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Designs for the area surrounding Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris
Image: Bureau Bas Smets

Three years after the fire, Notre-Dame cathedral is getting a glow-up

New designs for the Paris landmark include a new park, square and underground walkway

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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Since Notre-Dame tragically caught fire just over three years ago, the process of renovating the iconic Paris cathedral has been both heartwarming and more than a little controversial. In the wake of the fire, admirers across the globe chipped in generously to fund the rebuild. But when plans came out last December, well, putting it lightly, they weren’t to everyone’s tastes.

Now, however, further designs have arrived concerning the area surrounding the cathedral – and they look pretty unarguably phenomenal. Led by architects Bureau Bas Smets, the plans include a new park and square, as well as an enormous new underground walkway.

As you can see from the above image, the area around Notre-Dame is about to get bigger, airier and a heck of a lot greener. Bureau Bas Smets’ plans involve adding about 30 percent more vegetation to the area, surrounding the cathedral with trees and a new park by the Seine. Much of it will be behind the cathedral, at the point of the Île de la Cité. It’s all very much in line with Paris’s plan to become Europe’s greenest city by 2030.

What is currently a car park is set to be transformed into a public walkway, with access to a welcome centre and archaeological museum. If you ask us, it all looks very, very swish indeed. Here are a few more renders of the designs.

Designs for the area surrounding Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris
Image: Bureau Bas Smets
Designs for the area surrounding Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris
Image: Bureau Bas Smets
Designs for the area surrounding Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris
Image: Bureau Bas Smets
Designs for the area surrounding Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris
Image: Bureau Bas Smets

And when could we finally see Notre-Dame itself rebuilt and open to the public? Well, that’s unfortunately all a bit up in the air. Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted it open in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics – but others have said that a full restoration could take decades.

If you’d like to find out more about Bureau Bas Smets’ designs, more info is available here.

Did you see that the Northern Lights will be recreated over Notre-Dame in Paris this summer?

Plus: the original Orient Express will return to Europe in 2024.

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