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France invites Russian experts to restore Notre Dame - ambassador

Governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug Natalya Komarova revealed that the region also has specialists who can be of assistance in restoring the iconic cathedral
Governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug - Yugra Natalya Komarova and French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie-Agnes Bermann Alexey Cherenkov/TASS
Governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug - Yugra Natalya Komarova and French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie-Agnes Bermann
© Alexey Cherenkov/TASS

KHANTY-MANSIYSK, November 16. /TASS/. France has appealed to Russia for assistance in restoring the Notre-Dame Cathedral ravaged by fire earlier this year, French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie-Agnes Bermann told reporters on Saturday during her working visit to the Khanty-Mansi Region.

"We are maintaining contacts on this issue. We have invited Russian experts who will help us to restore the Notre-Dame Cathedral. We invited them officially and are very grateful for their help," the ambassador said in Khanty-Mansiysk.

In turn, Governor of the region Natalya Komarova revealed that the region also has specialists who can be of assistance in restoring the iconic cathedral. "There are talented woodwork specialists who are willing to take part in cathedral restoration projects," she said.

In November 2019, Bermann was on a working visit to another Russian region of Saratov, where she announced that France might need Russia’s experts to restore Notre Dame. According to her, the first stage of restoration is to consolidate the organization responsible for the cathedral’s restoration. In addition, at the 8th St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum Russian Special Presidential Envoy for International and Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy told reporters that Russia would make a decision on participating in the restoration of the cathedral in Paris in January and that Moscow is expecting to receive the French invitation before the end of the year.

The fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral broke out in the evening on April 15, it was fully extinguished only the next morning. According to the preliminary data, the restoration works provoked a blaze on the upper levels of the Cathedral, however, it is still unclear what caused the initial spark. The fire destroyed the top part of the spire, clock and most of the roof.

For centuries, the Notre Dame Cathedral has been one of the most famous building in Paris, it is designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. The cathedral’s foundation stone was laid in 1163 under Louis VII, 2013 marked Notre Dame’s 850th anniversary. The French authorities and businessmen pledged to allocate hundreds of millions of euros to restore one of the main sights of Paris. France also received offers to help from Russia, the UK, Germany and other countries. French Culture Minister Franck Riester reported in October that overall more than 100 million euros was received to fund the cathedral’s restoration.