Imagine giant wooden splints on the “ceiling” of Notre-Dame de Paris. From February to July, 30 meters high on a massive scaffolding, shoring hangers will be installed in the shape of five stone vaults weakened by the fire, in the nave, the choir and the north transept, in order to support for, no doubt, the next three years. This latest operation to secure the cathedral conditions the lifting of the police decree, which will make it possible to formally affirm that the cathedral, finally, is out of danger.
→ LARGE FORMAT. Notre-Dame de Paris is preparing for the major restoration project
The technique, in itself, is nothing new: it takes the centuries-old methods of the carpenters of cathedrals. But here, for Notre-Dame, the scale and the logistics are impressive: 52 custom-made half-hangers, each weighing one ton to 1.6 tons, will enter the building through oculus located 30 meters high. , and whose stained-glass windows have already been removed for this purpose. They will then be assembled on site, at the top of the scaffolding, where hydraulic jacks will finally “push” them against the stone vaults, so that they fit together to the nearest millimeter, at the level of the metal keystones, also made to measure.
The site of a lifetime
Seeing the pieces of this puzzle completed and ready to go, on the site of the service provider, shows the measure of this spectacular operation, and the no less impressive work of the shadow of its designers and craftsmen. Le Bras Frères is located in Jarny, 8,000 inhabitants in a rural area of Meurthe-et-Moselle. The family business with 260 employees has made historical monuments its specialty, and has already worked on some thirty cathedrals, the Louvre museum, the royal chapel of the Palace of Versailles … For Notre-Dame, each piece of hanger has been designed by its design office then carried out in its workshops.
In the vast building where elements are still cut out and where the hammer blows on the fixings echo, Lucien Monchablon, carpenter, 25, is aware of what he is going through: ” Such a titanic site, on Notre-Dame de Paris, cannot be anything other than the site of my life. “A few days ago, a” blank lifting “of the hangers, using a hydraulic jack, confirmed that the mechanic was well run.
A site under the sign of emotion
« All of France cried that night of April 15-16. And all of France is helping us today to rebuild this cathedral », Greeted Army General Jean-Louis Georgelin, visiting the site Thursday, January 21. The president of the public establishment in charge of the conservation and restoration of the cathedral, who goes there regularly, thus wished to pay tribute to all the trades currently working, in many regions, for the construction site of the cathedral, organ builders from Corrèze, Hérault and Vaucluse to master glassmakers from Aude, Côte d’Or, Eure-et-Loir and Sarthe the day after the fire .
Work quickly and well, under strong pressure, the workers and craftsmen of Le Bras Frères know how to do it. They are the ones who, at the end of 2017, had won the restoration market for the spire of Notre-Dame, they who worked on the roofs on the day of the fire, they who went through a descent into hell following the tragedy and the accusations. launched on their responsibility. Now out of the question, the company has filed a civil action.
State confidence has never wavered. From the first hours after the fire, the company was requisitioned under the imperative of urgency, to put in place the first support systems, leading employees to take turns day and night, from Jarny to Paris, to cope . ” We are more united than ever, and all these passionate employees deserve to be paid tribute ”, insists Julien le Bras, CEO. There are some particularly emotional achievements.