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China and France to jointly repair Notre Dame de Paris

Updated: Nov 7, 2019 By Wang Kaihao chinadaily.com.cn Print
An exhibition of Chinese cultural relics from Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) at the Guimet Museum in Paris in 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Macron had previously stated that the renovation of the badly damaged cathedral would be completed in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, but the French government has remained careful about mapping out a specific plan for its renovation involving international partners. 

In August, the independent California-based publishing company GoArchitect organized a worldwide competition on the future renovation plans for the destroyed roof. A blueprint drafted by two Chinese architects living in the United States stood out from nearly 300 plans and was awarded the winner — but has since yet to be selected as the official design.

Although the specific themes and time frame for Sino-French cooperation on Notre Dame Cathedral is yet to be formally set out, Chai Xiaoming, director of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, said China can not only contribute general ideas but also detailed technical plans for the upcoming renovation. 

"China has a great deal of experience in renovating ancient buildings affected by fire, especially ones made of wood," Chai tells China Daily. "This means we could offer suggestions on how to approach the renovation of the oak-framed roof on Notre Dame Cathedral."

Speaking of the conservation of stone relics, Chai cited that his academy completed a decadelong research project at the Chengde Mountain Resort, a former royal resort of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Hebei province and a UNESCO World Heritage site, where they tailored many solutions to damaged or weakened stones using techniques of traditional Chinese craftsmanship.

"For example, burning incense in traditional rituals has left thick layers of soot on many ancient Chinese temples," he adds, "So we also have a rich experience of cleaning ancient architecture, which might be useful to the work at Notre Dame."

Liu emphasizes that cooperation between China and France would benefit "mutual learning". 

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