medieval Art of marrying Stone and Wood!
Let’s gather and unite the skills and knowhow of former builders with the modernity of our knowledge and our current means; and here we are armed to face this “Centuries building site”. We must strive to resolve the problems that arise and at the very least meet the countless challenges of a restoration-reconstruction that aims to be in the rules of the art and with respect for World Heritage of Humanity. This is what our scientific and technical commission offers Wood Engineering & Roofing Expertise, which aims to bring together professional knowledge but also a qualified player in architectural proposals.
But one cannot evoke the Art of Wood, without speaking of nature and forest. This is precisely where all this Art takes its source, upstream of the beautiful work which converts the noble trees into admirable frameworks. How can we not then offer our old Cathedral a new frame cut from the same oak, from our French forests, which resisted so valiantly for more than eight hundred years? What other material could guarantee such durability without providing the same historical evidence that is expected of it? Our Forest Resource Commission will provide us with the essential insight into the history, wealth and potential of this immense natural heritage, if any.
And Wood: isn’t the most accurate symbol of an ecological material? In this time of deep questioning about the future of our planet, it is not surprising that the famous photographer and great environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, did us the honor of joining us by sponsoring Restaurons Notre-Dame.
"I cannot picture any other material but wood for this frame..." (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, official presentation of "Restaurons Notre-Dame" at the town hall of the 4th district of Paris, October 24, 2019)
And now, let's start dreaming for a second. We are in 3019. An authorized visitor of the Cathedral - a researcher? a watchman? a watchmaker? a simple worker? - is walking through the darkness of its mythical framework which has regained its millennium status. He unexpectedly discovers, engraved in ancestral oak beam, a mysterious inscription of three letters: rND! Wouldn’t you take pride in it? Thanks to us all, to have been able to contribute, each according to our means, in the anonymity of the great builders, to the fabulous renaissance, in the third millennium, of Notre-Dame de Paris.