France’s Notre Dame Cathedral to be rebuilt without modern touches

French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot earlier said that a ‘broad consensus’ existed to reconstruct ‘identically’ the spire of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, above. (AFP)
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Updated 10 July 2020

France’s Notre Dame Cathedral to be rebuilt without modern touches

  • Plan includes recreating the 19th century spire designed by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc

PARIS: Notre Dame Cathedral will be rebuilt just the way it stood before last year’s devastating fire.
No swimming pool or organic garden on the roof of the medieval Paris monument, or contemporary glass spire, or other modern twists. And to stay historically accurate, it will again be built with potentially toxic lead.
That’s the verdict reached by French President Emmanuel Macron, the cathedral’s present-day architects and the general in charge of the colossal reconstruction project for one of the world’s most treasured landmarks.
Macron, who wants Notre Dame reopened in time for the 2024 Olympics, had initially pushed for a contemporary touch atop the cathedral, prompting eye-catching proposals from architects around the world.
But Macron came around to the traditionalists’ argument, and approved reconstruction plans for the 12th century monument that were presented Thursday, according to a statement from the state agency overseeing the project.
The plan includes recreating the 19th century spire designed by architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc that collapsed in the fire and “favors fidelity to the monument’s form and a restoration of the cathedral in its latest state,” the statement said.
That means how Notre Dame was on the afternoon of April 15, 2019, before the fire broke out, consumed the roof and threatened the rose-windowed twin towers that keep the cathedral upright.
More than a year later, the structure remains unstable. It took nearly a year to clear out dangerous lead residue released in the fire and to get to the point where workers could start removing scaffolding that had been in place for a previous renovation effort. Actual reconstruction won’t start until next year.
The reconstruction plan presented Thursday says the project will replicate original materials “to guarantee the authenticity, harmony and coherence of this masterpiece of Gothic art.”
Those materials included tons of lead, which is raising concerns among health and environmental groups. Lead particles released during the fire forced schools in the area to close and prompted a lengthy, painstaking cleanup effort of the cathedral’s historic neighborhood on an island in the center of Paris.


Pizza restaurant launches Spain’s first virtual waiter app

Updated 05 August 2020

Pizza restaurant launches Spain’s first virtual waiter app

  • Customers at Funky Pizza, in Palafrugell on the Costa Brava popular with tourists, can browse the menu, order and pay via the “Funky Pay” app on their phones

PALAFRUGELL, Spain: A restaurant on Spain’s northeastern Mediterranean coast is pioneering a dining experience that allows customers to avoid most face-to-face contact with staff and minimize the risk of coronavirus contagion.
Customers at Funky Pizza, in Palafrugell on the Costa Brava popular with tourists, can browse the menu, order and pay via the “Funky Pay” app on their phones — the first time a purpose-designed app has been integrated into a restaurant’s ordering system in Spain.
A waiter does bring the order to the table.
“Through this system we have tried to keep physical distance with our clients, which is what people are looking for during COVID,” said restaurant owner Carlos Manich.
Staff manage the orders from screens behind the bar.
The restaurant has had to adapt to social distancing rules by becoming table service only and reminding customers on entry they must wear face masks at all times when not at their tables.
“The application is very user-friendly ... and you can also track your order and see when it is in the kitchen or when it will be arriving,” said Claudia Medina, 26, eating at the restaurant.
But some customers disagreed. “I think we lose the feeling with the waiter, for example when you order you can’t ask about different preferences or quantities,” said customer Javier Comas, 26.