Mass to be held nearby as workers continue to repair Paris landmark eight months after devastating fire
Notre Dame cathedral will not hold a Christmas mass for the first time since 1803, French officials confirmed on Saturday, as workers continue to repair and rebuild the Paris landmark eight months after a devastating fire.
The cathedral’s press office said the rector, Patrick Chauvet, would still celebrate midnight mass on Christmas Eve, but it would be held at the nearby church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois.
Notre Dame, part of a Unesco world heritage site on the banks of the river Seine, was ravaged by the 15 April blaze, losing its gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts.
The building had remained open for Christmas through two centuries of often tumultuous history, including the Nazi occupation in the second world war. It was forced to close only during the anti-Catholic revolutionary period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has set a timetable of five years to repair the 800-year-old building, which is shrouded in scaffolding with a vast crane looming over it.
Paris prosecutors suspect criminal negligence and opened an investigation in June, suggesting a stray cigarette butt or an electrical fault could be the culprit.
The culture ministry said in October that nearly €1bn had been raised or pledged for the reconstruction.