€50m Notre-Dame Cathedral landscaping project approved in Paris

A 50 million euro project for the redevelopment of the forecourt of Notre-Dame Cathedral has been approved in Paris.

The plans will aim to increase vegetation and improve the appearance of the facade, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed on June 27.

A team from the Brussels architecture and landscaping group Bas Smets was commissioned for the project. The company will also work with the GRAU architecture and urban planning office and the Neufville-Gayet architecture office.

The project is expected to be completed by 2027, but visitors will be able to access the area, as it grows, from 2024.

This coincides with restoration work on the cathedral after the devastating fire of April 2019, which destroyed its spire and much of its roof.

Read more: Notre Dame on fire

It is entirely financed by the council of the City of Paris.

The team was chosen by the jury chaired by the Mayor of Paris, as well as representatives of the public establishment in charge of Notre-Dame (EPRNDP) and the diocese of Paris.

Plans are to include long stretches of wooded land, to provide shade for visitors in hot weather. A total of 131 new trees will be planted and “no trees will be felled” as part of the project, which will increase green space in the area by 36%, the mayor’s office said.

Ms Hidalgo tweeted: “The Seine and the environment have a major place in our Bas Smets team project, chosen by the jury. To better highlight our beautiful cathedral and highlight it, while respecting its history.

Part of the plans are to deal with climate change and intense heat. There are even plans to provide a cool space for visitors with technology designed to allow water to trickle down the forecourt.

A lawn behind the cathedral will also provide a good view of the architectural features and stained glass windows of the Gothic building.

Ariel Weil, mayor of the Paris Center sector, declared: “The connection between the forecourt and the Seine was carried out with great finesse.

The basement will house a refurbished visitor car park, as well as an interior path that will lead to the crypt and will lead to a footbridge on the banks of the Seine.

The Bas Smets team is already known as a rising star in the fields of architecture and urban garden design, having created the Parc des Ateliers around the Luma tower in Arles, and the future redeveloper of the center of Brussels .

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