French president Emmanuel Macron visited Notre-Dame de Paris on December 8, and announced that restoration plans were on schedule for the cathedral to reopen to worshippers and tourists by the same date next year.

Deadlines will be met. It is a formidable image of hope and of a France that has rebuilt itself,” said Macron. The partial reopening will come more than five years after a fire destroyed the cathedral’s nave, choir, transept, and iconic spire.

Macron visited the restored spire, which is in its final stages of installation. In 2020, the French president announced that the spire should be rebuilt as an exact replica of the previous one: an eight-faced structure decorated with gargoyles, bay arches, and quatrefoils.

The previous spire was created by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century following the removal of the damaged original 13th century spire in the 18th century. The new spire was completed in a workshop in Lorraine and is made of around 1000 wooden pieces, requiring 600-ton of scaffolding to install it.

Renovations at the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, 2023. Photo by Christophe Ena / POOL / AFP.

A new Notre-Dame museum was announced, too, which will document the history of the Cathedral including the processes it has undergone as part of its reconstruction. Macron also said he plans to invite contemporary artists to design six new stained-glass windows for the south side of the cathedral.

The December 2024 date does not mark the end of all of the renovations. Restorations—which are said will cost €846 million ($865 million)—are expected to continue until 2028. In 2020, General Georgelin who was in charge of the rebuild until his death in August, said that the cathedral would reopen in April 2024 in time for Paris hosting the 33rd Olympic Games in the summer.

Fire broke out in the eaves of Notre-Dame on April 15, 2019. The first fire alarm went off at 6.30 p.m. Soon after, the 13th century lattice “forest” supporting the roof was entirely burned away, meaning that at 7.30 p.m., the spire had collapsed and fell through the roof. The fire burned until the following morning when it was controlled by a team of 400 firefighters. No works of art or stained-glass windows were damaged in the blaze except for the Touret altar, and the main structure of the building did not collapse. The first two years after the blaze were spent securing the building before restorations could begin in earnest.

Restoration projects for the cathedral had already been underway since 2017 to strengthen the building following damage from the elements and time. The Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris charity began a $135 million campaign, and following the fire, raised $10.6 million from international donors who included high-profile figures such as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Jeff Bezos.

Next year, furnishings including statues, artwork, and the organ will be brought back into the cathedral after the waterproofing of the roof is completed. In his remarks, Macron mentioned that he hoped that Pope Francis would be in attendance when the cathedral is reopened.