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General tells architect to ‘shut his mouth’ in row over Notre Dame reconstruction
An army general in charge of the restoration and reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has told the chief architect of the building to “shut his mouth”.
An argument broke out over the replacing of the cathedral’s spire that burned down in a fire in April.
During a meeting of the French National Assembly's cultural affairs committee on Wednesday , General Jean-Louis Georgelin stated that the new spire should be “contemporary”. His view is shared with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has set a deadline of 2024 for the reconstruction project to be completed.
However, architect Philippe Villeneuve said the new spire should be an exact replica of the one that was burned down and maintained the only way the five-year deadline of the project will be met is by doing it the traditional way.
Georgelin said during discussion in the meeting: “As for the chief architect, I have already explained that he should shut his mouth.”
His comment prompted gasps from attendees, AFP news agency reported.
Georgelin later said that all involved in the project should "move ahead in wisdom so that we can serenely make the best choice for Notre Dame, for Paris, for the world".
He added that a final decision on the spire would be settled on in 2021.
Last month, Villeneuve told the broadcaster RTL: "Either I restore it identically... or they make a contemporary spire and it will be someone else [doing it]."
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